Review of Give Me Some Truth

Give Me Some Truth
by Eric Gansworth; illus. by the author
High School    Levine/Scholastic    432 pp.    g
5/18    978-1-338-14354-6    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-1-338-14355-3    $11.99

Seventeen-year-old Carson Mastick has lived his whole life on the reservation, while fifteen-year-old Maggi (short for Magpie) Bokoni had been living in the city since she was eight and has only recently moved back. Their alternating first-person narratives, set in 1980 on the Tuscarora Indian Nation (the “Rez”), near Niagara Falls, reveal an indigenous culture rooted in tradition but embracing modern popular culture as well. Carson dreams of being a rock star; an upcoming Battle of the Bands, with its grand prize of a thousand dollars and a trip to New York City, would send him on his way. His best friend Lewis (protagonist of Gansworth’s previous If I Ever Get Out of Here, rev. 9/13) will be the band’s rhythm guitarist, with Maggi playing her water drum. The music of the Beatles, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono frames the novel, from the title (Lennon’s 1971 protest song) to the names of the novel’s five parts, and provides the band’s intended playlist. Gansworth’s book delineates abuses faced by Native Americans, including “No Indian” signs in restaurants, close surveillance at the mall, fights, prejudice at school, and, ultimately, the sabotage of the chance to play in the Battle of the Bands. It’s also a close look at the teens’ lives, including Maggi’s relationship with an older man. A rich, honest story of family and friends, of a Nation within a nation. Back matter includes a playlist and discography.

From the May/June 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Making a Difference.

Dean Schneider
Dean Schneider teaches seventh and eighth grades at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more