Eighth grader Mikayla Woiwor from Hillsboro, Oregon recommends. . .
Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley
Have you ever wished you were different, or wished that you could stand out from the crowd? Well, Patricia Yi–Phen Ho wishes everyday to fade into the background. Patty is half White and half Taiwanese, but she feels like there’s a sign pointing to her head saying, “Bully me, I’m Asian!” I liked Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) because, as you can see, the characters are funny, the writing is good, and I feel like I can relate to the theme.
Patty Ho lives in a perpetual white out. At her school in Seattle, out of five hundred students, there are exactly two African-Americans; four whole + two half Asians, one Latino, and one Native American. Patty is constantly being harassed because she’s tall, good at math, and because she can’t stand up for herself. Patty thought her life was bad so she never saw it coming when it got even worse. She sees a belly–button grandmother (who sees the future through belly–buttons) and learns that despite her best efforts she was going to math camp. She never thought that after going there things were going to change for the better. Join Patty Ho as she gets away from her controlling family and discovers who she is.
I liked Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) because the characters are funny. My favorite character is the main character Patty. I liked Patty because she categorizes people into groups and in her mind she doesn’t fit into any of them. I also love the way Patty puts things. One of my favorite quotes from Patty was when she described her family. She said, “It’s as if God cruised through one of those Chinese fast-food buffets and brought Abe the full meal deal so he can pass for Mama’s beloved son. When it came to my turn, all that was left was one of those soggy egg rolls that doesn’t even count as real Chinese food.” I liked this quote because it shows how Patty honestly feels about her family. Patty Ho is a dynamic character and at the end she becomes an honest person. “The whole truth is, I am incomplete,” is what she says when she finally learns to accept the fact that she isn’t white, nor will she ever be.
Another reason I liked this book was because the writing was good. I loved how Justina Chen Headley writes with so much emotion. I think an example of this would be when Patty was talking to her brother Abe. She said, “At first I can’t believe I heard Abe right, heard his words right. Heard the same wistful envy in his voice that saturates my thoughts whenever I see Mama fawning over him, her favorite. But when his breathing goes heavy like he’s been lifting weights or running stairs, I know I’ve heard him clearly for the first time.” This is my all time favorite quote because the writing and emotion is really great. The reason I loved this quotation is because it really makes you open your eyes. It doesn’t bluntly say that Patty didn’t understand her brother, but it hints at it. I also like how it shows that Patty only thought about how her life was so bad and that she never stopped and took a look at things from another perspective. This quotation shows the first time Patty really stepped out of her shoes and looked at her family without all her biases clouding her view. She realizes that all her worries and insecurities really aren’t that big in the grand of things, and that all the things that used to be important now aren’t.
In Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) , there was one very obvious theme and that was to accept your racial identity. In the book, Patty cares too much about her race and it ends up ruling her life. When she finally lets go she sees the truth and she sees how simple her life really is. The other main theme was that you’re not alone. Patty always thought that she was the only half White – half Taiwanese but when she goes to math camp she realizes that there are hundreds of others. Hundreds of people just like her and that relieves her. I think almost everyone can relate to this theme because I think there’s a time in everyone’s life when you feel alone. Be it when you moved out of your parents’ house for the first time or when you had your first break-up, I think everyone has their moments.
Overall, I liked this book because the characters are funny, the writing is good, and it was easy to relate to the theme. Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) just barely got my attention, but when it did I found it was an amazing and heart-warming book about a girl who just couldn’t accept her race. I think anyone who wants a story with meaning should try this book. I loved it and I’m sure you (whoever you are) will too.