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Sunday, December 2, 2012

and Nothing But the Truth, written by Kit Pearson. Harper, 2012. $19.99 ages 12 and up

"Polly sat on the same log where Chester had kissed her. Not a disgusting kiss, like Maud and Robert's, a magical one. She touched her forehead, as if the kiss were still there. The sea air smelled so fresh. There were no whales at this time of year, but a seal bobbed lazily near her. Over head, some gulls attacked a bald eagle, which chittered them away. How could she bear to leave this tomorrow?"

In this second story starring Polly and her sister Maud from The Whole Truth, we learn more about Polly and her life away from the island life she loves so much. She is following in her sister`s footsteps and wanting to make her Noni happy when she is enrols at St. Winnifred`s in Victoria. Polly is sure she won`t like it, but has promised the headmistress that she will try it for a year. She is not keen to leave everyone and everything she has come to love since moving to live with her grandmother.

She`s thirteen and dreams of being an artist. She knows that she will have the opportunity to attend special art classes in Victoria, but it doesn`t ease the concern about being away. There are so many rules and Polly seems always to be in one kind of trouble or another...she is nothing like her sister Maud and that is made plain to her.

While her family seems to have settled after sharing all their earlier difficulties, Polly worries about each of them. Her father is happily settled in Kelowna, where he has met someone to love after being alone for so long. Noni is doing well on the island, with her many activities and family gatherings. Maud is attending university in Vancouver, and happy with Robert. Only Polly seems unsettled.
Then, Maud makes a startling confession to Polly that leaves her to wonder if the family can survive another secret.

The school and personal issues that Polly faces are realistic, and make her an empathetic character. She struggles with new friends while she misses her old ones, she has great difficulty following the many rules that are set for her while she longs for the freedom of island life, and she worries endlessly about her sister, her father and her grandmother as they deal with yet another family crisis.

This is historical fiction and offers a look at life as it might be lived at the time of the Depression for some; for Polly, her grandmother`s wealth affords her some very special circumstances and she is very grateful for her Nonì`s support and guidance. Polly meets Emily Carr through her art teacher, and has aspirations to live her life as an artist in the future. I like that the prologue ties the loose ends for readers, who will find this book and its prequel dramatic and satisfying.

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