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And Nothing But the Truth by K. Pearson

Pearson, Kit. And Nothing But the Truth. Toronto: Harper Collins, 2012. Print.

Victoria, B.C.-based and Governor General Award-winning author Kit Pearson delights yet again with her sequel to 2011’s The Whole Truth, which won the 2012 Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year for Children Award and was previously reviewed in Deakin.

Progressing three years since the first book in the ‘duology’, the year is now 1935, and our beloved heroine, Polly, almost thirteen years of age, is being made to move to Victoria to attend the same boarding school that her sister Maud excelled at and enjoyed so much. Polly would much rather spend the days with her doting grandmother, Noni, and exploring the wilds of Kingfisher Island with her sweet dog, Tarka, than attend St. Winifred’s School for Girls. Polly has her mind firmly set on not being a full time boarder and spending every weekend at home, to the detriment of her experience at St. Winifred’s as well as her ability to make friends at the school.  Noni, however, understands the need for a strong education and encourages Polly to stay full time even though they will miss each other dearly. The draw of attending Special Art classes every Saturday is finally enough to convince a budding talent like Polly, in addition to the gentle encouragement from her trusted art teacher. A magical scene in which Polly meets and interacts with the famous Canadian painter Emily Carr is especially poignant.

Polly’s older sister Maud, now a university student in Vancouver, continues to play a large role in the story as well as in Polly’s life. Polly struggles amidst the headmistress’s constant reminders of what an intelligent and faithful student her older sister was. Now a young woman, Maud is changing and no longer readily accepting the ideals that St. Winifred’s instilled in her. As Maud suddenly begins to distance herself from the family, Polly yet again finds herself in a dilemma that threatens to tear their family apart.

The ending, including the wonderful afterword that is often lacking from young adult fiction yet so satisfying, is bittersweet as we say goodbye to characters we have grown to love. This book and its prequel would make a lovely gift set for a tween girl.

Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Debbie Feisst

Debbie is a Public Services Librarian at the H.T. Coutts Education Library at the University of Alberta.  When not renovating, she enjoys travel, fitness and young adult fiction.