A Different Truth – Historical Mystery
Now available on BiblioBoard via participating Indiana Libraries
Price: $11.99 eBook $2.99
Paperback Page Count: 246
Publication Date: April 15, 2015, 2nd Edition June/July 2016
When a brutal hazing leads to death behind the secretive walls of a boarding school and Andy Olson decides to investigate, he’s drawn into a conspiracy that reaches to the highest level, forcing him to choose between exposing the truth and protecting himself.
In the vein of A Separate Peace, this is perhaps the most important fiction book about the Vietnam Era a young adult could read. —Goodreads
In 1968 sixteen-year old Andy Olson’s family ships him off to Palmer Military Academy. There, along with his best friend, Tom, he’s plunged into a world where rules are everything and disobedience not an option.
When Tom openly supports the peace movement, Andy grows increasingly irritated. He doesn’t care about politics and the raging Vietnam War. Besides, messing with their bullying teammates is dangerous, underestimating fanatics like Officer Muller, the tormentor of plebes a mistake. It’s hard enough to make it through each day, avoid counselor Beerbelly’s spying eyes and extra marching. Andy plans to play a little football, visit Maddie, a townie with eyes like the Caribbean Sea and lie low until graduation.
But the war has a way of reaching Andy, he couldn’t have imagined. His privileged classmates with deep pockets and connections to the Dean call Tom a traitor. Maddie’s brother, a Vietnam vet confined to a wheelchair, aims to stop Andy from seeing Maddie. And there’s Sarge, a dedicated soldier turned teacher who takes an uncanny interest in Andy’s career. When Tom is attacked and the school calls it an unfortunate accident, Andy decides to make a choice that will not only threaten his future but his very life.
Readers’ Favorite Five Stars
|A Different Truth by Annette Oppenlander takes place in 1968, the year when the Vietnam War was at its bloodiest. Along with his best friend Tom, sixteen-year-old Andy Olson is banished to Palmer Military Academy. Oppenlander deftly weaves an insightful coming of age story in the year when the United States was commonly associated with unrest, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the never clearly explained or understood Vietnam War. The things that Andy and Tom have to endure at the boys’ military prep school sheds some light onto the struggles of young men trying to adapt and survive in the authoritarian world of the military. I like the way in which Oppenlander keeps the thriller aspects of the book grounded, and I also like the way she handles the hazing scenes that some of the boys have to bear. The scenes are handled well, without too much exploitation of the victims and the perpetrators. In fact, it may even serve as another platform to generate discussions about hazing and bullying in schools. Nevertheless, some readers may prefer to be forewarned about this content. A Different Truth is a powerful and thought provoking tale that allows us to think about our moral decisions. Readers who are personally familiar with the history of the Vietnam War will be fascinated by the story of the boys at Palmer Military Academy, whereas the generation that was born after the war would be able to use it as a trajectory to discover more about this unseen but crucial part of history. Reviewed By Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite|