Hot Best Seller

One Speck of Truth

Availability: Ready to download

Alma has everything she needs, except answers to her questions. Her mother won’t tell her why her beloved stepfather, Adam, is suddenly gone this summer. Or about life in Portugal, where her parents met. Not even about her father, who Alma cannot find, no matter how many graveyards she searches with her best friend, Julia. Then Alma’s mother shocks her by moving them both t Alma has everything she needs, except answers to her questions. Her mother won’t tell her why her beloved stepfather, Adam, is suddenly gone this summer. Or about life in Portugal, where her parents met. Not even about her father, who Alma cannot find, no matter how many graveyards she searches with her best friend, Julia. Then Alma’s mother shocks her by moving them both to Lisbon so Alma can fall in love with the vibrant city where her father grew up. There she discovers she has more family than she could have imagined. She hopes Portugal holds the answers she’s been desperately searching for, but it turns out finding the truth may be more complicated than she, or her mother, bargained for.


Compare

Alma has everything she needs, except answers to her questions. Her mother won’t tell her why her beloved stepfather, Adam, is suddenly gone this summer. Or about life in Portugal, where her parents met. Not even about her father, who Alma cannot find, no matter how many graveyards she searches with her best friend, Julia. Then Alma’s mother shocks her by moving them both t Alma has everything she needs, except answers to her questions. Her mother won’t tell her why her beloved stepfather, Adam, is suddenly gone this summer. Or about life in Portugal, where her parents met. Not even about her father, who Alma cannot find, no matter how many graveyards she searches with her best friend, Julia. Then Alma’s mother shocks her by moving them both to Lisbon so Alma can fall in love with the vibrant city where her father grew up. There she discovers she has more family than she could have imagined. She hopes Portugal holds the answers she’s been desperately searching for, but it turns out finding the truth may be more complicated than she, or her mother, bargained for.

30 review for One Speck of Truth

  1. 5 out of 5

    Liralen

    There's a lot that Alma's mother isn't telling her: where her father is buried. Why her stepfather left. Why Alma isn't allowed to ask questions. Why the furniture is disappearing, piece by piece, from the house. It's only days before they get on an aeroplane that Alma learns the answer to that last question: they're moving. (But her mother doesn't tell her where, or why, or for how long.) So Alma's left to figure it out: what happened to her father, and what happened with her stepfather, and ho There's a lot that Alma's mother isn't telling her: where her father is buried. Why her stepfather left. Why Alma isn't allowed to ask questions. Why the furniture is disappearing, piece by piece, from the house. It's only days before they get on an aeroplane that Alma learns the answer to that last question: they're moving. (But her mother doesn't tell her where, or why, or for how long.) So Alma's left to figure it out: what happened to her father, and what happened with her stepfather, and how does she suddenly have a throng of Portuguese relatives she's never known? I read this for the Portugal setting, which I'm not sure I've seen before in YA/MG lit. I'd have liked to see the setting used a bit more, but it still works nicely for the piece. But...gosh. Alma never really gets her answers, does she? That is: she learns some truths about her father, and about her stepfather. But by the end of the book she hasn't realised that she has other, and perhaps more important, questions to ask. Like: is her mother okay? Her mother, who withholds all information possible until the last possible minute (like, doesn't tell Alma that she's not going back to her US school until Alma's not allowed on the school bus because her mother hasn't registered her; doesn't tell her they're going to Portugal until they're at the airport and are handed their boarding passes). And why are her mother, and her mother's parents, so ashamed that Alma's father isn't around? And how does her (former) stepfather justify going from pledging to adopt Alma to dropping off the face of the earth? But mostly: is her mother okay? I like a lot of things about the book but am still left feeling like Alma has been dealt the short end of the stick.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessie_Book

    I don't really know what to say about this book. I just genuinely didn't like it. The only thing that I enjoyed about this book was the best friend. The best friends was so nice to read about, she brought to interesting conflicts to the story without it being too contrived. Besides her the mother was despicable, the daughter was irritating and selfish, all the other characters we bland. They sometimes said things and all I could think was "you can't be this dumb". I started to enjoy it near the I don't really know what to say about this book. I just genuinely didn't like it. The only thing that I enjoyed about this book was the best friend. The best friends was so nice to read about, she brought to interesting conflicts to the story without it being too contrived. Besides her the mother was despicable, the daughter was irritating and selfish, all the other characters we bland. They sometimes said things and all I could think was "you can't be this dumb". I started to enjoy it near the end, but I don't know if that was because it got better or because I could see that there weren't that many pages left. The one saving grace in this book was the best friend and I wish there was more of her in it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tamsyn

