Cover Image: Nothing But the Truth

Nothing But the Truth

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgally for the ARC!

I did enjoy this book. It started out pretty strong for me and I love a badass leading female. 

I found myself skimming midday way through but I will say it hit home and became a really relatable story. I love a good happy ending so I was really excited for that!
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Nothing But the Truth by Holly James is so much more than a rom com. Readers of that genre will enjoy this book, but this book has serious underlying themes that are so important. This really surprised me but I loved the way the author crafted this novel to tell her important messages. This book is a wonderful novel overall and I recommend it highly. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.
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Lucy Green loves her job as a celebrity PR agent but it requires a certain level of finesse and charm. When she wakes on her birthday literally unable to tell a lie, she finds it challenging to say the least.

I loved the concept of this one! I love a hint of magic in a contemporary world. I felt it could of had more humor to it, but it went a more a serious route, which totally worked. The me-too aspect made it pretty realistic, with a hint into the world of elite public relations. Despite the deep content, the story flew by and was a quick and entertaining read.

“What would happen to her career if she had to tell every celebrity she worked for just how big the messes they made were and that everything was in fact not fine.”

Nothing But the Truth comes out 7/12.
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CONTENT WARNING: sexual harassment, racism, mild violence

I have to admit that I’m stunned that this is a debut novel, because it’s off the charts good. I was invested from early on, and found myself cheering throughout the novel. Before I had finished the third chapter, I already messaged a few of my friends and told them that they needed to add this one to their TBR lists, because it was already that good, and now that I’ve finished it, I’m telling all of you that this book seriously needs to be on your TBR if it isn’t already.

This book is basically a cross between Liar, Liar (yes, the Jim Carrey movie) and f@*k the patriarchy. James has taken a long, hard look at society and the expectations it places on women, about our bodies and what we are taught to want from a very young age, and questions all of it. 

“She realized she couldn’t blame them for their concern because, like her, they had been trained from a very young age to equate a woman’s appearance with her competence, intelligence, kindness, status—her value as a person.”

Lucy goes out for drinks the night before her birthday. Her boyfriend is supposed to meet her, but as usual, he cancels. She makes a wish for her birthday to be perfect, and when she wakes up, she discovers that she can’t lie. Which … should be a bad thing, but she works as a publicist. So her entire job boils down to her capacity to lie. She has to be able to lie to her clients and tell them everything is okay. She has to lie to the world and put on a face that isn’t hers. So when she can’t force herself to go to spin class, shove her body into uncomfortable shapewear to fit into the clothes she normally wears to work, and choke down a minuscule amount of yogurt with three blueberries and say she enjoys it, that might be a tiny problem.

“Did she really need to punish her body into a mold that wasn’t its natural state, that honestly hurt sometimes, and that she had to fight tooth and nail to maintain mainly for aesthetics?”

Instead, she decides to be her authentic self. Starting with small things, and moving on to larger stuff. I loved seeing her buck societal norms in favor of authenticity and comfort. Did she go to work in pajamas with her hair in a pineapple? No, but she did wind up wearing something comfortable and appropriate, while wearing the amount of makeup that felt most authentic and right for her. I loved seeing it. My social media feed is full of people who spend enormous amounts of time putting on more makeup in a day that I use in a full year, and I usually find myself thinking … where do they find the time to do this? Why spend all this energy making yourself look like a different person?

“She enjoyed things like pretty clothes and wearing makeup; she wouldn’t advocate against either as long as it was a choice. But where was the line between what she wanted for herself and what society pressured her to have, whether it was beauty standards, a relationship status, or something as life-altering as children? Somewhere, somehow, those expectations seeped into her brain like fact, and she lost track of where they ended and she began.”

Society often tells us that is isn’t okay to be who we are, look the way we do naturally, and want what we want if it is different than what we’re told we should want. Not everyone wants kids, or a marriage, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married and have kids. But the problem lies in being told what we *should* want. And there’s even more of a problem with there being a timeline for it. Women are under immense pressure to follow societal expectations, and not just surrounding marriage and kids, but also how we behave. Women who speak up are “bossy,” “loud,” and “overbearing,” while men who do so are “ambitious,” “motivated,” and “driven.” This book discusses that, and the double standard that exists in the workplace. The advantages that are given to men just by way of their gender, while women have to work twice as hard just to get half the recognition. 

