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September 6, 2016 • Cee • Reviews

Sometimes We tell the Truth

Sometimes We Tell the Truth by Kim Zarins •  September 6, 2016 • Simon Pulse
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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.


I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “My mother drives me to school like I’m little again, and I stir awake when she turns off the engine.”

Ah, I never thought I’d encounter The Canterbury Tales again. Chaucer’s stories caused me a lot of pain in college, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t excited to see that someone has finally written a YA retelling of this classic.

Sometimes We Tell the Truth retells Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, where a group of pilgrims travel together from London to Canterbury and tell each other stories as part of a contest to win a free meal. In Sometimes We Tell The Truth, it’s students from Southwark High School who are on a road trip to Washington D.C., and on the way, their teacher Mr. Bailey decides that each must tell a story—fact or fiction, any genre—and the winner will get an automatic A in the class.

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