    3.5 stars. I liked a lot about this story, but the mother was extremely frustrating and infuriating past the point of believability. Decent resolution and a small glimpse of Portugal made it more enjoyable.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Alma has been raised by her single mother since the death of her Portuguese father when she was young. Her mother had attended college in Lisbon, where the two met, and has steadfastly refused to answer any questions about Alma's father. She won't even say where he is buried, which has led to an obsession with finding this out. Alma's best friend Julia always sticks by her. Recently, the mother has split from Adam, her husband, who was very fond of Alma but will not tell E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Alma has been raised by her single mother since the death of her Portuguese father when she was young. Her mother had attended college in Lisbon, where the two met, and has steadfastly refused to answer any questions about Alma's father. She won't even say where he is buried, which has led to an obsession with finding this out. Alma's best friend Julia always sticks by her. Recently, the mother has split from Adam, her husband, who was very fond of Alma but will not tell her why he is no longer living with them. Since Julia is Adam's niece, Alma manages to get a little information. Alma's mother is not doing well, working from home a lot, dropping Alma off at Julia's, and selling the furniture piece by piece. When Alma is not registered for the school bus on the first day of school, her mother finally tells her that they are moving to Portugal to meet her grandmother. Alma is a bit scared, but also glad that her questions might finally be answered, since she often "talks" to the idea of her father. When the two get to Portugal, Alma gets to meet a cousin, go to school, and checks the cemeteries to no avail. Perhaps the reason she can't find a grave for her father is because he is still alive. Strengths: Like this author's Forever, or a Long, Long Time , the writing is strong. Alma is a self-sufficient character who is raising herself in the face of very bad parenting. It's good that she has a support network in her mother's parents and in Adam, who won't answer questions but reassures her that she is loved and that he will be there if there is a problem. The brief glimpses of life in Portugal are fascinating. Weaknesses: I have a lot of students whose fathers are not in the picture, and Alma's obsession with her father seems a bit odd. The treatment of the mother by her parents and the shame over Alma's birth seemed very odd-- she would have been born in about 2006. I wish more had been addressed about the mother's mental health-- clearly, something is very wrong, and Alma needs even more support. No one gives Alma answers, even when it leads to defiant behavior. What I really think: Not sure about this one. Debating.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    Okay so like. I realise this was the entire point of the story, but why the HELL did someone not tell this child the truth much sooner? Like, sure, parents make mistakes. But there were four or five OTHER people who could have told Alma the truth. Plus, WHAT is wrong with her mom! There were obviously some significant mental health issues going on but nothing is addressed or really dealt with? I'm so unsettled by how deeply Alma internalized that asking questions made her a Bad Child and yet thi Okay so like. I realise this was the entire point of the story, but why the HELL did someone not tell this child the truth much sooner? Like, sure, parents make mistakes. But there were four or five OTHER people who could have told Alma the truth. Plus, WHAT is wrong with her mom! There were obviously some significant mental health issues going on but nothing is addressed or really dealt with? I'm so unsettled by how deeply Alma internalized that asking questions made her a Bad Child and yet this is never really challenged by any adults? Also (and this at least was addressed) CHILDREN SHOULD NOT HAVE TO BE GRATEFUL TO THEIR PARENTS FOR BASIC NECESSITIES. They SHOULD take them for granted! That is WHY adults are the caretakers! If you're an adult and you're constantly telling the children around you to be thankful/grateful for having 'good parents' you can get wrecked!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Reading One Speck of Truth was like climbing the old, narrow stairs in Lisbon; Caela Carter offered glimpses of beauty along the climb, but obscured the full truth until the end. Like Alma, I missed seeing some of the truth that should have been visible and thought I knew what had only been implied. Alma was a compelling character with a strong motivation and the fault of short-sightedness (and not the kind that could be fixed by her big green glasses). Only later in the story did I recognize ho Reading One Speck of Truth was like climbing the old, narrow stairs in Lisbon; Caela Carter offered glimpses of beauty along the climb, but obscured the full truth until the end. Like Alma, I missed seeing some of the truth that should have been visible and thought I knew what had only been implied. Alma was a compelling character with a strong motivation and the fault of short-sightedness (and not the kind that could be fixed by her big green glasses). Only later in the story did I recognize how Julia is not only a friend, but an important foil for Alma. Through the secrecy and mistrust Carter makes the case that every child deserves a family, and also that sometimes that family is one we least expect. This will be a good book for readers who enjoy a bit of mystery or whose hearts are feeling a little crumpled and alone.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Momo

