When curiosity leads three students at a Nanaimo, British Columbia, art school (“Serving oddballs in grades ten through twelve since 2007”) to ask a classmate why she had “renovations done,” her surprisingly positive response prompts the trio to form the Truth Commission, an experiment in bringing hidden truths to light.
Unlike fellow commissioners Dusk and Neil, Normandy has understandable misgivings about the endeavor even after an inquiry into a school administrator’s legendary crabbiness turns out well (ostriches are involved). For years, Normandy and her parents have served as source material for her prodigy sister Keira’s wildly successful graphic-novel series. While Normandy acknowledges fragile Keira’s extraordinary gifts, knowing she owes her own school scholarship to Keira’s status, she hasn’t bought into the family myth that Keira’s vicious ridicule is OK. Now Keira’s returned home from college without explanation, ending the family’s brief respite from meeting her many needs. The more lives the Truth Commission touches, the more ambivalent Normandy feels about its mission, which threatens her own passive acceptance of her family’s status quo. In a tell-all, socially networked world, balancing the right to know (and use) “the truth” against the right to privacy is both confusing and challenging. Readers will root for these engaging characters to chart a successful course through these murky waters.
Hilarious, deliciously provocative and slyly thought-provoking, Juby’s welcome return is bound to ignite debate. (Fiction. 14-18)