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Trell: Nothing But the Truth

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  393 ratings  ·  109 reviews
"Trell is an appealingly gutsy heroine whose belief in her father is strong enough to drag an attorney and a down-on-his-luck journalist into her orbit." -- School Library Journal

On a hot summer night in Boston in the late 1980s, a twelve-year-old African-American girl was sitting on a mailbox talking with her friends when she became the innocent victim of gang-related
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Candlewick Press (first published September 12th 2017)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Whispering Stories
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book Reviewed by Stacey on

Fourteen-year-old Van Trell Taylor (Trell) has been brought up by her mum Shey, on one of Boston’s roughest estates. She sees her father, Romero Taylor, every Saturday at the state prison where he has been for the last twelve years after he was convicted for shooting dead a young teenage girl called Ruby Graham, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Romero had always protested his innocence and convinced a new lawyer, Nora Walsh to look
I won this ARC from Librarything. The book's description intrigued me because the setting is near my home town, and I also remember the actual case the story was based on. Trell is a story based on a real life crime- the murder of an African American 12 yr old girl named Darlene Moore, who was sitting on a mailbox in Roxbury MA and was caught in the crossfire between rival gangs. The case itself made headlines and took years to resolve. A man named Shaun Drumgold was wrongly convicted of the ...more
Paula  Phillips
This book grabbed my attention from the cover as it was amazing and eye-catching with the newspapers. This book turned out to be based on a true event that happened in 1988 in Boston. On that fateful night in August, a 12-year-old girl was sitting on her mailbox talking to her friends when she was shot three times by stray bullets as she was caught up in a gang turf war. A 22-year-old guy was convicted of the murder, but years later it turned out that he was, in fact, innocent and just because ...more
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book lives up to all it claims to be. Gripping and thrilling, indeed it was.

I loved the juxtaposition of the past and the future. While the story is told in the now, It feels like you're right there with them every time they talked about what happened in the past. It was a story you felt, not just read.

Aside from the novel being pretty much unputdownable, the story was really current and ripe for its time, now.

Trell, short for Van Trell, her dad is in prison for killing a young girl.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very well written and it told me that I should probably not be reading criminal mysteries because I always figure them out halfway through the book (it sucks). I loved the characters and the setting but once I figured out the mystery it got pretty boring. I enjoyed it and all, but it just didn't catch me the way that I want to be caught in mystery/crime novels.
Sarah Hannah

Really, this is great. Well researched and well crafted, with a fully realized Boston setting. I really love that even though it was a white guy and a black girl working together, there was no white savior trope--Trell really runs the show and drives the action, and she does an incredible amount of work while still being believably young and giving the adult man his heroic moments as appropriate. It's also always nice when an adult man and a younger girl can have
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, I go back and forth on this. Because the idea is really great, of a teenage girl who fights all of the odds to get her wrongfully convicted father out of jail. Plus, this is based on a true story that Lehr worked on and was inspired by. So, great. I'm sure that Mr. Lehr is a strong journalist devoted to his craft and doing his part to shed light on wrongs and make things a little better.

I just think that the writing isn't very strong. Very telling versus showing, and one event after
Find more reviews like this at The Literary Phoenix.

I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for this opportunity. All opinions are strictly my own.

Romero Taylor is a wrongfully accused man.

He knows this, his wife knows this, and his daughter Van Trell Taylor knows this. Everyone knows this, but nobody is speaking up about it. Why not? Because the crime he is accused of is horrific: a twelve-year-old girl was
Alison Hardtmann
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Trell tells the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who lives in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston with her mother. Her father has been in prison since she was an infant, wrongly convicted of the drive-by murder of a young girl. Trell has seen her father only once a week during visiting hours. When a lawyer agrees to take on her father's appeal, Trell helps out at the law office, filing papers and learning about the legal system. As she learns more and more about her father's case, she has to ...more
Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
This book is based on a true crime that occurred in Roxbury, MA where a 12 year old African American girl named Darlene Moore, was sitting on a mailbox and got caught in the crossfire of gang violence. It became a very difficult case and a man was wrongly convicted of the crime and was imprisoned for about 14 years before he was released.. His release was due in part to the investigation by the author of this book, who previously had worked as a reported for the Boston Globe. So this book ...more
Garrett B
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book while I was looking for something to read and just couldn't find anything that I found interesting. I saw this book with his simple and short name and thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a look. I was surprised to find that the little summary on the back was actually interesting and made me want to follow the story. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for mystery and crime books, however, I was going to try to get into a new genre, but this book captivated me so much that I ...more
I received a free copy of Trell from the publisher through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review -- thank you!

What a compelling and timely book!

I wasn't surprised to find that Dick Lehr was the author of Black Mass. There's something cinematic in the way that he writes, and I think that Trell would also lend itself perfectly to a screen adaptation.

So, the writing is great. I love the characters -- and the lack of romance in YA is a refreshing plus, too. It's clear that the author's done
Norah C
I was drawn to this book because of its simple cover art. I wanted to explore a new genre and this read caught my eye during class.
The story is about Trell whos father is living a life sentence in prison for being accused of murdering a young girl. Trell would visit her father in prison all her life. Some visits were good while others she picked up on the toll prison was taking on her father. Once she was older she realized that her father was not guilty of this murder and began looking for
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book about a girl who helps investigate a murder her dad was convicted of 13 years earlier. It had interesting thoughts about politics, prison, newspaper reporting, the court system. I loved it. It's based off a true story.
Evuh Smith
Trell is a novel that hooked me from the beginning, mostly because the book is set in the 80’s, is a true story, but it still represents things that are happening today. In the story, a young girl, Van Trell or Trell for short, grows up visiting her father in prison every weekend. Ruby Graham was a little girl sitting on a mailbox one summer, and was murdered by gunfire intended for gang members. The man who was convicted of the crime, Trell’s father, is innocent. Now, the daughter and wife form ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was SO wonderful. By the end, I was crying. Lehr did an amazing job of adapting a real case to YA fiction and I am so happy it exists
Richard Corbett
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clean and powerfully written with a wonderful heroin of Trell, who never gives up the fight for justice, this novel which is taken from a real case,is an inspiration to keep on fighting even though there seem to be impossible odds.
4.5 stars
I chose this book because the summary on the back interested me and I wanted to read what happened next to Trell and her family. I usually am a fan of realistic fiction but decided to take on this mystery/thriller book and I'm glad to say it kept me wanting more and I never wanted to put the book down!

Trell, the main character, grew up with seeing her father only once a week during visiting hours. He is in jail for the murder of a little girl that he did not commit, and Trell is going to prove
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on an actual event in Boston in 1988, Trell tells the story of a man wrongfully convicted for the murder of a child from the point of view of his teenage daughter. Since shortly after her birth, Van Trell Taylor (“Trell”) has only known her father in jail. For the last fourteen years he has insisted on his innocence to no avail. After legal avenues prove to be dead ends, Trell begins to hound a local, washed up investigative reporter to revisit the rush to convict her father. As
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing! I highly recommend to anyone who likes mystery, fast-paced action, writing, running, or family dramas. It has it all! I especially liked the journalistic spin on the story. So unique and thought-provoking. This book brings to light a lot of injustice and corruption. So so good.
Keri (BooksWithKeri)
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Nothing But The Truth follows fourteen-year-old Van Trell Taylor on her quest to clear her father’s name after he was tried and imprisoned for the murder of a young girl when Trell was a baby. This is based off a true story and a true crime that Dick Lehr helped to bring to the public attention when he worked for the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team.

Dick Lehr’s experience is clear in the details of the
This story was based on a true crime from 1988, and despite its flaws, it has much to teach readers about determination, persistence, and justice. Although the book's delivery doesn't do the case justice, I'm still glad I read it since it highlights what can go wrong in our justice system. Since many other books for teens do that nowadays, perhaps I'd have enjoyed it more if it had been written a couple of years ago. The relationship between Van Trell Taylor, the book's protagonist, and Clemens, ...more
Michaela Aisling
“I was nervous because in my experience police did more wrong than right.”

For all intents and purposes, Trell is just your average teen. Except, she's not. Trell is a 14 year old black girl attending a fancy school, stuck in a sea of over privileged white students, her teachers so utterly out of touch, their heads clearly filled with stereotypes and prejudice. Trell is the daughter of Romero Taylor, the man convicted just 13 years prior for the shooting, and subsequent killing, of a young
American Mensa
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dick Lehr’s Trell is an engrossing novel that follows one girl’s journey to prove her father’s innocence. Based on a true story of a wrongful murder conviction, the novel engages and educates its reader in the flaws of the legal system and the importance of pursuing justice through journalism. Van Trell Taylor is a wiry fourteen year old girl who has visited her father, Romero Taylor, in prison every Saturday since she was one. Every week she ends her visit with a question, “Daddy, when you ...more
Trell was a newborn when her father was falsely accused of and imprisoned for one of Boston’s most notorious murders - that of a fourteen-year-old girl named Ruby Graham. Now Trell is the same age as Ruby was when she died. She and Ma visit Daddy every week. At this latest visit, Daddy (Romero Taylor) tells them that a friend of his has a new, young lawyer who’s a fighter. He thinks if he can get her interested in his case, she might be the one who can get him a new trial and get him out of ...more
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-books-1-10
Van Trell Taylor has spent fourteen years of her life visiting her father in prison who has been convicted of the first-degree murder of a thirteen-year-old girl, Ruby Graham. Everyone has been resting easy for fourteen years, believing that justice has been served in the tragic death of this young girl who appeared caught in between a gang war. However, Trell's father claims innocence and Trell believes him. Taking matters into her own hands with the help of her mother, an avid lawyer, and a ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received this proof copy for an open and honest review.

Dick Lehr is a former reporter for the Boston Globe who, working as part of the Spotlight team, helped to crack a real life case that inspired this debut YA novel. In the summer of 1988, a 12-year-old girl, named Darlene Tiffany Moore, was killed by a stray bullet as she sat atop a mailbox talking to friends. A man named Shawn Drumgold was convicted and jailed for her murder, serving 14 years in a prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Jessica Macaulay
Gripping and realistic YA? Check. Compelling and diverse characters? Check. A book that's easy to sink your teeth into? Check, check, check! Based on the real events that led to the overturning on Shawn Drumgold's 1988 conviction for the murder of a 12 year old girl.Trell is a gripping tale that highlights the power of a daughter's love, and value of conviction in legal counsel, and the ability of good journalism to expose the wrongs of a justice system prone to prejudice and corruption.

Van Trell, or Trell to everyone she knows, visits her father weekly in prison, where he is serving time for gunning down a young girl. However, Trell's father didn't kill that girl and she and her mother set out to prove it. They connect with a scrappy new lawyer, Nora, who knows that the case doesn't seem right. As the group continues to uncover more evidence proving that Trell's father didn't commit the crime, they need to get help from a reporter to make the court system take notice and ...more
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Dick Lehr is a professor of journalism at Boston University. From 1985 to 2003, he was a reporter at the Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in investigative reporting and won numerous regional and national journalism awards. He served as the Globe's legal affairs reporter, magazine and feature writer, and as a longtime member of the newspaper's investigative reporting unit, the ...more
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