Nothing But The Truth by Avi

nothingbuttruth_aviIn the realistic-fiction novel, Nothing But the Truth by Avi, ninth-grader Philip Malloy aspires to run for the school’s track team. Unfortunately, his satirical answers on his final exam earned him a failing grade in his English class, taught by Miss Narwin. Without a passing grade, Philip could not run on the track team.

After finding out his inability to join the track team, the next morning, instead off standing respectfully, he hummed along to the National Anthem in Miss Narwin’s homeroom. Dismissing his childish behavior with a reprimand, the teacher sends him to the principal’s office when he defied her and hummed again the following morning. Refusing to apologize to his teacher, Philip was suspended from school for two days by the principal.

Claiming that he was suspended for singing the National Anthem, his father told their neighbor who was running for the school board. As his story gains national headlines, the truth gets twisted and turned. Will Philip come clean and promise to tell nothing but the truth?

I had mixed feelings about this book. This book could have been much improved. The beginning seems to have promise of being a good and simple book. In the novel, Philip, the main character, is unnecessarily rude with his English teacher, who seems like a nice lady. Treating and blaming Miss Narwin, Philip fails to take ownership for his poor grades, which were his own fault. An interesting aspect of the book was how it was written in “script.” With such an abrupt ending, I did not enjoy it the novel as much as I expected. Overall the novel was below expectations, but it was a quick and easy read for anyone in middle school.

-Anmol K.

Nothing but the Truth is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library

Book Review: The True Confesssions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi

charlotte_doyle_coverThe True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, a journey of a ship-girl crashing through the waves of beautifully written literature by Avi, is a truly magnificent novel. I would rate it a 10 out of 10 for its humor, formality, and engaging style of writing.

The story starts out with a young woman, Charlotte, whose parents had moved to America, but she had stayed in England to finish school. At the end of the year, she was to have a servant pick her up and accompany her to the boat. She had another worker carry her trunk to the ship, but when they heard the name of the ship and its captain, they took off running. Two of them had left her alone! Charlotte was astonished, nevertheless, she boarded the boat. That first night on the ship, she remembered seeing a figure with only one arm scampering up one of the main masts.

The voyage started out, and Charlotte met a man named Zachariah. At first, he didn’t seem like anyone who interested her, but later he became her caring mentor. The captain seemed nice at first but later was revealed to be one of the cruelest people Charlotte had ever known.  A series of odd events occurred, but Charlotte didn’t tell a soul.

When chaos and shouts of anger came from the crew the first time, Charlotte was scared. However, after the first attempt to kill the captain, Charlotte slipped away from the captain’s reach, chopped off her hair, and became one with the crew to complete their army. They tried for a second strike where Zachariah was almost killed, but a stowaway with only one arm was found. Mayhem then ensued, and Charlotte faced her greatest challenge to stand up for herself with the ultimate goal of being reunited with her parents.

Maya S., 6th grade