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Give Me Some Truth

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Carson Mastick is entering his senior year of high school and desperate to make his mark, on the reservation and off. A rock band -- and winning the local Battle of the Bands, with its first prize of a trip to New York City -- is his best shot. But things keep getting in the way. Small matters like the lack of an actual band, or the fact that his brother just got shot conf ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  252 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
This YA coming-of-age novel discusses what it's like growing up as a Native teenager, immersed both in the world of the rez and settler society - what makes this book special is that Gansworth, who works as a visual artist as well, also merges storytelling with music without needing a single note to do so. Set in 1980 and named after a song by John Lennon (, the book tells the story of high school senior Carson Mastick who dreams of winning the Battle of ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a little slow to grab me, but I definitely became very invested in these characters. There's such a mix of stakes at play here--will these teens win their battle of the bands? Will Maggi have sex for the first time with a shady older guy? will white people honor native treaties and respect native culture? And yet every level of conflict is ultimately so compelling.

This is such a good example of a YA historical fiction being grounded in a specific time and place--this isn't just set
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This is a story told in dual POV: the 15-year-old Maggi and the 17-year-old Carson, both native American teens, Tuscarora Nation (#ownvoices), living on a reservation near Niagra Falls and the border with Canada in 1980.

My audiobook subscription ends the third, and I really wanted to be able to finish this still. I'm glad I did! I am, however, sad that due to me listening to it I didn't get to see the visual art.

Something that made me extremely uncomfortable was the fact that Jim, a th
Abby Johnson
It's 1980 and Carson wants to win Battle of the Bands to get a free trip to NYC. But first he needs a band. That's the basic premise of this book, but it's so, so much more than that. Carson is a Tuscarora Indian living on a reservation and at the very beginning of the book his brother is shot and injured when he robs a local restaurant - a restaurant named after and honoring George Custer, famous Indian killer. This starts in motion a social justice movement that will have impact beyond what Ca ...more
Wow, so this was great. I started to draft a long, largely incoherent love letter to this book, and then I remembered Debbie Reese had this to say about Eric Gansworth's first young-adult novel, If I Ever Get Out of Here: https://americanindiansinchildrenslit... , which is both more authoritative and better written than my ramblings. (This isn't a series, but there is some overlap in the two books.)

Anyway, I thought this book was even better than If I Ever Get Out of Here, and I loved the stuff
Madeline O'Rourke
Give Me Some Truth is one of those books where I could easily bump this to three stars, but then I remember how much I disliked reading it. 2 stars it is.

First and foremost, Give Me Some Truth definitely does some things right. It's an own voices story set on and around a Native American reservation and really engages with the culture and lifestyle of the place and its people. The novel has a very interesting structure, built around The Beatles, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono, and they're strongly ti
The two best things about GIVE ME SOME TRUTH are the setting and the music. I very much liked Gansworth's first book that grew from this 1970's Indian reservation, IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE. This one truly puts the reader there, showing both the grimness and the beauty of the community. Also most of the kids in TRUTH are exactly my age, their senior year was my senior year. And even growing up in a very different community half a county away, I recognized this time. Not just through the excellen ...more
Amy Jacobs
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy this book as much as others.
I had to force myself to finish reading it, and I feel bad for even admitting that.
Its not that the writing was bad - or even the plot- its just that I couldn't seem to connect with the characters enough to even want to keep reading chapter after chapter.
Maybe I will try again at a later date.
P. Kirby
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, contemporary
What I didn't say too, and what my damned inner voice wouldn't let me unhear now, was that a thirty-year-old guy shouldn't find a fifteen-year-old that interesting, no matter how mature she was.
Heh. That also applies to immortal guys who supposedly fall in love with a teenage girl.

Give Me Some Truth is a novel that is both weakened and strengthened by its verisimilitude. The novel's young protagonists, Carson and Maggi, are driven, respectively, by teenage arrogance and naivete to such an ex
Samantha (WLABB)
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, audiobooks
This was a sometimes wonderful, sometimes sad, and sometimes uncomfortable look at the lives of teens on a Native American reservation.

