Six Truths and a Lie / Ream Shukairy / Book Review


When a rowdy Fourth of July beach party goes off with a bang, it isn't just stray fireworks. An explosion off the California coast leaves an oil rig blazing. Chaos. Injuries. Death.

And at the heart of the maelstrom stand six Muslim teenagers, strangers to one another--and prime suspects. A quiet loner, an aspiring doctor, a glitzy influencer, a perfect daughter, a beautiful immigrant, and a soccer star: the only thing these teens have in common is that they were at the wrong at the wrong time... and that they're Muslim.

Suddenly faced with accusations of terrorism, the Six have a lot to lose. Caught in the crossfire of a political game they don't know the rules to, they'll have to decide what to share--who to throw under the bus--and how much they're willing to give up to secure their freedom and their futures.



The biggest downside to this book, I think, is just how hyperbolic the villains end up feeling. Because otherwise, it's a really, really strong book. It's scary to read, because it feels too real in a lot of ways. It's the kind of story that we need to tell and tell again.


Chaotic Watching this Fourth of July party get broken up by pure chaos was incredible. Because in a lot of ways, it did feel like watching it, like catching a news clip filmed on somebody's phone: jagged, uneven, and inexplicable. Fire, explosions, sand, and tangling wire: it's hard to tell what's happening in the moment, and it's absolutely terrifying. Because you know in a scene like this, you probably wouldn't not survive.

Fake News There's something so remarkable about an author being able to write a newspaper clipping that sounds at once so realistic and, at the same time, makes you want to curse somebody out. I harp on a lot of authors who include newspaper clippings in their storytelling because these news clips don't feel right. They don't feel like they've been written in the correct style, because the conventions of journalism and creative writing are so different. Ream Shukairy really nails the tone of a journalist, however, and also nails the rhetoric--the rhetoric you see repeated again and again that isn't right, isn't true, and yet is so harmfully pervasive.

Horrifying Dehumanization I kept wanting to say, "They're just kids! What are you doing?" But they're teenagers, too, and they're POC. They're Muslim in a country that hasn't recovered from 9/11--a country that is still happy to see brown faces as terrorist faces. So I wanted to not believe this could happen, and yet as horrifying as some of these scenes are, they feel... shockingly possible. Anyone who has spent anytime digging through a controversial comment section on social media could believe it. These kids might be minors, but that doesn't mean much when people are so willing to overlook it.


As I said above, the one major drawback of this book is just how hyperbolic the ultimate "bad guys" end up being. Because this book is very much a cut-and-dry sort of realistic fiction piece, this hyperbole just doesn't mesh. The addition of Favreau and her unscrupulous motives just felt a tad too much--a bit too conspiracy in a book that doesn't need it. Hyperbolically Bad

With how hyperbolic the ultimate villains are, however, the actual "conspiracy" at play here... is surprisingly small. I won't spoil anything, but let me tell you, all the build up just left me asking, "What, that's it?" at the end. Which is never a good thing, is it? Surprisingly Small

Look, I get it. This is kind of the point. These kids have been accused, and nobody seems to be on their side--at least nobody they can talk to. It makes sense that their respective attorneys would want them to put themselves first. It's a tricky case. Any time you've got "terrorism" thrown in the mix, the judge and jury won't be taking the accusations lightly. But these attorneys--all of them--felt disinclined to listen to their clients, and that doesn't ring quite true. Wouldn't at least one of them want to know all the facts and have everything at their disposal? Why would they shut down questions, inquiries, and insights from the clients they're trying to have acquitted? Nobody's Listening



Fans of Brittney Morris's The Jump will like the insidious twists and turns of these behind-the-scenes powers-that-be. Those who enjoyed Sheba Karim's The Marvelous Mirza Girls will like this new group of diverse Muslim teens trying to make their lives make sense.


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date: March 12, 2024
Series: N/A
Add to Goodreads
Buy it HERE

Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. It sounds like the author did a wonderful job with the journalist tone. That's important especially when they're including news articles in the story. Great review!

  2. I actually enjoy when authors do news clippings, emails, tweets, etc in the stories. It allows for different perspectives without all the dedicated overhead of another character.

  3. There sounds like a powerful message behind this book ER. Thanks for sharing your wonderful review!

  4. I enjoy when we have different formats in stories like mails, messages etc.

  5. Even the stereotypical "bad guys" don't seem to detract too much from this. Sounds like a very compelling read!

  6. I hadn't heard of this one. It sounds really good. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I like those that feel too real, but yeah they are often scary

  8. This does sound like a compelling read...and one that I would probably enjoy, too. Great review!

  9. The plot of the book sounds interesting, and it does seem like something that could happen in today's climate. Also, I enjoy it when books include newspaper clippings and other documents outside of the story, so it's good to hear Shukairy nailed the journalist tone.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Sky's End / Marc J. Gregson / Book Review

Best and Worst of 2023

Win Lose Kill Die / Cynthia Murphy / Book Review