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Fitzroy. Apr. 2022. 176p. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781646031856.
Gr 3-7–In dueling narratives, two student reporters relay rumors, disinformation, and a few facts while ostensibly reporting on a theft at their middle school. Disingenuously, neither conveys what they know to be the truth to the public or to each other until the final chapters. Anthony keeps a journal on a legal pad for himself, and the differences between that and his published reports in the school paper are similar to Liberty’s recordings of her thoughts to herself and what she publishes in her alternative paper that she and her grandpa print and distribute without school sanction. Neither are trustworthy, and the abundance of misinformation and rumor offer few clues to readers who might want to solve the mystery of the theft of $1,000 raised by a school organization to benefit a charity. There’s a lot of fake courtroom action toward the end where various witnesses dispense what might be some truth into the whirl of rumors. When Anthony and Liberty finally team up, things get turned around. The message here is somewhat obscured by how fast and loose both students play with the truth in their published reports, as well as in their own conversations with themselves. The takeaway is to seriously doubt what you read in the media and to doubt the motivations of reporters as well. Anthony is depicted as white, while Liberty has light brown skin and dark hair.
VERDICT An engaging middle grade read with two unreliable narrators.

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