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The Porcupine of Truth

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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,072 ratings  ·  367 reviews
The author of OPENLY STRAIGHT returns with an epic road trip involving family history, gay history, the girlfriend our hero can't have, the grandfather he never knew, and the Porcupine of Truth.

Carson Smith is resigned to spending his summer in Billings, Montana, helping his mom take care of his father, a dying alcoholic he doesn't really know. Then he meets Aisha Stinson
...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Arthur A. Levine books
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Amanda
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-store-ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Jun 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature.

Wow, this is, like... literally one of the worst things I have ever seen win an award in my life. I am completely baffled as to how this book won the 2016 Stonewall YA Award, for a lot of reasons:

1. The protagonist isn't even queer. His friend is a lesbian. His friend who we watch the narrator hypersexualize and objectify every five pages.

2. The narrator cannot seem to go a single chapter without talking about his dick, and how every
...more
Kaje Harper
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, lgbtq
I loved my last read from this author, Openly Straight. This book took longer to hook me in, but I did enjoy it, and there were some nicely emotional moments, especially towards the end.

The narrator, Carson, has come with his mother to Billings, Montana, to spend the summer caring for the father he hasn't seen since he was three. His father is dying of the complications of alcoholism, and one of the things that the dad harks back to when he becomes emotional is the loss of his own father, who di
...more
Brent Hartinger
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How have I not reviewed this yet? Another great book by a very fine author at the peak of his talents.
Justin Shaffer
May 20, 2015 rated it liked it
If I had to sum up my feelings towards this book in one word, I think it would be "disappointed".

That's not to say that this is necessarily a bad book. In fact, I thought that it was a pretty okay book. Average, if you will.

The problem is that I thought that Bill Konigsberg was more than just an average writer. His first two books are amazing. And this one is just... well, average.

Carson Smith is Konigsberg's first legitimately unlikeable protagonist, and I really didn't care for that. There's n
...more
Kim
Don't you hate it when you're reading something that, on the surface anyway, is breezy and fun and humorous, and as you get more deeply engrossed, you realize that it's been subversively feeding you some pretty deep stuff, to the point that it could be described as transformative? If you really do hate that, then don't read this, because Bill Konigsberg packs quite a wallop with his story of Carson and Aisha and their epic road trip and bad fathers and porcupines that assume god-like proportions ...more
Cheryl Klein
Funny, smart, snarky, with unexpected heart, actual depth, and some of the best dialogue you'll read in a YA novel this year. ...more
Noam
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
The title of this book should've been Procupine of Preaching. Cause that's what this book actually is - a preaching of how good religion can be.

Fine, I get it, there is a big issue out there for LGBT+ people who are also religious or come from religious household. But do we really have to treat them like idiots with the emotional range of a 10 year old? As an atheist, I was very happy during the first few pages when Carson plain out said he doesn't believe in God. How many character like that ca
...more
Emily
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Occasionally I read a book and know immediately that it's going to end up on one of my syllabi. This was true for Bill Konigsberg's first two books (Out of the Pocket; Openly Straight), and it's true for The Porcupine of Truth. I can't wait to talk about this novel with my students.

So many of the boys/men in Konigsberg's narrative are broken; they're lost, alone, and angry, paralyzed by what they think they know and fearful of what they don't. As a result, they lash out, hurting themselves, hurt
...more
Jeff Adams
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Porcupine is nothing short of outstanding. This is unlike Bill’s other two books and it tackles some life’s most difficult aspects, including the impact of secrets, religion and how parents impact their children. He wraps all this up in an entertaining package that had me laughing at times, angry at others, and crying more than once.

In Porcupine, 17-year-old Carson travels to Billings, Montana, with his mom so they can take care of his dying father. This is after the family’s been separated for
...more
Nathella
Oct 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
I've seen some people defending this book, but as a gay girl this book made me feel absolutely disgusting. Carsons attitude towards Aisha was disgusting, his thoughts about her were disgusting. This book made me so uncomfortable I felt like crawling out of my own freaking skin. Fuck this book. I was hoping for a book that had teenagers go on adventure where one of the characters just happen to be gay. What I got was a way someone could tell an LGB story without making it about someone other then ...more
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Talk about epic road trip this story is one hell of a road trip where secrets will be revealed and secrets will be made new.

