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Monday, May 12, 2014

The Truth Against the World by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

The Truth Against the World is an interesting ghost story. Olwen Nia Evans and Gareth Lewis, two young people a world apart,  connect through the internet.

In California, Olwen (Wyn for short) posts some of her puzzling dreams on her blog.  Her great-grandmother Rhiannon is terminally ill, and Wyn's life is shadowed by this imminent loss. 

Gareth, in London, has also been having strange dreams.   After a disturbing incident in Wales involving the ghost of a young girl near a grave marked Olwen Nia Evans, Gareth has had more than dreams to contend with--photographs show images that can't be explained and his phone seems to have a ghostly connection.

Gareth's online search for an Olwen Nia Evans leads him to Wyn's blog.  The two begin a conversation and discover that both families have roots in the same small Welsh village.

Wyn tells Gareth that her family will soon be visiting Wales to honor Rhiannon's wish to die there, in the village where she was born.  Gareth arranges to visit his great-grandfather in order to unite with Wyn and hopefully solve the mystery behind their strange dreams.

This YA/Juv novel provides an interesting plot with likable characters and a supernatural element that works well.  No gratuitous angst or sexual imagery.  No condescension to a false image of adolescence.  A neat little ghost story that both Middle Graders and adults can enjoy.

I particularly enjoyed the inclusions of the Welsh language and proverbs.

Read in January; blog post scheduled for May.

YA/Middle School.  June 8, 2014.  Print version:  360 pages.


  1. This sounds like a good one. I like that you added that there was "no condescension to a false image of adolesence". That's never a problem in YA literature! Haha

  2. Cool that the author included Welsh language and things. I always feel quite anxious about Welsh and its fate -- there are already so few people who speak it! I don't want it to be lost!

  3. Wendy - This was an interesting little novel, and I love that it included all of the Welsh tidbits. I like for YA/Juv novels to have settings or plots that widen perspectives.

    Jenny - Yes, the language (all those lovely consonants)should be preserved. I know there is a resurgence of interest in its preservation, and I hope that it is successful.