CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 19. . . .January 18, 2013
Sadie has just finished high school and will soon realize her dream of going away to college - away from the small island where she grew up, away from life in a trailer park and away from her parents. Sadie has always wanted to study architecture and looks forward to bettering herself and finding a new life. The entire dream crumbles when she learns that her mother has taken all of her savings from her bank account. Sadie earned some of the money with con jobs; a few dollars here and there began to add up. She realizes that she will now need to find a quick and easy way to make a lot of cash, and, as luck would have it, she stumbles upon some information which she can turn to her advantage – the ultimate con!
Yes, Sadie is a small-time thief, but she is nonetheless a likeable character who is filled with drive and ambition and a true desire to make something more of herself. Her con jobs have never really hurt anyone, and she approaches them both with daring and a sense of humour. Because Brendan, her long-time friend and the love interest in the novel, is equally adept at helping others part with their money, the two make a good team. Sadie’s parents are two of the main secondary characters. Her father has spent much of his life in jail because of illegal schemes which have back-fired on him. Her mother has worked hard to support Sadie but does not provide much emotional support for her daughter. When her mother wants to avoid reality, she simply makes up a story which will suit the situation and keep the truth from surfacing. Ironically, Sadie comes by her nature to con people very ‘”honestly”.
Eileen Cook has given her readers an interesting and fast-paced novel with elements of romance, mystery and humour. Throughout the book, there always seems to be someone intent on conning someone else on either an obvious or subconscious level. Sadie deals with typical coming-of-age issues, such as learning to accept herself for who she is, while still enjoying the fantasy of wondering if there is any chance she might have been adopted or kidnapped as a baby, thus belonging to a family with far higher social status. Cook makes this fantasy seem almost believable at times as Sadie pieces together the facts of a kidnapping which happened years before, and readers will enjoy a plot with many twists and turns before Sadie comes to understand her true identity. The final pages answer most questions, but readers are still left somewhat in the dark as to what will ultimately happen to Sadie.
What is more important in life: money and the social class it automatically gives us, or a family and friends who support and help us, even if their efforts are at times misguided? Sadie is not happy with the status quo in her life, but is she ready to turn everything upside down and deal with the consequences?
Young adult readers familiar with Eileen Cook’s early teen novels will enjoy this newest book and those new to Cook’s work will certainly become fans after reading The Almost Truth.
Ann Ketcheson, a retired teacher of secondary school English and French and teacher-librarian, lives in Ottawa, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.