Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) is the story of Patty Ho. The event that triggers all the others in the book is when Patty’s tyrannical Taiwanese mother drags her to see a rather unusual fortune teller who claims to tell the future using not palms, tarot cards, or a crystal ball, but belly-buttons. One of the predictions made by this woman involves a white guy in Patty’s future, and that one really sets off her mother, who chooses to ignore the fact that Patty is half-white, and pretend her daughter is all Taiwanese. It’s not something Patty can forget, though–she feels like she doesn’t fit in, not Asian or white.
After the visit to the fortune teller, Patty is promptly shipped off to math camp at Stanford University. As if it wouldn’t be bad enough to spend a summer doing math (just like school), she has one other school assignment to complete. She’s got to rewrite her “truth statement” by the end of the summer. It’s something she turned in at the end of last year, and, while great, it didn’t really reflect who she was. So now, she’s rewriting it–but to do that, she’s got to find out more of who she is.
Over the course of the summer, that is what she does, through her various adventures. These adventures include “buildering” (rock-climing on buildings) with her new friend Jasmine, meeting her Auntie Lu, find out some surprising things about her mother, meeting a guy who is Asian but STILL not what her mother wants for her, and find out that her goody-two-shoes classmate, Anne, who is at math camp with her, is writing a romance novel. During all of this, and lots more, she learns even more about herself than she does other people, which definitely helps with her truth statement.
Justina Chen Headley’s novel Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) is fabulous; it’s most certainly worth reading. The characters (not in the least the main character, Patty) are all brilliant, original, and well-written, as is the entire story. Sort of off-topic, however, I was a little disappointed to see the cover art of the final book in the bookstore; the version I read was an ARC, with a different girl on the cover, covering her face with her hand, and I liked that one better (I don’t know where you can find a picture of it; my search turned up nothing, so if you know a link, post a comment here!). Anyway, back to the book. It was a great read, one that will definitely be going on my favorites shelf. I’m really looking forward to reading Justina Chen Headley’s next novel as well (this was her first)! It’s a story that’s not as common in the world of YA literature, that makes it better than books about more typical things like lives of rich kids or vampires (I still love some of those, but not being something so common adds something extra to Justina Chen Headley’s novel). Pick it up, everyone; you won’t be disappointed!