The Truth about Truman School
by Dori Hillestad Butler

Albert Whitman & Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8075-8095-0.
Reviewed by Sharon Blumberg
Posted on 08/14/2008


Zebby, an eighth grader and editor-in-chief of the Truman Bugle at Truman Middle School, is not happy about freedom of the press restrictions. So she relinquishes her duties. Instead, she and Amr, two of the school's least popular students, create a secret website and invite students at Truman to write. The site is titled, "The Truth about Truman School."

What are the truths that need to be revealed at Truman? Zebby and Amr create this secret site to question specific school rules. Once the postings deluge the site, many truths are indeed exposed. Who are the biggest losers and who are the worst teachers are two of many questions that invite controversy.

The "secret" website of Truman Middle School takes on the life of an out-of-control monster, as girls turn on their friends. Lilly, until recently a popular girl,encounters an unexpected dark side to her circle of friends. As these friendships wane, Lilly is the victim of malice and deceit and endures much emotional abuse—an important message to adolescent girls about the gravity of cyberbullying and the power of the word.

I think this book should be required reading for middle school students, for as a junior high teacher, I am all too aware of the havoc these activities can wreak in young adults' lives. The author makes her point in an educational, yet entertaining way.

Dori Hillestad Butler is a children's author who has written over 15 books. She has wanted to be a writer since five years of age. She currently lives in Coralville, Iowa with her husband, two sons, her black cocker spaniel, her cat and her fish. Visit her website and the book website.

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