I really appreciated Carson's awakening during this story, and his growing interest in activism. He considered himself a ChameleIndian, a Native American, who could pass as white. He knew he didn't suffer as much as some other Native Americans. Then his brother opened his eyes to some of the inequities and injustices right in their own backyard, and that was whe
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library, nwa, print, sfp, ya
DNF about halfway, but not because it was bad! It just wasn't interesting? "Slice of life" bildungsromans are just really not my thing, and while the characters were interesting, it was not really exciting. I picked this up after hearing Gansworth speak on a panel about toxic masculinity, and I really wanted to love it. This belongs in the "great book but just not my genre" pile.
There were times when I felt invested in this novel, and the dramatic moments really shine. But I also spent way too much time being frustrated with the characters. The stakes were so varied and there were so many plotlines, all of which, again, resolved themselves in dramatic and emotional ways, but overall it just kind of felt meh.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Jennifer Mangler
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I had a harder time getting into this one, but ultimately enjoyed it. I liked and cared about both characters. I preferred Maggi's POV chapters to Carson's in the beginning, and then flip-flopped about halfway through and much preferred Carson's. Maggi's relationship with Jim really creeped me out and was something I just couldn't get past. The thing I loved most about this book is the powerful sense of setting. Gansworth really brings Maggi and Carson's world to life.
Rich in Color
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Review copy via library

In this time where we seem to be inundated with half-truths and outright lies, Give Me Some Truth speaks truth. There are hard truths shared within this compelling story of teens taking a long look at themselves and their community.

If I Ever Get Out of Here, the first novel in this set, followed a young man named Lewis who is also in this book. It would definitely make this story easier to understand if one has read the first story so I strongly recommend reading them in o
This is a 4.5 for me for many reasons. When I received this ARC of Eric Gansworth's latest offering, I knew that it would land on the top of my to-read pile, but I also knew that I would want to savor it just as I savored his earlier If I Ever Get Out of Here. I had to wait until the winter break from work to find time for the book, which covers some of the same territory as the previous one, set in and near the reservation and the town of Niagara Falls and featuring a fictionalized version of t ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Carson Mastick is determined to win his high school's Battle of the Bands, because the prize includes a trip to New York City ... and getting off of the Tuscarora reservation is part of his major plan. The problem is, he doesn't have a band.

Maggi Bokani's mother has brought her and her siblings back to the reservation, and she's miserable. But she has a new job ... and a crush on one of the guys she works with.

The book is told in first person, alternating between Carson and Maggi's point of view
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng-471
Give Me Some Truth (300 pages +) was an interesting sequel, but you can totally just read this one without the first if it interests you more, to If I Ever Get Out Of Here. Gansworth writes it in not only 17-year-old Carson Mastick's perspective, but alternates the POV with 15-year-old Maggi Bokoni. Taking place 4 years after If I Ever Get Out Of Here, Carson and Lewis are still 'friends', and Carson wants more than anything to start his own band and end up in New York City at the Battle of the ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit, read-in-2018
3.5ish stars -- this ended up being a lot less about the "teens start a band" conceit than I thought it would be, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! It's very slice-of-life, focusing on six months in the year 1980. The world feels fully fleshed out and lived-in, with Gansworth not pulling any punches when it comes to the realities of life both on and off this specific reservation.

I do feel like the pacing of the character arcs was a bit off, and I had a visceral reaction to Maggi's storyline
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
2019 Read Harder Challenge: 12/24 (halfway!)
Task #9: A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads.