“Maybe there was no rush to get married, get a dog, pop out kids, buy a house, and live happily ever after. Ever after. What about living in the moment? Why was she making herself believe lies about the future that forced her to live her life on daily terms that didn’t make her happy?”

I absolutely fell in love with this book. The story, the characters, and the message were all conveyed in such a beautiful and relatable way. While there is a romantic subplot, it wasn’t overpowering, and definitely didn’t overshadow the main storyline, which is one of the most feminist stories that I’ve read. If there’s one “chick lit” book that you read this year, let this one be it.
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This debut novelist’s  feminist take on Jim Carrey’s Liar Liar is a very fun and thought-provoking novel. 

Never mind the cover, this one isn’t a cute romance. It’s about the constant demands that society demands and expects from women of all ages, the lies women believe after a lifetime of having them hammered into us, the harassment and violence that men have committed against women since the goddamn dawn of time. Along with some magic, romance, and ultimate truths. 

As Lucy’s day goes on, unable to lie, unable to feed into after some serious apprehension and shit, she eases into this new identity of not being able to lie, I loved Lucy’s transformation, and I loved the women supporting each other aspect of this story. 

As an almost 50 year old woman who has seen shit, been through it, I particularly love reading good and enjoyable feminist fiction since I’m already irate at the patriarchy. I adored this and can say this one is definitely worth reading. 




eARC kindly provided by Penguin Group Dutton and NetGalley. Opinions shared are my own.
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Lucy Green is about to turn 30 and is stood up by her boyfriend. This sets off a chain of events that leads to a "Liar Liar" type situation where, on her birthday, Lucy cannot tell a lie. The effects that this has on her personal and private life creates chaos and she finds herself realizing just how many lies she tells herself and others throughout the day. What follows is a story of unapologetic women empowerment, standing up to a inappropriate boss, and confronting injustices large and small.

I was initially REALLY worried I was going to hate this book. I honestly was dreading picking it up because I had pretty high expectations and have been let down by "chick lit" before. But I am pleased to say I really wasn't disappointed! It really is incredible the number of lies we as women tell ourselves and others every day - I think the world could do with a lot more truthfulness from all of us. This had me reviewing my own life and how I participate in a culture that really just dismisses women at every turn.

I think the only thing I wish is that there was some other internal factor driving Lucy's truthfulness instead of this sort of magic "wish" that was never really explained/wasn't real. Had the motivation been more internal, I think the message would have hit even better and inspired other women to say what they actually feel. I also think some of the messages were really "hit you over the head" with where some subtlety could have been just as effective.  

The other thing I'll say is that the message feels very binary at times - men vs. women, the lies women tell ourselves, etc. While I, as a cis white woman can appreciate that and really love the message, I do think that some more exploration of that outside of the binary would have been helpful and would have made it a more relatable book for more people.

Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton Books for the eARC in exchange for a review.
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This book did't have enough depth for me. Character's were a little cheesy and cliche. I don't think I am the right audience for this book.
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I love stories about empowerment and that is something I look for in every women’s fiction genre, I read. Although, I went into Nothing But The Truth expecting a plot similar to the 90s movie Liar Liar, I was pleasantly surprised by how different the plot and the message of this book was to the movie. 

This book tells us about the day in the life of Lucy Green when she can speak nothing but the truth, not just to others, but herself. In a world where women are constantly taught to lie to be polite, or follow societal norms, or to simply to massage someone else’s ego, reading about a woman speak and act her mind and enjoy the liberation was exhilarating!  What I enjoyed the most was the message behind the book which tells women to be themselves and not blindly follow “rules” that teach you to lie to yourself of all people!
I loved Lucy’s character, but I wish we got some extra time learning about her relationship with her boyfriend (before her change) to make the impact of her change stronger. The book also discusses the topic of workplace harassment (possible trigger for some) and how women handle it on a daily basis. I wished the topic was given a bit of extra time as well. But just like how you can only do so much in one day, there’s only so much plot the author can tackle in one book. 
Overall, the book was a pleasant read with an empowering message to “live your life” instead of existing and blindly following norms like a robot. I give it a 3.8 stars rounded up to 4.
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group for providing the eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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This was a super cute and really fun read! I loved all of the main and supporting characters - Lucy, Oliver, Nina, etc. - and found a little bit of myself and my friends in each of them, which made the whole story even more relatable. My only two qualms with the book was that I wish it was longer and more detailed about Lucy's work and relationship with Caleb to fully hit home the significance of her truthfulness (and just because I would have liked to read more about Lucy's life!!). I liked Lucy as a character so much more when she was blunt than the short chapter before. Additionally, it was a lottt of plot packed into a single day so it felt a little chaotic at times. Overall, this was very entertaining and the messaging really hit home!
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This was cute but unfortunately not very memorable for me. I might not have been it's intended audience.
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"But honesty had always been a choice. {...} Perhaps the day's greatest gift was simply the awareness of the choice."

