Truth Trendon begins seventh grade mortified that she has to wear a back brace to keep her scoliosis from getting worse.
Tru has been looking forward to starting junior high with her best friend, Megan. But now she’s sure that her chances of attracting her longtime crush, Brendan, are over. All of the drama and self-centeredness of adolescence are here in this first novel drawn from Hruza’s own experience with scoliosis. Encased in plastic, Tru navigates a stereotypical (and rather old-fashioned) middle-class, largely white suburban life focusing on her fear of appearing different at school. Her struggles to keep the brace a secret and her anger about the situation provide the narrative tension. Tru’s not the only one with a secret, however, and the plot plays out in predictable fashion. The first-person account stretches to over 350 pages, the superficial storyline inflated by the occasional intrusion of a didactic, adult tone that doesn’t quite fit with Tru’s 12-year-old voice: “I knew he didn’t mean to sound so rude—he was clearly referring to the girl’s height, since she had to be around six feet tall—but it bothered me he’d be so quick to criticize a stranger. I had become particularly sensitive when people judged others for their looks.” Lesson learned—Truth finally finds her truth.
Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder may enjoy this. (Fiction. 8-12)