The Truth App

S. & S. Feb. 2020. 224p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534449862.
Gr 8 Up–Computer whiz Jarli uploads a beta version of an app that can tell if someone is lying, and unleashes secrets, deception, and violence. Jarli’s father lands in the hospital when a strange old man rams into his car. Recently arrived Russian student Anya is first on the scene of the accident. Tough, smart, and confident Anya believes Jarli’s version of events, but the local police seem unconcerned. As millions of people download the app, its ethical repercussions begin to haunt Jarli and all those around him. Shunned by fellow students whose parents confiscated their phones for even the smallest lie, Jarli comes to realize that everyone has secrets to protect and that sometimes you have to lie to stay alive. A fiery conclusion will leave readers breathless for the next installment. Anya gives readers insight into why people emigrate from areas where violence and intolerance force young people to grow up fast. Jarli’s family dynamics and a spot-on take on parent/teacher conferences are utterly realistic.
VERDICT This timely thriller shines a light on how quickly a viral online presence can overwhelm and even endanger people. This new, fast-paced series will be welcome in middle and high school libraries.

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