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The Almost Truth

Eileen Cook (Unraveling Isobel) creates the ideal read for teens who are sure they were switched at birth.

Sadie's home is a trailer. Her mother works as a maid and her father is a career criminal who spends more time in jail than with his family. Sadie desperately wants to leave all this behind, so she's counting the days (and the money she makes on petty cons, thanks to a few tips from her father) until she can leave for college. No, Sadie is not like her dad; she just needs money for books and expenses. But when her mom wipes out Sadie's entire bank account, which was meant to be her down payment to UC Berkeley, Sadie knows she's screwed.

Then Sadie sees a flyer for Ava McKenna, a child who went missing 15 years earlier, and the age-enhanced photo looks a lot like Sadie. There's also a reward of $250,000. With the help of her best friend, Brendan, who's "like a con genius savant," Sadie has hopes of getting the reward and "leaving the old me behind." As they investigate the disappearance to find an angle for the con, strange coincidences suggest that Sadie might, in fact, be Ava. But this seems like just another escapist fantasy. And who would Sadie be, anyway, if she's not who she believes herself to be? Readers will be swept along on the twists and turns of Sadie's journey to find her true identity, inside and out. --Lynn Becker, host of Book Talk, the monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI