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Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies) Book Review

Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies) Book Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Dec 27, 2006
( Rating: 4 Star Rating)

Patty Ho is a 15 year-old with a serious identity crisis. Find out if she'll ever feel comfortable in her own skin in Kidzworld's review of this young adult novel.

Title: Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies)
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Ages: 12+
Rating: 4


Patty Ho has never felt that she fits in. Half Taiwanese, half white Patty feels torn between her mother's super-strict Asian upbringing and her mostly white circle of friends. But things take an interesting turn when she gets shipped off to math camp for the summer where Patty learns she's a lot more than the sum of her parts.


Cliqueless in Seattle

15 year-old Patty Ho is isn't exactly comfortable in her own skin. The mixed-race teen (white dad, Taiwanese mom) lives a pretty strict and traditional Asian life in Seattle and tries to lead as "normal" a life as she can at her school. It doesn't help matters that her brother is Harvard-bound and her dad is MIA. She's so busy trying to be white enough for her friends and Asian enough for her family that she forgets to figure out who she really is. When a racist bully at school turns out to be buddies with her cowardly crush, Patty is thrown into a tailspin. Who is she anyway? What does she want in life? The answers may come from a surprising source - math camp!


California Dreamin'

After a fortuneteller divines that Patty is fated to end up with a white guy (egad!) her mom rushes her off to math camp at Stanford - where she's bound to meet a nice Taiwanese guy (or so her mother assumes). While Patty is bummed that she's going to have to geek-it-up all summer, she's glad to have a break from her nagging mom. Patty packs her bags and jumps on a plane to California!


One + One = True Love?

It begins to look like the fortuneteller might be wrong when Patty meets Stu, a hot Chinese kid at math camp. Who knew math geeks could have great pecs too? But just when things start heating up with Stu, Patty's mom busts in to rain all over Patty's parade. Will Patty's new-found love-life be shattered? Will she find her identity? Will she reconcile with her mother? Where did her dad go anyway? You'll have to read Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies) to find out!


The Bottom Line

Nothing But the Truth manages to cover some pretty heavy topics - like racism, cultural identity, abuse, sex, and underage drinking - without ever coming across as preachy or overly politically correct. Justina Chen Headley creates authentic characters who you're bound to relate to. The perfect summer read.


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Worst Summer Camp?

  • Math camp.
  • Science camp.
  • Bee-keeping camp.
  • Chess camp.

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