Carson Smith is going to spend his summer helping his mother take care of his alcoholic father. As his father is dying Carson is determined to find out who his grandfather is. He has disappeared into thin air and Carson wants to surprise his father with finding his grandfather.

One day Carson is brought to a zoo by his mother and it is there that he meets Aisha Stinson. This
...more
Kristan
You ever randomly pick up a book at the library due to the cover? I do that often and end up forgetting about it and not reading further into it. I'm so happy I didn't do that with this book. This is a book about life that will make you think, hope, and love the many wonderful music references (I'm a sucker for any book referencing Tegan and Sara!). I won't be writing a summary I just felt the need to say if you're glancing at reviews and wondering if you should read this book, I highly recommen ...more
Amy
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A heartfelt novel, beautifully written, about family, friendship, the nature of God, religion, being "other", being loved, bad puns and a porcupine of truth. ...more
Marco Morano
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
I had a few mixed feelings after reading this but I changed my mind. This book was trying too hard. I get that it was attempting to deal with LGBT+ issues while at the same time discussing religion, but the way it was executed was just really cheesy. The main character was pretty terrible too, but he makes up for himself every now and then and it didn't bother me much. What did win me over was the family aspect of this book. Not only was it trying too hard to deal with these two issues, but it w ...more
Ana Oliveira
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leituras-2019, lgbtq
Wow, so Carson pretty much annoyed me through 2/3 of the book regarding the way his love interest at aisha interacted with their friendship... BUT BUT BUT, I have say that It payed off! since I was so invested in the plot from the first to the final page, and BOY, I was really surprised by the revelations within the "misteries", and happy overall. I didn't think I would end up classifying this one as "queer litetature", but I did, it really made my gay heart feel embraced as queer topics + histo ...more
Sofia The Great
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 Platypires for The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg

“I worry sometimes that our world actually values a lack of intelligence. Like we are considered normal if we spend our time thinking about what one of the Kardashians wears to a party, and we are considered strange if we wonder whether a bee’s parents grieve if said bee dives into the Central Park Reservoir and never makes it back to the hive.”

I picked up Porcupine after attending a teen book con in my city of Houston. I was pretty exc
...more
Liviania
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Last year I read a Bill Konigsberg novel for the first time. OPENLY STRAIGHT was a good summer read, but not one of my favorites of the year or anything. His recent release, THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH, still caught my attention with its adorable cover and a blurb that promised an epic road trip.

The story starts when Carson's mom leaves him at the zoo. They've come to Billings, Montana for the summer to help his dying father in his final days, and she needs to ditch him for a bit to take care of thin
...more
Lee
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, queer-reads
...and a solid four-stars at that!

Certainly an interesting one! I went into this book with very high expectations, as Openly Straight is one of my favourite books, whilst also knowing very little about this book, and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

There's a lot of emotions in this book, and the balance between the funny stuff and the heavy stuff is done well. There's quite a diverse selection of characters, a lot of very insightful quotes, and you know...there's a road-trip!

I just, urh...I ki
...more
Stephanie Alexander
I LOVE THIS BOOK. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOVE.

I won it from somewhere- It arrived in the mail with no explanation, so I'm going to assume it was from Goodreads, and if so I thank you, and also, you need to remedy the vagueness so we the winners of this amazing book, can thank whomever made it possible.

You know when you read a story, and even though you are nothing like the characters, you can relate to them and you GET them, without ever having been in their shoes? This is how I felt about Carson a
...more
Vicki
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it

I absolutely loved this book. I thought the road trip was realistic and the discussions that occurred between the characters about homosexuality were realistic. I am a Christian and I am always appalled by professed Christians who can "disown" their children because of their sexual orientation, which happened to the main character, Aisha. Her father (view spoiler) but in my Christian opinion that is not what a father should do and not what I think Chri
...more
Sonia
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, lgbt
What do God, homosexuality, bad puns and porcupines have in common? This book.