Thank you PENGUIN GROUP Dutton for the ebook copy of Nothing but the Truth from Holly James.  Readers... yes this is a good one and don't let a seemingly predictable sounding plot derail you, this book has an interesting expansion on the telling truth trope and it worked really well for me.  I won't go into detail but this book has some effective takes on truth beyond words and moves into truth in how we present ourselves, our ideals/values, and our truth to ourselves in general.  The narrative moves beyond self growth, which is present, and into the value of speaking up and speaking truth when you can and when doing so empowers others as well as yourself.  What a treat it was to read a book that saw the layers to this trope and took advantage of this time and cultural shift to do so.
This book is a hidden gem, it is more than it might seem and rewarding for a fast paced, discussion worthy summer read.  This would be a great fit for women's fiction book chats and for mentoring/workplace book clubs as well.
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Nothing But the Truth is a fast-paced, entertaining novel about a publicist who wakes up on her 30th birthday unable to lie. In most cases, that would have been a problem for the heroine, but somehow - call it fate or kismet or magic - it allows her to live her best day despite many terrible, life altering things that happen to her. I liked the main character as she embraced living her truth, from avoiding shapewear and makeup to very publicly standing up for herself. The secondary characters were all well written and helped move the narrative along and I especially like the male characters. There were some excellent feminist messages, too: women shouldn't have to starve themselves or hide behind hair and makeup to look a certain way, it's powerful to stand up for yourself, and that your career can come first no matter what tradition or societal expectations say. Ultimately, it is a book whose message is that the truth can set you free. 

I deducted points from my rating because everything that was happening to the main character in one day's time read as manic and over the top. I'm being picky, but, seriously, her crosstown West Side to Burbank at rush hour commutes would have taken at least two hours alone, not to mention her working lunch meeting with potential clients, an HR meeting, long conversations with multiple people in different locations, and spending the day doing her actual job amid a personal crisis and public scandal - I just couldn't suspend reality to allow for it. I also deducted points because a large part of this book is dedicated to a very serious traumatic topic, but I never felt emotionally invested. It was like it was wrapped up in a tidy bow, and that is not how things function in the world-at-large. I feel like if the character had struggled with her decisions or been more anxious or affected it could have been a five-star book.  As it stands it was trapped somewhere between a romcom and more serious (women's) fiction - entertaining, but I hate to say I probably won't remember much of it in a few months. Even given my issues with the novel, I liked it. It is a light, easy read, that I'm sure will have many fans. 
3.5 stars

Advanced copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

CW: workplace sexual harassment
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I love the concept for this one!

The message was great, because I know that as a women, I feel the need to lie about things like this daily. It felt empowering and I feel like I’ll walk away from this being more truthful. 

I do wish we would have gotten more at the beginning. We’re told of everything she does before she makes a fates wish, but we never see it.
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Read This If:
•Remember the movie Liar Liar
•Need a reminder to live your best life

Thoughts:
I think Lucy just became my favorite female MC in a book. I think everyone must read this one! It was super cute, and a very cool concept. I was so here for Lucy just being like yeah, I’m over this bullshit and spoke her truth. At first, I wasn’t sure where this was going to go with the not being able to lie concept. I immediately thought about the movie Liar Liar. I loved where this ended up going. I think this book is a lovely reminder to all of us that we need to be true to ourselves and speak our truth, no matter what society tell us. Eat the dam cake!!!
 
I think this is a must read for everyone!
 
Thank you @netgalley & @Duttonbooks
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This was a super fast and fun read! I loved the dedication and felt like this book was definitely so good! 
I got a lot of liar liar vibes from it which I loved. I appreciated all of the feminist themes throughout the book and found so much of it relatable!
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This book felt like an episode of Working Moms meets Younger. It was fun, timely, and a starry-eyed take on a hard-to-swallow topic.

