Reinhardt, Dana. Tell Us Something True. Wendy Lamb Books, 2016. $17.99. ISBN 9780385742597. 202 pages. Grades 9+. P8 Q7.
River has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Penny. He is miles from home and she was his ride. He lives in Los Angeles and has no license. Over the course of this novel, we watch River evolve in his dependence on others. First, he struggles to accept himself without the constant presence of Penny. Then, after stumbling into a support group for teenage addicts, River becomes dependent upon his fabricated marijuana addiction in order to belong. In the end, he attains some of the delayed independence that he has been avoiding. However, he also makes important life choices based upon the promise of a new relationship at a time when these decisions greatly impact his future. Tell Us Something True has the casual first person narrative found in Reinhardt’s novels. It is one of two novels written by Reinhardt told from a male character’s point of view. As a character, River is flawed and relatable to high school readers. There are lessons to be learned from his mistakes, but he is no role model. Tell Us Something True is most successful as a cautionary tale, addressing the consequences of dependence and dishonesty.
November 2016 review by Lillian Curanzy.