Title: SOMETIMES WE TELL THE TRUTH
Author: Kim Zarins
Pub. Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads
In this contemporary retelling of The Canterbury Tales, a group of teens on a bus ride to Washington, DC, each tell a story—some fantastical, some realistic, some downright scandalous—in pursuit of the ultimate prize: a perfect score.
Jeff boards the bus for the Civics class trip to Washington, DC, with a few things on his mind:
-Six hours trapped with his classmates sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
-He somehow ended up sitting next to his ex-best friend, who he hasn’t spoken to in years.
-He still feels guilty for the major part he played in pranking his teacher, and the trip’s chaperone, Mr. Bailey.
-And his best friend Cannon, never one to be trusted and banned from the trip, has something “big” planned for DC.
But Mr. Bailey has an idea to keep everyone in line: each person on the bus is going to have the chance to tell a story. It can be fact or fiction, realistic or fantastical, dark or funny or sad. It doesn’t matter. Each person gets a story, and whoever tells the best one will get an automatic A in the class.
But in the middle of all the storytelling, with secrets and confessions coming out, Jeff only has one thing on his mind—can he live up to the super successful story published in the school newspaper weeks ago that convinced everyone that he was someone smart, someone special, and someone with something to say.
In her debut novel, Kim Zarins breathes new life into Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in a fresh and contemporary retelling that explores the dark realities of high school, and the subtle moments that bring us all together.
Kim Zarins has a PhD in English from Cornell University and teaches medieval literature and children’s literature at Sacramento State University. Her debut novel, Sometimes We Tell the Truth, retells Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with modern teens, and she wrote it with a gigantic smile on her face (there are funny bits). She also published two picture books for very young children. When she isn’t reading or writing or teaching, she is feeding peanuts to a very hungry scrub jay named Joe.
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10 winners will receive a finished copy of SOMETIMES WE TELL THE TRUTH & stickers, US Only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Pre-order giveaway: if you pre-order the book by its release date, September 6th, drop Kim a message on her website or Twitter and she’ll send you a sticker featuring spot art from the book (if there is a character who intrigues you, let Kim know, and she’ll give you that sticker), along with a bookmark and signed bookplate!
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I am so excited to be a part of this blog tour because I was so curious about this book! I havne’t ever read a retelling of the Canterbury tales, but this was hilarious, creative, thoughtful, and perfect for today’s readers.
This is the story of six teens aboard a bus for a school trip to Washington, D.C. Sounds pretty lame, right? You would be WRONG. The student’s teacher, Mr. Bailey, has something up his sleeve. All of the students must tell the rest of the bus a story, even the bus driver has to weave a tale. This story can be real, it can be fake, it can be a mixture of both, it can be whatever the teller wants. It doesn’t matter as long as it is a story. The tales told are so imaginative that you never know what is going to be said next.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I believe it stands tall on its own and it felt like an effortless read. There are so many topics covered but it didn’t feel like it was trying to be bigger than what it was. Various topics included adoption, parent struggling with depression, sibling suffering from PTSD, and more. I never ever felt like this book was hitting so many topics in order to check boxes off of a “Must Cover” list. I felt it flowed beautifully.
All of the characters were so well developed and that was refreshing. I felt they all had their own strong personalities that worked well to bring the reader into the story and keep them there. Several characters stood out to me, one being Alison. Her story threw me for a loop! Throughout the entire book, the main focus stays on the character of Jeff. Jeff is at ends with her ex best friend, Pard. As the story progresses, the reader is given snipets and back stories that leads up to what transpired between them over the past couple of years. I won’t give anything away in this review, but I can say that it all comes out in the wash. There is a sub story line with Pard and Mace, but I felt that could have been developed a little more. I would have liked to know more of the history between those two.
By the end of this book, honestly not much changed amongst these teens but it all gave Jeff the courage to look at himself and accept who he is. That is a great theme that we all should do – learn to accept who we are and embrace ourselves. I really enjoyed this book and really hope everyone else gives it a chance! It is such a fun read that I couldn’t put the book down.