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Give Me Some Truth

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  454 ratings  ·  133 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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Average rating 3.47  · 
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There's a lot going on in this story.
I didn't latch on to any of it.

This is a tale of some pretty unpleasant people.
There's Carson, an overly self-involved 17-year-old who likes to tell himself stories to explain why he manipulates everyone around him.
There's Maggi who is about as nuanced as a Kristin Stewart character and is entering her sexual awakening with about as much gusto as...well, a Kristin Stewart character.

(view spoiler)
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-read, usa
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
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
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
Nov 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
1 star. No, just no!


I did not plan to read this book at all, but I did and that might be my biggest regret in 2019 and I read many dumb books this year.


Both MC's were plain annoying. I did not hate them and had no real emotions towards them. The male MC was so toxic? His gender stereotypes were unbearable to read and I generally hated following him along. He was neither likable or had any reasonable motivations in life except getting this one girl laid he likes so much and pl
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
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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
Carrie Walsh-Hilf
Apr 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is so good. I am listening to the audiobook and reading along in the hard copy. I really love hearing Magpie's story. It is creatively woven together by offering duel perspectives. I am not quite finished but cannot wait to finish it. ...more
A.R. Hellbender
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.
I wanted to like this book, but the only thing I liked about it was how well-researched the native rep and reservation life appeared to be.
This takes place in 1980, but I spent the first 100 pages thinking it was modern day. There was no indication of the time period save John Lennon still being alive and East Germany still being a thing.
There also appeared to be very little actual plot, and no moral to the story that I could discern.
Most of the story revolved around a 15-year-old’s
Samantha (WLABB)
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
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: ya, library, print, sfp, nwa
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. ...more
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
Laura Hakala
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really appreciated how Gansworth tries to make Carson a sympathetic character. it's a testament to good writing that I disliked Carson SO much in the first book, but I did care about him in this book. I also loved reading about Maggi and Native beadwork. ...more
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. ...more
In looking for a Sherman Alexie replacement, we gave this one a try. It is too long and the main characters are not 100% lovable. The part that was the most challenging was reading about these relationships between young teen Native American women and white older men. That was painful and sickening to read, despite how I could relate to Maggi's naiveté. There are some beautiful moments particularly with the young Native men, Carson organizing this nonviolent protest and Lewis's speech at the Bat ...more
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 review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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)
First Nations story, near NY/Niagara Falls, set around 1980.
Maggi and her twin brother, their older sister and their mom had actually moved off the rez for 8 years but now older sister Marie has persuaded mom that they should move back to the reservation, so back they go. There she re-encounters people and things she doesn't or barely remembers because she was only 8 when they left. One person she meets again is Carson who is trying to get a band together and who also helps her get a job. Howeve
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: yallwest-2018
Carson was annoying, and Maggie’s “love” was too silly for me. On the flip side, I appreciated that a man in his thirties was portrayed as creepy for going for a younger woman.

I read a YA book earlier this year with the same kind of relationship but it was meant to be romantic. I didn’t hate it, but as usual I questioned the man’s motives and maturity.

The best part of the book for me was the look into what it’s like living on the reservations. I recently learned about a lot of the stuff depicte
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Casey Jo
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Ooof. This'n took a while, and had a few strikes going against it for me:
- I'm burnt out on dual voices
- I'm skeptical of YA written in the time the author was a teen
- I'm skeptical of YA that idolizes The Beatles
- I hate that both MC Maggie and her sister are in relationships with much older men - especially in a story written by a man.

But enough kept me reading to the end - the writing style is easy on the eyes and the descriptions are vivid. And from the outside, at least, it appears to be s
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.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
I gave it 100 pages. The description described the teens forming a band. I think it needs to be described differently or the first 100 pages should have more going on in it. Wanted to like it, but at times it didn't feel like the book knew what it was. A YA? an adult book flashing back to growing up? ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is 1980, New York state, in and around the city of Niagara Falls.

Carson Mastick is entering his senior year of high school, and he is already looking way beyond his familiar life on the Tuscarora Reservation. One way to get into the spotlight is to win the Battle of the Bands contest, win some cash money, and get a free trip to New York City. Easy, right? Carson seems to think so, except his last year of high school is about to get kind of complicated. A rocky friendship with Lewis is about t
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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

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Caroline Tung Richmond is an award-winning YA author and the program director of We Need Diverse Books. Run by authors, librarians,...
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