While this wasn't a life changing story (FOR ME), I still loved how thought-provoking it was. I liked how the issue of religion and being gay was treated and all the questions it raised about society. Carson was a very relatable protagonist, but honestly, I feel like I learned something from every character. Some of them were downright awesome. And some parts were really funny. And there was no romance, which was nice

...more
Megan
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, lgbtq
Not a terrible book, but not a great one either. I figured out the end long before the protagonists did. I found the narrator a little irritating but overall it was a unique take on the father-son and road trip tropes. The last few chapters were genuinely moving, but it didn't quite feel earned--what were mediocre characters on a somewhat interesting plot line co-opted a depth of emotion and pain from a group of people otherwise absent from the book. ...more
Jory
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gmba-2016-17
Sobbed my way right through the ending of this book. I think I'm always down for the epic road trip -- the metaphoric quest for meaning in life. And maybe my favorite part of this novel were the times when Carson and Aisha wrestled with religion and god. Also smiled whenever it was obvious that Carson was forever attracted to Aisha, even when that was clearly not going to happen. :) ...more
Angela Critics
OK, but not great. It bothered me that Carson couldn't get past wanting Aisha to not be lesbian and to want him. He gets creeped out by the idea of being pressured to be gay when he's not, but doesn't see that his wanting her to be attracted to him is the same.

Felt a little heavy handed at at times and wrapped up a bit too neatly for believability.
...more
Sydnëy Maë
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars. Wow. This book made me sob and I have no idea what to say. This is officially on my top favorite books list this year. The writing was beautiful. It was absolutely hilarious too, and very deep and meaningful at the same time. I recommend this. I might write a more thorough review later on once I’ve recovered.
Dichotomy Girl
Sep 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, lgbt, ya
There were things that I liked about this book and things that drove me crazy.
Anna
Mar 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
My first thought about this one is HOW ON EARTH DID SO MANY PEOPLE LOVE IT? My second thought is FUCK CARSON. My third thought is that I want trigger warnings for shitty straight boy characters.

What in the actual fuck is this book? It is most definitely the biggest book disappointment I've ever experienced. Earlier this year I read a different book by Bill Konigsberg, The Music of What Happens, and I love it. I have listened to that book three times this year already and it is perhaps one of m
...more
Bethany
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
”The Porcupine is our new, prickly mascot. When Aisha makes a sudden stop at a yellow light, the porcupine lurches forward into the windshield and then off the dash into my lap.
‘Ow,’ I say, pushing her into the floor. ‘Our God is a painful God.’”


Carson Smith is spending his summer out in Billings, Montana with his father. The father that left him when he was three. The father that is now dying.

But then he meets Aisha Stinson. Beautiful. Clever. Funny. And a lesbian.

So yeah.

Carson’s Dad is still
...more
Shouri
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Powerful Story Full Of Wit and Wisdom.

The young-adult novel, “The Porcupine Of Truth,” packs all the humour, brilliance, and emotion you could expect from a powerful story. I would say it's a challenging read, spanning almost 350 pages. The author has written award winning novels which all revolve around LGBT characters, a theme also present in this story. The novel is written in the POV of the main character, Carson, and is written in a pretty interesting way. Many uses of bad words and line
...more
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Crazy for Young A...: Pair 11: Thu and Annika (October Besties) 12 12 Oct 23, 2017 07:44PM  

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Bill Konigsberg was born in 1970 in New York City. Expectations were high from birth - at least in terms of athletics. His parents figured he'd be a great soccer player, based on his spirited kicking from inside the womb. As it turned out, the highlight of his soccer career was at Camp Greylock in 1978, when he was chosen for the Camp's "D" team. There were only four levels. Bill played alongside ...more

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Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
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“Some things you remember, and some you forget. Of the things you remember, you have to wonder what’s real and what’s translated into a memory from a story you heard.” 4 likes
“I really don’t worry about that anymore. When you’re dying, you don’t have time for that junk. The shit people did to you? It’s over.” 2 likes
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