The Storyteller

HarperTeen/HarperCollins/. Jan. 2022. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063049390.
Gr 9 Up–Jess Morgan takes lying to herself to a whole new level, twisting herself into knots to fit in and please others. To those around her, she is a cheerful, upbeat, fun-loving high school girl with a boyfriend. In reality, she is incredibly introverted, easily overstimulated, and burned out by day-to-day life. She prefers reading or writing alone in her room to most social interactions. While helping her mom clean out a great-aunt’s attic, she stumbles across diaries in a foreign language. With the help of a local college student studying Russian, she secretly translates the diaries and uncovers an incredible mystery as to the possible identity of Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. As Jess unravels the lost woman’s words, will she find a way to tell her own true story? Told in alternating chapters between present-day Jess and the mystery writer from the early 20th century, this is a book that will sit with readers, making them question what exactly is a person’s truth. The author’s note at the end gives further detail about the Romanovs. Characters are cued as middle-class and white.
VERDICT This excellent, engaging mystery is a first purchase for school and public libraries.

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