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If I Tell You the Truth
Cover of If I Tell You the Truth
If I Tell You the Truth
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Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Rupi Kaur, this heartrending story told in prose and poetry weaves together the stories of a mother and daughter's lives.In this stunning sophomore novel,...
Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Rupi Kaur, this heartrending story told in prose and poetry weaves together the stories of a mother and daughter's lives.In this stunning sophomore novel,...
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  • Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Rupi Kaur, this heartrending story told in prose and poetry weaves together the stories of a mother and daughter's lives.

    In this stunning sophomore novel, acclaimed writer Jasmin Kaur explores trauma, fear, courage, community, and the healing power of love in its many forms.

    Kiran flees her home in Punjab for a fresh start in Canada after a sexual assault leaves her pregnant. But overstaying her visa and living undocumented brings its own perils for both her and her daughter, Sahaara.

    Sahaara would do anything to protect her mother. When she learns the truth about Kiran's past, she feels compelled to seek justice—even if it means challenging a powerful and dangerous man.

    if i tell you the truth

    that i've dug

    from the hardened depths

    of this shrapnel-filled dirt

    with these aching, bloody hands

    would you believe me?

    would you still love me?

About the Author-

  • Jasmin Kaur is a writer, illustrator, and spoken word artist living in Vancouver, BC. Her writing, which explores feminism, social empowerment, love, and survival, acts as a means of healing and reclaiming identity. As an arts facilitator and fourth-grade teacher, Jasmin has been leading creative writing workshops for young people across North America, the UK, and Australia over the past fi ve years. Visit her online at www.jasminkaur.com.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    October 1, 2020
    Punjabi teen Kiran Kaur lands in Canada with a terrible secret: She is pregnant with the child of the man who raped her. Although her mother tries to force her to get an abortion, Kiran decides to keep the baby. Abandoned by her family, Kiran moves in with her queer friend Joti and gives birth to a girl she names Sahaara. Unable to keep up with studying, raising a newborn, and paying rent, Kiran drops out of university, loses her student visa, and becomes undocumented. As Sahaara becomes a teen herself and discovers her family's secrets, she must learn how to protect her mother--and survive in a body she now associates with her mother's sexual assault. Following up on When You Ask Me Where I'm Going (2019), Kaur fills in details of both women's stories and personalities with care and grace. The plot is tightly woven and action packed, and readers will quickly become invested in their complex journeys. The book alternates between poetry and prose as well as between Kiran's and Sahaara's perspectives, though the majority is told from Sahaara's point of view. Sahaara's voice, in particular, is fresh, honest, and a pleasure to read. At times the prose feels overwritten, however overall this is a fast-paced story that will keep readers engaged. A thoughtful, loving examination of immigration, sexual assault, and chosen family. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    December 1, 2020
    Grades 9-12 Kaur's sophomore novel revisits the engaging mother-daughter duo from her first novel, When You Ask Me Where I'm Going (2019), telling a story that should satisfy readers of the first novel who longed for more background on Kaur's well-drawn characters. It begins with Kiran flying from her home in Chandigarh to Canada on a student visa, all the while knowing there is a ""tiny secret blossoming in my belly,"" by the man who raped her. A falling out with her parents follows when she decides to keep the child, a girl she names Sahaara, with the support of a chosen family. Throughout the pages, readers watch Kiran blossom from a timid teenager to a fiercely protective mother silently grappling with past demons. Kiran's perspective effortlessly switches to Sahaara's for a bulk of the pages, and her gradual growth into a woman capable of the strength her mother has always exuded is genuinely cheerworthy. Kaur's tighter prose, hard-hitting verse, and spare illustrations in this follow-up are sure to instill empathy and compassion in readers.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from December 1, 2020

    Gr 9 Up-Follow two women's stories through 20 years of life. Assaulted and pregnant, Kiran leaves Punjab, India, to begin college in Vancouver, Canada. Rejected by those she trusts most, Kiran braves living undocumented as a single mother. Fast forward 18 years and her daughter, Sahaara, struggles to follow her dreams while ensuring her mother gains Canadian citizenship. As both women grapple with security, Kiran begins unraveling truths about her past that haunt the very fabric of their beings. This powerful sophomore novel explores womanhood over the span of two decades through the eyes of a mother-daughter pairing. The strength, resilience, and compassion Kaur seamlessly weaves between prose, poetry, and illustration allows readers to connect with and recognize themselves in Kiran and Sahaara. The journey they embark upon will spark much-needed conversations about being silenced, reconciling the past, and basic human rights. As Sahaara is given more information about Kiran's past, she learns to respectfully listen to others' stories; for a person cannot grow if they are unwilling to accept another's reality. A list of trigger warnings precedes the novel, which includes endnotes about COVID-19, historical context, and the Canadian immigration process. VERDICT A story that beautifully touches a multitude of tough topics, this one is for readers of S.K. Ali's Saints and Misfits, Kekla Magoon's Light It Up, and Maika and Maritza Moulite's Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.-Emily Walker, Lisle Lib. Dist., IL

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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