Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale by G. Neri

Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale

When they were younger, Tru and Nelle were best friends, sharing adventures and solving mysteries in Monroeville, Alabama. But then Tru moved to New York City to live his mother and their friendship slowly faded away. Life in the big city wasn't as fun as Tru had hoped it would be. In fact, he ran away, and now he's back and hoping he and Nelle can be friends again. Unfort...

Title:Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale
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Edition Language:English

Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale Reviews

  • Marcus Newman

    Wow, Neri really out does himself here in a completely unexpected way. Was expecting a Trumanesque Christmas Tale, ala A Christmas Memory, which, in fact, is here. But this novel for middle schoolers goes much deeper into To Kill a Mockingbird territory. The backbone of the story explores the true trial that inspired TKAM, apparently the only criminal case Harper Lee's father undertook. Told over 3 Christmases, this story is a true coming of age tale between two outsider kids trying to find thei

    Wow, Neri really out does himself here in a completely unexpected way. Was expecting a Trumanesque Christmas Tale, ala A Christmas Memory, which, in fact, is here. But this novel for middle schoolers goes much deeper into To Kill a Mockingbird territory. The backbone of the story explores the true trial that inspired TKAM, apparently the only criminal case Harper Lee's father undertook. Told over 3 Christmases, this story is a true coming of age tale between two outsider kids trying to find their way into the world. It even ends with an epilogue in the future when Ms. Lee gets her chance to write the famous novel we've all come to treasure. While the first novel, Tru & Nelle, was utterly charming and poignant, this one is feels on a deeper level and lingers much longer on the heart and soul. It is one of the rare sequels that outdoes the original.

  • Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

    This book and the first are a great snapshot into the life of two very well known writers in whom a lot of adults are interested. I just don't have the readers who want to hear about their childhood. Both Capote and Lee are portrayed as very singular and not particularly pleasant children. Intriguing, but will pass on purchasing for my school library.

    That said, I do get a fair amount of children who want to read stories set at Christmas.

  • Jessica White

    Oh boy, I could not wait to get my hands on this book!!!

    Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale picks up four years later with Tru running away from his New York Military School, back home to Alabama. He missed his family. He missed Big Boy. But really he missed Nelle. Obviously, that's who he decides to see before anyone else.

    Once finally deciding to head to his old house, he slips into bed with is blankie and Sook.

    But suddenly there was smoke and then the whole house was just....gone.

    Christmas was o

    Oh boy, I could not wait to get my hands on this book!!!

    Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale picks up four years later with Tru running away from his New York Military School, back home to Alabama. He missed his family. He missed Big Boy. But really he missed Nelle. Obviously, that's who he decides to see before anyone else.

    Once finally deciding to head to his old house, he slips into bed with is blankie and Sook.

    But suddenly there was smoke and then the whole house was just....gone.

    Christmas was obviously ruined at this point and Tru needed to fix it. After all, it's his fault that bad luck follows him everywhere.

    So they set off to find the perfect Christmas tree, when they run into bully, Boss, son of the Klan's ex-Grand Dragon. They know they're in big trouble but don't really know what to do. Best to go talk to A.C. Lee, he'll know what to do.

    Soon after, Nelle is on a crime scene with A.C. when she realizes there were actually TWO perpetrators, and he thinks that old, black man may have seen something. She soon learns that they're looking for two colored men, one who was injured in the robbery.

    But in Monroeville, Alabama in the 1930's, that statement alone will bring some heat.

    When two colored men show up at Big Boy's house, one of them with a limp, Nelle knows it must have been them. They committed a crime....

    But that wasn't the case.

    Two men hanged for a crime they didn't commit.

    All because the jury was 12 white men, one of whom was the son of the victim.

    Seems a little unjust to me, but again 1930's Alabama.

    There's also a lot of references and scenes including the Klan which always throws me off because it's a kids book. But honestly, things like this did and do still happen.

    G. Neri is a fantastic storyteller.

    I loved reading this, just as much as I loved the first Tru & Nelle novel.

    I love how he paints Tru's eccentric personality and Nelle's tomboy attitude.

