Author: Geoffrey Girard
Hardcover: 360 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Katie Wallace has never given much thought to 9/11. She was only a year old when terrorists struck American soil. But now her dad has landed in a mental institution after claiming to know what really happened. He insists the attacks were part of a government conspiracy. And he claims that Katie is living proof: the lone survivor of a massive cover-up.
Hoping to free her dad, Katie sets out to investigate his bizarre claims. Soon she’s drawn into the strange and secretive world of 9/11 conspiracy theorists known as the -Truthers.-
Wading through a dangerous web of fact and fiction, questions and distortion, Katie no longer knows what to believe. But she does know that she’s being followed and that someone is determined to stop her search for the truth.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I feel like up top I should probably throw out the fact that if you are going to be bothered by discussions of conspiracy theories about 9/11, this book is definitely not for you. The author does a wonderful job addressing this in the afterword (he discusses that teens who weren’t alive for 9/11 are often interested in the conspiracy theories and he wanted to address those interests along with other information about it), but I think it’s important to know up front because it was the one thing that kind of bothered me throughout the book and tarnished it a little bit for me. I knew that would be part of the book but I guess I did not realize how much it would gnaw at me as I was reading that a lot of ideas brought up in the book had to do with the tragedy being a false flag or inside job and the like.
That aside, I think that the book actually handles the issue relatively well. Truthers is about Katie, a girl trying to create a defense for her father who has been arrested for an outburst about 9/11 and threatening Dick Cheney. Only a high school student, she throws all she has into the task trying of to mount a defense that just because her father might believe in conspiracy theories does not mean that he is a threat to others and should therefore be let off. It is an interesting framing and does a nice job of taking Katie from being a skeptic to being someone who is much more doubting of the official story. As a character, Katie is quite earnest which I found to be important to make rooting for her feel appropriate. I felt that her best friend was not very well fleshed out but with that one notable exception, I thought most of the characters were fairly well developed.
Max is a law student wunderkind who decides to help Katie out with her case. He is a nice foil for Katie as he remains more resolute in believing the official story of 9/11. He provided some much needed perspective both in the universe of the book and just to me as the reader, who almost had to put it down because (as mentioned above) the book dabbles with being disrespectful to the victims of 9/11. Also, Max being a complete and unabashed nerd referencing Tolkien immediately endeared him to me.
Overall, if you are someone interested in conspiracy theories, I think you will quite enjoy this book. If you are neutral about them it’s a decent YA story that is worth a read but not essential. If you can’t stomach the suggestion of alternate theories about the events of 9/11, this is a hard pass.