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Parents' Guide to

Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel

By Monica Wyatt, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Depicts high school with devastating accuracy.

Book Avi Coming of Age 1991
Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 12+


Younger kids will probably not get the meaning of this book. How even stretching or not telling the whole truth can have devestating consequences. It's also a book about accepting responsibility for your own actions. I really enjoyed this book. I think it is a must read for middle school and up students. A good reminder for adults, too!
age 9+


This story tells about a boy who lied and how it affected him. Great!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (17 ):

Readers who pick up this book will be struck first by the unusual format; Avi calls this book "a documentary novel." It consists of a collection of memos, dialogues, diary entries, newspaper articles, letters, and transcripts of speeches and radio shows. Avi lets readers make their own judgments about what happens, but only the reader knows the whole story. Philip's fellow students easily figure out what really happens, and taunt him, punishing him more than the school authorities can.

Yet branding Philip as the only dishonest character won't work. Philip's parents go along with his lies to support him and look patriotic, instead of finding out what their son really needs. Because so few want to find the truth, Miss Narwin loses her career and Philip loses his friends and his dream. He's finally forced to tell the truth in the devastating last line of the book.

Book Details

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