This book starts with a dedication that acknowledges the Coronavirus Pandemic. Knowing that this book was written post (eh... during?) the pandemic absolutely and positively affected my reception of it. 2020 changed SO much for people and working women are a category of folks who will forever be impacted by these recent years. The pressures that women experience are SO real and none of us should have harassment added to the list.

I thought it was incredibly smart of the author to start out by giving all women readers something to agree on before emphasizing an experience that perhaps not all women can directly relate to. We can ALL relate to uncomfortable shapewear or parental expectations of where our lives should be, but not all of us have dealt with harassment in the workplace. I am absolutely simplifying a far more complex plot here - - but Holly James was able to connect the roots of the shapewear expectation to the, "we should just deal with it because our careers could be ruined" expectation and I think that was incredibly insightful and thought-provoking. What lies do we tell ourselves every day and how harmful can those truly be? What truths do we keep hidden out of expectation and how does that affect us?

I felt at a few points that perhaps the idea of "choice" was overstated. I do not disagree that we all have CHOICES about when to speak up - - but the effects of the consequences of that choice weigh differently for each individual. If you're looking for a heavy book that unpacks all of these intricacies - - this isn't the book for you. But if your expectation (... see what I did there?!) is an entertaining and aspirational journey for what we all hope for when we choose to tell our truths, then PICK THIS UP IMMEDIATELY!

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for the opportunity to review an ARC of this book!
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A woman who suddenly can’t tell a lie, not even to herself! A birthday wish turns Lucy’s life upside but by the end of the day she realizes it’s the best thing that could have happened. It was nice to read about a woman standing up to sexual harassment in her workplace and having everything work out as it should. But it did feel like everything worked out a bit too well to be believable. The thing I liked most was that this book definitely challenged me to consider the lies I tell myself.  A nice debut with a likeable main character and a great concept.
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Lucy Green wanted her thirtieth birthday to be a perfect day when she made her wish. Little did she know it would would leave her with the inability to tell a lie. Though this “curse” was initially challenging, the results were rather surprising.

This was a rather interesting and entertaining exploration of the lies we tell ourselves each day. The beginning was utterly hilarious, and I found myself laughing and nodding my head as Lucy came clean with herself about everything from shape wear to restrictive eating. It offered quite a bit of social commentary about the way women are taught to accept certain things and convince themselves that they are onboard with all of it. Because Lucy was forced to tell the truth, many of her beliefs were challenged, and as a result, she grew tremendously. The story took a more serious turn that I wasn’t expecting, but I did appreciate the way the the author addressed and incorporated it.

I have seen this being noted as a romance. There was a romantic (sub) sub-plot which I really enjoyed, but it was a minor part of the story in my opinion. Nonetheless, I adored the love interest and enjoyed how he kept surprising Lucy (and me).

Overall: I really enjoyed this spin on “Liar, Liar”, and I appreciated the well the author kept the story fun while incorporating a serious issue.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group for providing the ARC.

I knew when I requested this book I'd get a rehashing of Liar Liar, but I was surprised by how much this book deviated from that particular plot. Lucy is not insufferable - she is a classic millennial wanting to do well and succeed, and focuses solely on what her industry, her friends, and even the world tell her to do to end up happy. Be thin. Wear makeup. Don't rock the boat too much. Deal with the chauvinistic crap of your workplace. Don't eat. Exercise until you die. The list goes on and on. But this books focuses less on her having a day where she can't lie and how hindering it can be, and more on her empowerment.

Suddenly, she doesn't care about the intense beauty and exercise routine she does. She decides to have an actual meal for breakfast instead of starving. She sticks it to her boss, her boyfriend, random people on the street, and in doing so, frees herself from the shitty injustices of the world.

A great way to show that living as your true self is not a hindrance. It's a blessing and empowering. This book was an absolute delight.
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Lucy is a celebrity publicist who on the eve of her thirtieth birthday makes a wish for the perfect day.  What ensues is a twenty four hour no good very bad, maybe actually kind of good day where Lucy is unable to lie and against her will speaks her truth in many less than ideal situations.  Part work place drama, part love story and part magical realism Nothing But the Truth is a quick, witty read.
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