Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Truth of Right Now

The Truth of Right Now

Spring 2017 Fiction
Ages: 14 & Up
Author: Kara Lee Corthron
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781481459471
Hardcover Price: $14.99

Lily is beginning her junior year of high school as a social pariah. In fact, she's a pariah who is also flunking chemistry and who can't stop herself from traveling on the Staten Island ferry to revisit the scene of the scandal that made her briefly suicidal. But then she meets Dari, a new student who also sits alone at lunch, absorbed in his artwork. Dari, who is Trinidadian-American, stands out as a rarity in her mostly-white privileged Manhattan school. He is bored with most of the other students, and finds his home, with his sad, angry father, almost unbearable. Dari spends a lot of time cutting class and going to the movies, but he finds Lily interesting. Soon the two are deeply enmeshed in the most rewarding friendship either has ever known. Increasingly, though, both Lily and Dari struggle to manage their anger. And because Lily is white and Dari is black, her anger eventually holds much more destructive power than she realizes.

Corthron's debut novel is packed with psychological and social drama. Lily and Dari alternate as narrators; Lily, always trapped in her own head, tells her story in the first person, while Dari, a more detached observer, narrates his own story in the third person until the very end, when he is forced out of his detachment and into his own body. Both characters unfold their histories slowly, gradually letting the reader in on details unknown to the other main character. As a result, the dramatic ending feels inevitable for the reader, though it comes as a shock to Lily and Dari. This emotional, intense story fits in a recognizable vein of realistic novels about tempestuous love and recovery from trauma. Teen readers will love it, and it will provide many issues for discussion.

Naomi Lesley   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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