Books by Terry Trueman

LIFE HAPPENS NEXT by Terry Trueman
Released: Aug. 21, 2012

"A winning central and supporting cast provide strong compensation for a plot that seems overly worked and too tidily resolved. (afterword) (Fiction. 11-14)"
Trueman skates the edge of fantasy as he puts readers' hearts through a workout in this sequel to Stuck in Neutral (2000). Read full book review >
HURRICANE by Terry Trueman
Released: March 1, 2008

Trueman strains credulity in his fictional recounting of the devastation wrought upon Honduras by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The first-person narrator is 13-year-old Jose Cruz whose family lives in a typically small but close-knit village. One very rainy day his older sister, father and much-idolized older brother make the 17-mile drive to the main business area. As the storm worsens, Jose and the rest of the family hear the radio announcement that the storm is now a Category 5 hurricane. While Jose and Mama pretend their missing family members are fine, a mudslide obliterates every house in the village—except the Cruz's and one other one. Many friends have died. Jose and others organize the many necessary and gruesome tasks for continuing survival. Still, Jose's younger brother nearly dies from an infection due to conditions. After five days of uncertainty, Trueman reunites every member of the Cruz family, including the family dog, to survive—thus, ending things quite tidily. Reluctant readers may enjoy the plot-driven story of continual peril, but it probably won't leave any lasting impression. (Fiction. 8-11)Read full book review >
7 DAYS AT THE HOT CORNER by Terry Trueman
Released: March 1, 2007

Trueman again revisits the interior thoughts and fears of a teenager. Unlike earlier works, this one features no violence. Instead, it's about a baseball-obsessed teen whose world is rocked when his best friend admits he's gay. Travis moves in with Scott and his dad, because Travis's parents can't handle his homosexuality. Unfortunately, neither can Scott, causing a schism between them. Scott immediately gets an AIDS test out of ignorance; in seven days, he'll get the results. Until then, he's in the hot corner (baseball lingo for third base). Scott does a lot of soul-searching, finally achieving self-awareness and understanding about his parents' divorce, values and acceptance of others. Scott also realizes that baseball is neat but life is messy. He ultimately decides it doesn't matter if he wins or loses; his actions in life are of utmost value. Scott's fears and journey are utterly believable, even if his self-realization is rather rushed. However, the sports aspect and realistic treatment of prejudice and teenagers should keep readers enthralled. Especially recommended for reluctant readers. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
NO RIGHT TURN by Terry Trueman
Released: March 1, 2006

Jordan was 13 when his father killed himself with a shot to the head while they were home alone. It's three years later. Jordan doesn't talk about it, or much of anything else. He doesn't play sports or hang out, still locked inside his intense anger at his dad. But when his mother begins to date a man with a 1976 Corvette Stingray, Jordan can't help but be fascinated. He's so taken that he sneaks the car out, only to meet Becka, the local cheerleader goddess. Becka, despite her looks and popularity, is a lovely girl with a large family, a sibling with Down syndrome and a genuine interest in Jordan. He, of course, thinks she's only interested in the 'Vette. Told in the first person, Jordan's web of lies about the car leads to a rather scary climax and some tentative resolution about cars, girlfriends and life and death. Readers will be taken with Jordan's matter-of-factness about his sorrow and isolation, and how he locks himself up in lies. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
CRUISE CONTROL by Terry Trueman
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

Angry Paul is the brother of Shawn, the severely disabled narrator of Trueman's Stuck in Neutral (2000). Paul is an overachiever with straight A's and is the top athlete in the school. He's the quarterback, the third baseman and right now the go-to guy in hoops. Paul's mad at his dad for leaving the family while they struggle to deal with the burden of caring for Shawn, mad at the world for the way it sees Shawn, and mad at himself for not being the brother he would like to be. Mom does nothing to help Paul feel free to pursue his own interests and future, nor does sister Cindy's patience with Shawn. Dad is gaining fame for his discussion of the issues around disability, and Paul's fury and disgust focus on him. Readers who know Shawn from the previous encounter will enjoy an added layer of understanding, but every reader will understand Paul's frustrations and fears. A minor plot line relating to Paul's shooting partner Tim helps to illuminate the ways in which anger can change lives. A riveting read with a sports flair that resolves too quickly to be quite realistic. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
INSIDE OUT by Terry Trueman
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

A hostage in a coffee shop burglary gone wrong, narrator Zach is a schizophrenic describing events and reacting to a frightening situation with a seeming stupidity that ups the ante. Most characters are shadowy, but the two inept burglars slowly reveal themselves as victims in many ways. The events unfold with an edge of danger that provides riveting suspense. Trueman's ability to get inside the head of this unsympathetic character is slightly less successful than in his earlier Stuck in Neutral (2000), which was a Printz Honor book. There is some context from letters at the start of each chapter, but the flatness and lack of emotion that is part of a schizophrenic's outlook is distancing and often makes Zach seem unintelligent. Readers will be unprepared for the ending, but give Trueman credit for attempting to provide some empathy for the "others" of our world who are too easily dismissed and ridiculed—in a plot line that grabs and doesn't let go. (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
STUCK IN NEUTRAL by Terry Trueman
Released: June 30, 2000

A teenager with profound cerebral palsy, who is utterly unable to give even those who know him best the faintest sign that he is sentient, narrates this devastating family portrait-cum-moral conundrum. Inside Shawn's twitching, drooling, seizure-racked body is a sane, intelligent teenager with an eidetic memory. A sympathetic observer of the effect his presence has on everyone around him, he leads a relatively rich, if vicarious, inner life. It is fueled by dreams (or perhaps more than dreams) of flight, total recall of everything he has ever seen or heard, and feelings as intense as anyone's: love, amusement, bemusement, frustration—and anxiety. He overhears comments about "ending his pain," from his doting, tormented father Sydney—who has begun research for a biography of a man convicted of smothering a profoundly disabled child. Trueman has a son with CP, and has obviously drawn in part from that experience, both for the story's events and for the issues he raises involving the social and emotional costs of caring for the physically helpless. Thematically, the story is built around Sydney's dilemma as he desperately searches for reasons not to end his son's life, and finds many seductive, compelling arguments otherwise; the abrupt, ambiguous ending leaves him on the verge of killing Shawn, or not, and so transmits his inner debate to readers. Though character is not the author's strongest concern here, like the similarly lucid brain-damaged teen in Joan Leslie Woodruff's The Shiloh Renewal (1999), Shawn will stay with readers, not for what he does, but for what he is and has made of himself. (Fiction. 12 )Read full book review >