    3.5 When I started this book, after the first 30 or so pages, I was very nervous because I didn't really like any of the characters? The mother was pretty terrible, and while I can't fault Alma too much for her behavior given who her mother is + her age I wasn't really feeling connected to her either. Now, characters I can't relate with I can usually handle but the writing wasn't really adding anything to the story. It felt dull, and sometimes forced. It was disappointing since Forever, or a Long 3.5 When I started this book, after the first 30 or so pages, I was very nervous because I didn't really like any of the characters? The mother was pretty terrible, and while I can't fault Alma too much for her behavior given who her mother is + her age I wasn't really feeling connected to her either. Now, characters I can't relate with I can usually handle but the writing wasn't really adding anything to the story. It felt dull, and sometimes forced. It was disappointing since Forever, or a Long, Long Time is one of my favorite middle grade books, with the story and writing just feeling seamless and heart-wrenching. I powered through, however, and was pleasantly surprised to find myself becoming more involved. Once our characters were on their way to Portugal, and when they arrived I felt that is where the story should have started all along. I began to really feel for Alma as she tried so hard to connect herself to the father she didn't know and had only created in her mind. It took me the longest time to really feel bad for Alma's mother, because she treated her daughter kind of terribly? Only 30 pages from the end do we undertand why she was like that and it was understandable (and pretty bad), but throughout the book it was frustrating to see her treat Alma that way. There were many things I wish this book had done better, but what we got in the end was appreciated. ( Please oh please let there be some sort of follow up book with Julia!! )

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cassidy

    I found One Speck of Truth at the library, on the shelf for the new books. The cover looked like something I'd like, and at the time I didn't have any other books to read, so I took it out and started reading. Unfortunately, the first half of the book or so was very boring and slow-going. I lost interest in it and started reading other new books I had just gotten. But then I was left without books again. So I decided to just keep reading. I'm glad I did. Once Alma and her mom get to Lisbon, it get I found One Speck of Truth at the library, on the shelf for the new books. The cover looked like something I'd like, and at the time I didn't have any other books to read, so I took it out and started reading. Unfortunately, the first half of the book or so was very boring and slow-going. I lost interest in it and started reading other new books I had just gotten. But then I was left without books again. So I decided to just keep reading. I'm glad I did. Once Alma and her mom get to Lisbon, it gets much more interesting. Alma has always imagined her dead father to be kind, understanding, to give her answers that her mother won't give her- basically to be the perfect father. She never once considers that maybe he wasn't exactly like that. I also liked the way Ms. Carter illustrates Portugal and the Portuguese people. She's also not afraid to have the characters speak in Portuguese and not translate it into English. I'm not sure whether I liked that or didn't like it- I will admit that for a little bit of the book, I was typing the Portuguese sentences into Google Translate. I give One Speck of Truth three stars because the second half of the book is interesting and makes a good story, but the beginning is really boring. I'd recommend this book to kids in grades 5-8.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As beautifully and emotionally written as Forever, or a Long, Long Time. Ms. Carter understands that kids are smart, they see more than adults assume they see and process them (sometimes in awkward ways), they ask questions, and if their questions aren't answered, they hold them inside. I am honestly angry at Alma's mother, because you cannot just refuse to give a twelve-year-old any information at all about a vital part of her life, you cannot just lie (by omission or otherwise) and pretend tha As beautifully and emotionally written as Forever, or a Long, Long Time. Ms. Carter understands that kids are smart, they see more than adults assume they see and process them (sometimes in awkward ways), they ask questions, and if their questions aren't answered, they hold them inside. I am honestly angry at Alma's mother, because you cannot just refuse to give a twelve-year-old any information at all about a vital part of her life, you cannot just lie (by omission or otherwise) and pretend that will work forever. And you absolutely one-hundred-percent cannot drag your kid to live in a foreign country without telling her in advance, and claim "oh, you didn't need to know, you'd just have fretted about it". A lot of love, also , for the topic of transracial adoption, which is touched on through Alma's friend Julie, and is a bond between them--they both have absent parents. Julie's parents are more open about a lot of things than Alma's mother, but their insistence to her that she doesn't need to be curious about her biological mother in Korea, that she should just be grateful that she has a family who loves her, is another aspect of the search for truth that arcs through the book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Clover White

