Nothing But the Truth Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

'Nothing But the Truth' is a young-adult novel by Avi, which follows a young boy as his suspension brings national media attention to his town. These questions can help your students delve deeper into this story.

Nothing But the Truth

Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel (1992) is a young-adult novel by Avi, the pen name of Edward Irving Wortis. The story follows ninth-grader Philip Malloy as his suspension from school is twisted in the public eye and engulfs his town in national media coverage and debates about patriotism and freedom of speech. These questions are designed to help guide your students through a class discussion on this book, its characters, and its themes.

Questions about Plot and Characters

  • Who is the main character in Nothing But the Truth? How are we introduced to Philip Malloy? What are some of the first things that we learn about him? How would you describe this character and his personality? Where do we see evidence of that in the book?
  • In one sentence, describe the plot of Nothing But the Truth. What is this book about? What is the central conflict? How is that conflict established? How does it develop?
  • Who are the other important characters in this novel? What do we learn about them? How does Philip describe each of these characters? Do you think his descriptions are fair? Why or why not? How would you describe these characters?
  • How easy is it for Philip's story to get misrepresented in the press? How does Philip feel about this along the way? How do other people feel about it? Why is it so hard to correct the story? How is the entire town impacted by these events?
  • What is the climax of this story? How did the central conflict reach this point? How is it resolved? Is it resolved? What did you think of the book's ending?
  • What did you think of the characters in this book? Are any of them entirely right? Are any of them entirely wrong? Are any of them meant to be entirely likable? Are you used to reading a book like this? Why do you think the author made these decisions? Do you think Philip ended up learning a lesson or not?

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