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The Porcupine of Truth

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,822 ratings  ·  330 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
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Arthur A. Levine books
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,822 ratings  ·  330 reviews

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Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote it!

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.
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
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Jun 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mlis, 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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
...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
Stephanie Alexander

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

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
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

Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, ya
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.
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. :)
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.
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
Robert Bates
This is the story of a boy and a girl, but not that type of story. The boy is Carson Smith. He recently had to move from New York City to Billings, Montana to help take care of his sick father. He had not heard from his father since he was young. Abandoned fathers is a common theme in the book. Carson's dad also was abandoned by his father. Carson goes on a search for his missing grandfather with the help of Aisha Stinson, a beautiful African American teenager. She was abandoned by her father wh ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much! So many themes, so much earnest teaching of so many lessons. So much implausibility. Still awfully cute, and so engaging that I stayed up too late finishing it. Recommended if you're interested and can hush your inner critic.

I did like the author's "Openly Straight" but I think I'll only keep going with him if the subject is specifically intriguing.
Alicia Farmer
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, e-book, young-adult
The parallels to John Green are many: young adult genre, contemporary issues -- addiction, LGBT, exploration of spirituality, ROAD TRIP! This was a sweet, humane story about finding one's people. I didn't sense any false notes, even though the ending was maybe a bit too tidy.
Dramatically Bookish (ReviewsMayVary)
Once again, a book that holds a teen relationship at it's center but really has excellent "other" relationships. Here's a full review (someone else's) that I agree with since I'm not blogging anymore:

I'm giving it #WNDB for the queer Black co-lead.

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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
“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
More quotes…