This task REALLY stressed me out. (Because I have no chill and am taking this challenge too seriously.) I am not and have never been an early adopter. Of anything. I literally cannot make a decision without reading twenty thousand reviews first. So in the end, I searched *every book* on the NPR Best of 2018 list and found the only one that somehow never gaine
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was generally lost a lot when reading this book, and I don't know if I was lost because it took me so long to finish, or it took me a long time to finish because I was so often lost. Who is saying what? What was with that sentence structure? What are they trying to say here? Huh? Who are they referring to? Who's that character again??
(view spoiler)
Lonna Pierce
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Eric Gansworth, Onondaga Indian author and illustrator of "If I Ever Get Out of Here" continues Lewis and his friends' story as teens growing up on the Tuscarora Reservation near Lockport, NY and Niagara Falls. Using the same construct of song titles for chapter headings, the theme of this novel is John Lennon & Yoko Ono's music and art, and would appeal to Beatles fans who are familiar with the provided discography. With vulgar language and explicit sexual references, it is certainly YA in ...more
Rachel Goldstein
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, 4-star, poc-rep
Guys, this book is so good. I love how the character relationships develop, and I love how Carson and Maggi--our two narrators--shouldn't necessarily get what they want, and have to grapple with the reasons for that. I love that some of Maggi's choices being questionable doesn't negate the importance of them being on her own terms, and I love that Carson growing in terms of his community and activism doesn't negate him being an entitled jerk (and vice versa). I'm impressed that both of their POV ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This felt really real to me.
Aside from I liked this because it was good, three extra things:
1) I was surprised to find a contemporary YA novel that's set in 1980. Normally, I would think that's not recent enough to feel current, but also not long enough ago to appeal as historical fiction. For the most part, though--aside from the absence of technology, which doesn't really stick out much--it reads like something that could easily be happening today. So I was impressed by that.
2) I also think
Penny Olson
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Give Me Some Truth is set on a First Nations reservation near Buffalo, NY in 1980. I had a slow start to this book, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. Carson and Maggi are adolescents coming of age and trying to figure out who they are, which is hard enough for any teenager, but they are also dealing with poverty and racism. I liked how the characters and their relationships were complex and not caricatured. They make errors in judgment and are learning as they go. Maggi has a relation ...more
Devyn Carmen
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Carson, Magpie, and their third wheel Lewis start out on their adventure to form a rock band. The trick is, they're a group of really poor Tuscaroran Natives that are also dealing with troubles at the hearth. With a sharp wit and a story to tell, Eric Gansworth fashions a unique tale of romance and rock in his book, "Give me Some Truth".

I would have rated this book higher, but the writing style and the narrators were both kind of a pain to read through. The situation of our trio is unique, and
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
It took me a while to get into this; I went through the first quarter of the book really slowly. But the second half especially picked up a lot.

Carson is a really interesting and complicated character to me. He grows a lot here, and there's also some obvious room for more growth. It feels like he's just starting to realize some of that at the end. I liked Maggie's voice and sections of the book better, but her arc felt a little more straightforward.

I do feel like I missed some things because a l
Leah Moore
I loved this book! Great characters!
Historical fiction set in 1980, very strong feeling of that time in the story, mostly through music. I seem to be drawn to YA that have music plots - there are a lot of them, and this is one of the best!
I liked learning about life on their reservation, about highschool and the family business of art vending. Historical context of the treaties and issues with US and Canadian governments was well explained.

The romance between the 15yr old girl and 35yr old man w
Melissa Badamo
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Give Me Some Truth follows Carson, Lewis, and Maggi as they navigate life on a reservation and form a band together while inevitably finding some truth about each other and themselves. The characters are very well-built, and the story is very enjoyable. It's a great dive into Rez culture, mixed with music and friendship.

But if I had a dollar for every time I came across a Beatles reference, or just the word "Beatles" in itself, I'd have enough money to buy every copy of this book. The l
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Gansworth is an enrolled citizen of the Onondaga Nation; however, he grew up in the Tuscarora Nation as a descendant of one of two Onondaga women present among the Tuscarora at the foundation of the nation in the 18th century. Gansworth originally qualified in electroencephalography, considered a profession useful to his nation; however, he went on to study literature and to continue a lifelong in ...more