The Truth According to Us Review
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Every family has its own stories, its own secrets, and its own drama—things that define who we are as a family and maybe even how we’re seen by those around us. And in The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows, a young girl’s quest to uncover her own family’s secrets leads to some shocking revelations.

The story takes place in the small town of Macedonia, West Virginia, during the summer of 1938. One day, two unexpected incidents spark 12-year-old Willa Romeyn’s curiosity about her family—about her beloved aunt, Jottie, who cares for Willa and her younger sister instead of having a family of her own...about her father, Felix, who wanders in and out of their lives...and about the whispered rumors that seem to follow the family wherever they go. And when a new lodger, Layla Beck, moves into their home, working with the Federal Writers’ Project to write about the town’s history, she inadvertently uncovers long-held secrets and long-covered lies.

Filled with fascinating characters and seasoned with plenty of old-fashioned, small-town charm, The Truth According to Us is the kind of novel that seems to beg for a porch swing, a tall glass of lemonade, and a sizzling summer day. It’s laid-back and easy-going, yet it offers just the right amount of mystery to keep readers guessing about these characters, their relationships, and their history. The town gossips (and the characters themselves) provide plenty of different perspectives—all of which are interesting enough to keep readers engrossed in the story.

Willa makes the perfect guide for this journey through the Romeyn family’s past, present, and future. She may be young and naive, but she’s also curious and determined. And she’s at the age where she feels entitled to the truth—to the grown-ups’ secrets. As she soon learns, though, her spying, snooping, and digging for answers have both positive and negative results. And, in the end, her actions change things forever—and not in the way that she’d hoped.

Meanwhile, though the house’s newcomer, Layla, is dealing with some family issues of her own, she feels out of place in this small-town story. Perhaps she was meant to give an outsider’s perspective of the family, the town, and its other residents, but she’s given a larger role in the story than she really deserves. Still, as she travels around town, researching the town’s past, she meets some interesting characters and reveals some entertaining stories—giving the town its own quirky personality in the process.

Thanks, in part, to that personality, The Truth According to Us is an intriguing tale of small-town rumors and family secrets—of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness. It isn’t exactly a quick read, but it promises to be an enjoyable way to pass the time on a lazy summer afternoon.

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