The Truth about Truman School [NOOK Book]


They just wanted to tell the truth.
When Zebby and Amr create the website, they want it to be honest. They want it to be about the real Truman Middle School, to say things that the school newspaper would never say, and to give everyone a chance to say what they want to say, too.
But given the chance, some people will say anything—anything to ...
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The Truth about Truman School

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They just wanted to tell the truth.
When Zebby and Amr create the website, they want it to be honest. They want it to be about the real Truman Middle School, to say things that the school newspaper would never say, and to give everyone a chance to say what they want to say, too.
But given the chance, some people will say anything—anything to hurt someone else. And when rumors about one popular student escalate to cruel new levels, it’s clear the truth about Truman School is more harrowing than anyone ever imagined.
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Editorial Reviews

AGERANGE: Ages 11 to 15.

Zebby and Amr create to share things about Truman Middle School that would not be allowed in the school newspaper. The idea is to let anyone post anything they want, as long as it is the truth as they believe it to be. Things get out of control when someone anonymously uses the Web site to start rumors about another student. Readers will recognize the characters in the book-Hayley, the leader of the popular group; Lilly and Brianna, her hangers-on; Reece, the football star; Sara and Trevor, the social outcasts. The story is told through posts by each character, telling his or her version of what happened at the school. The anguish of middle school shows through in the posts. Even the popular kids are insecure. The voices are real, revealing the emotional struggles of middle school students. Zebby and Amr learn to be responsible editors of the site. The bully finds that taking Lilly down is not as satisfying as he thought it would be. They all learn that there are real consequences to actions that may not seem so important at the time. Readers might learn to empathize with those whom they might be tempted to tease. The story would be a good vehicle for starting a discussion about bullying and the effect on all students in the school. Reviewer: Deborah L. Dubois
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

Children's Literature - Heather Christensen
Fourteen-year-old Zebby, an aspiring journalist frustrated by the restrictions she perceives to be placed on her writing for the school newspaper, convinces her best friend Amr to help her launch a new website. This free and open forum allows students to express their true thoughts and feelings about their school, Truman Middle School. Little do they realize that their open policy allows the website to become a platform for the persecution of their classmate and former friend, Lilly. Told in the alternating viewpoints of various eighth graders involved in the incident, the story reveals the ease with which the anonymity of the web allows and even encourages cyberbullying. Butler's characters at times fall into stereotyping—mean, popular girls and dumb jocks, for example—though the many adults who turn a blind eye towards bullying of all kinds may unfortunately be too common. Butler empowers the young by giving them voices. While at the end some of the teens fail to grasp how their own actions contributed to the problem, others—like Zebby, Amr, and even Lilly—understand all to well and consequently learn and grow from the experience. This painful, though ultimately hopeful novel sheds light on a growing problem. It might be used to spark a discussion on cyber and other forms of bullying. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8- Told not to write anything that would get the administration riled up, Zebby Bower becomes fed up and quits as editor of the school newspaper. Soon after, she and her friend Amr begin their own online newspaper, one that they hope will provide a true voice to the students of Truman Middle. It takes off, but in an unfortunate direction. When anonymous posts about popular Lilly Clarke start to get vicious, calling her a homo, a lesbo, and more, the devastated girl goes missing, and the site's creators scramble to figure out what to do. Chapters alternate among Zebby, Amr, and the students surrounding the scheme to ruin Lilly, each one providing a unique perspective as the action unfolds. With anonymous entries that subtly build suspense, the events brought about by this 21st-century slam book cause the characters to examine how the things they say and do can be hurtful to others without even realizing it. The story moves at a good pace and the timely subject of cyberbullying will be relevant to readers. The language is accessible and the students' voices ring true. This thought-provoking read is sure to initiate discussion.-Bethany A. Lafferty, Las Vegas-Clark County Library, NV

Kirkus Reviews
It all begins when Zebby quits the Truman Middle School Bugle in protest over the newspaper advisor's refusal to let her say anything negative about the school. Zebby and her friend Amr then put together an alternative website: After the site catches on with the popular kids, Zebby and Amr are off and running, writing critical articles and publishing comics and opinion pieces by anonymous students. Events take an unfortunate turn when someone begins adding malicious posts regarding a popular girl who was once a friend of Zebby and Amr's, and things get worse when she is untruthfully outed as a lesbian. Told from multiple perspectives as a compilation of the points of view of all involved, this is an exercise in ethics and morality, particularly pertinent given the power of the Internet. Though sometimes a bit pedantic, this is a realistic portrayal of the negative influence of bullying, cliques, and peer pressure as they might affect tweens inside and outside the online world. (Fiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480449985
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 343,971
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Dori Hillestad Butler is owned by a big black dog named Mouse. He’s a registered therapy dog who enjoys reading with children in Coralville, Iowa, where he lives with Dori and her family. To learn more about Dori, her dog, and her other books for children, visit her website:
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    Great for tweenagers

    Great for tweenagers

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    the truth about truman

    the truth about truman was short and you knew exactly what was going to happen but....... i learned a lot from this book. the first thing that i learned is that well it takes some time before you know exactly who you are on the inside. another thing is that you need to know who your true friendsa re and trust them when they tell you something that you question about something or someone. so really it takes in a lot of meaning to me but maybe not to everyone else but i think it will so you should read it.

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  • Posted January 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for

    Disenchanted with the censorship of their school paper, Zebby resigns as editor. Complaining to her best friend, Amr, the two decide to create a web page. If the school paper won't print the hard-hitting articles that Zebby wants written, then they will create an Internet paper. <BR/><BR/>And so, is born. <BR/><BR/>They soon realize that unless the popular kids start talking about it, no one will bother with the web site. So with some creativity, Zebby gets the ball rolling, and before too long, they have over 400 hits to the site. And people are posting, as well. Zebby and Amr want the site to be truthful and allow anyone to post and add to it. <BR/><BR/>When a vicious poll, "Who is the biggest poseur?" is posted, Zebby and Amr debate about removing it, but instead, decide to leave it up. Little do the two realize that one simple poll will create a snowball effect. <BR/><BR/>Lilly, one of the most popular girls in school, becomes the target of the cyber-bullying. Though some of the information is true, most is false, but the kids at school start to believe it. Soon, Zebby and Amr are fighting with each other, accusing the other of being the perpetrator. <BR/><BR/>When Lilly disappears, everything comes crashing down. The police are called in, and the web site is revealed. <BR/><BR/>THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMAN SCHOOL is a scary look at how cyber-bullying can occur. News reports make it all too clear that such things can happen in real life. By reading THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMAN SCHOOL, it's easy to see how one simple web site can hurt an innocent person. The story makes the reader realize that anyone can be hurt, even if the information is false.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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