    Well, if there was ever a story to hammer home the idea that “honesty is the best policy”... Very interesting story, but I find it hard to believe that the mother in the story consistently refused to answer questions, or failed to see the daughter’s need for answers. Other characters try to explain it away with the excuse that she was such a young mother, but that, in and of itself, does not make a person so wedded to secrecy. I would have needed to hear more backstory to make that a convincing Well, if there was ever a story to hammer home the idea that “honesty is the best policy”... Very interesting story, but I find it hard to believe that the mother in the story consistently refused to answer questions, or failed to see the daughter’s need for answers. Other characters try to explain it away with the excuse that she was such a young mother, but that, in and of itself, does not make a person so wedded to secrecy. I would have needed to hear more backstory to make that a convincing life choice. That said, I really liked the author’s writing and storytelling. Is truth a theme in all her books? I see that her first book was called “My Life With the Liars”... might have to read that, too!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    This book was filled with questions and the answers were too few or too late. Alma was a sympathetic character and I found her understandable. Her mother Mercy was off the charts unbelievable. How could you not tell a 12-year-old she is switching schools and moving out of the country before the first day of school, especially when you are farming her out to the home of her best friend most of the summer. Don't even get me started on the American grandparents. The only adult characters I liked we This book was filled with questions and the answers were too few or too late. Alma was a sympathetic character and I found her understandable. Her mother Mercy was off the charts unbelievable. How could you not tell a 12-year-old she is switching schools and moving out of the country before the first day of school, especially when you are farming her out to the home of her best friend most of the summer. Don't even get me started on the American grandparents. The only adult characters I liked were Adam and the Portugese grandmother. Alma does manage to learn a thing or two, but it's a wonder. I did like the ending. Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for a digital ARC of this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Becky Shaknovich

    This is the second book I’ve read by this author (My Life With the Liars was the first), and I’m starting to think I really like Caela Carter! Other reviews complain about the unlikeable mother, but that’s actually the whole point. Children with unreliable, dishonest, and otherwise bad parents are the ones who truly need comfort from a book. Ms. Carter has a talent for writing about children with parents who have let them down. Reading her books feels like a hug from the author and a reassurance This is the second book I’ve read by this author (My Life With the Liars was the first), and I’m starting to think I really like Caela Carter! Other reviews complain about the unlikeable mother, but that’s actually the whole point. Children with unreliable, dishonest, and otherwise bad parents are the ones who truly need comfort from a book. Ms. Carter has a talent for writing about children with parents who have let them down. Reading her books feels like a hug from the author and a reassurance that you are not alone. I’ll definitely be seeking out her other books.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    I appreciated the real, flawed characters in this story. For me, it was a page-turning, tear-jerking thriller, and my heart connected with Alma as she obsessed over finding her dad. Lots of complex relationships and bumpy self-discovery that resolve in a middle grade-appropriate way when Alma learns that being vulnerable with the people you love is the way to create true familial bonds. The only downside was I felt like the Mom’s behavior in Pittsburgh flirted with mental illness in a way that wa I appreciated the real, flawed characters in this story. For me, it was a page-turning, tear-jerking thriller, and my heart connected with Alma as she obsessed over finding her dad. Lots of complex relationships and bumpy self-discovery that resolve in a middle grade-appropriate way when Alma learns that being vulnerable with the people you love is the way to create true familial bonds. The only downside was I felt like the Mom’s behavior in Pittsburgh flirted with mental illness in a way that was never addressed. And I’m hoping for a sequel about Julia’s search for her birth mom!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    This book is basically a copy+paste of another J book that I just read recently where the mom is a manipulative liar and the father is a deadbeat and so the protagonist (a twelve year old girl, mind you) now has to be the person to somehow 'fix' her family even though she's literally 12 and there are adults who don't have their shit together that should be doing that for her. Fast and easy read, but ridiculous. Is this the overly used J fiction trope? I hate it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Heidrich

    4.5 stars This is about a girl going into Grade 6 that lives with her mum and was told her Dad passed away when she was very young, so she has no memories of him. It's a story of friendship, growth, truth, love and its complications on many levels, family, and figuring out who you are. I really enjoyed this one and it has more of the "grit" factor that I personally like. I also felt like there was a bit of a mystery throughout, but I won't say any more about that... a great read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Freeman

    Twelve year old Alma's life has been consumed by questions - primarily about her apparently deceased father. Alma's mother and grandparents excel at prevarication and never answer her questions. Both Alma and her mother grow up a bit in this coming-of-age story about discovering family, practicing and trusting good communication, and aligning reality with expectations.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chloe Kingston

    Sometimes i get really bored of books but this book made me want to keep reading it. i really suggest this book for 9 and up! for some kids it easy to compare to and for others it makes them aware of other peoples situations. I really love this book and plan to read it again!❤Caela Carter Sometimes i get really bored of books but this book made me want to keep reading it. i really suggest this book for 9 and up! for some kids it easy to compare to and for others it makes them aware of other peoples situations. I really love this book and plan to read it again!❤️Caela Carter

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Thomas

    This was probably one of the most frustrating books I have read in a long time. Nobody tells the truth and many of the adults act in very unpredictable and inconsistent ways. But the things I hated about it also made it hard to put down. I was disappointed when I learned the truth because it was a bit too convenient and the real story was uninteresting and not well developed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Carter draws the reader through a story with simple mystery as she explores the cost of distancing ourselves from the pain of the truth. This is a sweet story of acceptance and finding love where it actually is. Though it is YA, I found it relatable as an adult.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I was given an advanced copy from Edelweiss for my honest review, here it is. The fact that there was not one single adult who would stand up to her mother for this poor girl's sake really made me angry.

  21. 4 out of 5

    K.C

    Eh. It was just a very eh book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Eh, I don't recommend this one. Too many lies, too much manipulation--I didn't feel safe as a reader and I felt kind of agitated on Alma's behalf.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karen Wendt

    Ms. Yingling says it all.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    I hope this book is good

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    not great...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Good book, took awhile to get into it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kendall Chandler

    I love Caela Carter, and once again, I loved this book. It had a great story, and I just couldn't put it down.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I enjoyed this midde-grade book about a girl's search for her father.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Carlton

    Liked the setting in Lisbon, Portugal but the characters were annoyingly unrealistic in both their treatment of others & their acceptance of the treatment by others.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ireadkidsbooks

    An unsettling story of family, disruption, and the insatiable need to answer questions, even if the search and knowledge come at a great expense. Alma's mother is controlling, to say the least, and not at all forthcoming with information about Alma's father. Alma's only friend, Julia, joins Alma's on furtive missions to local cemeteries in the hopes of finding Alma's dad. Alma buries scraps of paper with questions, hoping one day the answers will be revealed. Alma's stepfather effectively vanish An unsettling story of family, disruption, and the insatiable need to answer questions, even if the search and knowledge come at a great expense. Alma's mother is controlling, to say the least, and not at all forthcoming with information about Alma's father. Alma's only friend, Julia, joins Alma's on furtive missions to local cemeteries in the hopes of finding Alma's dad. Alma buries scraps of paper with questions, hoping one day the answers will be revealed. Alma's stepfather effectively vanishes from her life, a sudden loss that leaves Alma with even more questions. When Alma's mother suddenly uproots the two of them for Portugal, Alma finds more than she'd ever expected about her family. I'm willing to roll with a truly unlikable character, and I count on Carter's writing to embrace the darker sides of characters' pathologies, but Alma's mother read as both horrifically unlikable AND mentally ill for much of the book, with no reconciliation for a young reader. I appreciated Julia's own search, and her family dynamic, as a means of contextualizing Alma's quest. And I learned a lot about Portuguese architecture and snacks! Ultimately, though, the book was unsettling and not in a good way. Not my favorite of Carter's work.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.