    I love that he's from the Gulf Coast (just like me!).

    I love that he got to spend time research two fantastic authors and decided to portray them as children with big, big imaginations.

    Basically, I love everything about Tru & Nelle.

    This review and more by G. Neri & Truman Capote can be found at A Reader's Diary!

  • Cynthia

    Initially I was drawn to this book because the main characters were Harper Lee and Truman Capote even though I don’t read much children’s lit but that’s not what kept me reading. In the tradition of Capote and Lee Neri tackles some weighty issue about diversity. Neri is skilled at meeting his middle school audience in an engaging manner but in a way that’s accessible to that age group. I suppose strictly speaking he’s not portraying the 1930’s Alabama small town racial situation as harshly as it

    Initially I was drawn to this book because the main characters were Harper Lee and Truman Capote even though I don’t read much children’s lit but that’s not what kept me reading. In the tradition of Capote and Lee Neri tackles some weighty issue about diversity. Neri is skilled at meeting his middle school audience in an engaging manner but in a way that’s accessible to that age group. I suppose strictly speaking he’s not portraying the 1930’s Alabama small town racial situation as harshly as it probably was but he hits it hard enough and there’s time enough for kids to deal with when they’re older and emotionally better equipped.

    Of course there’s no overt sexuality however Nelle’s Tomboyish ways and Capote’s dandy tendencies are also dealt with with acceptance and in an age appropriate manner and then there’s the implied mental illness or just plain uniqueness of some of the town folks which also felt honest and presented in a humorous or matter of fact way. The Christmas theme doesn’t really impact the story until almost the end so this book could be read at any time of the year. This would be a fun book for kids to read over the holidays or to have read to them by a parent or teacher.

    Thank you to the publisher for providing an Advance Reader’s Copy.

  • Jana

    I had the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this middle grade historical fiction novel from NetGalley in exchange for this review. This book is a follow-up to Neri’s 2016 novel, Tru & Nelle. It continues the fictionalized account of Truman Capote’s and Harper Lee’s friendship during their childhood. I loved the first book, and I think this is a nice sequel.

    While this is a historical fiction story, it was inspired by real people and real events that took place in the 1930s. Truman Capote a

    I had the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this middle grade historical fiction novel from NetGalley in exchange for this review. This book is a follow-up to Neri’s 2016 novel, Tru & Nelle. It continues the fictionalized account of Truman Capote’s and Harper Lee’s friendship during their childhood. I loved the first book, and I think this is a nice sequel.

    While this is a historical fiction story, it was inspired by real people and real events that took place in the 1930s. Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee were childhood friends in Monroeville, Alabama. This novel opens a few years after the events of the first book, with a custody hearing in which Truman chooses to live with his mother and her husband in New York City. A few years later, Truman is sent to a military school from which he is running away – back to Alabama. Truman arrives in town a few days before Christmas, and it seems there is nothing but trouble from the moment he returns. And while Truman believes he is cursed, against the backdrop of the South during the Jim Crow era, he and those around him learn the true meaning of the grace and giving during the holiday season.

    The skillful character development continues in this story, with a strain on Tru and Nelle’s relationship because they are growing up into young adults and are unsure how they are supposed to feel about each other. I think that young readers who enjoyed the first book, will enjoy this one as well. I do think that the second book is dependent on the first book – if a middle grade reader hasn’t read the first book, they probably won’t understand or appreciate the first book.

  • Becky

    First sentence: "Do you think he'll be any taller?" asked Big Boy.

    Premise/plot: This is the second book fictionalizing the friendship of Harper Lee and Truman Capote. This one focuses specifically on Christmas--three Christmases to be exact. The first Christmas, readers see a custody battle over Truman. His mother has renamed herself, Nina, and remarried. Joe Capote wants to adopt Truman. Truman's father wants custody, but doesn't want Truman. That is, if he wins, Truman will come to live full-t

    First sentence: "Do you think he'll be any taller?" asked Big Boy.

    Premise/plot: This is the second book fictionalizing the friendship of Harper Lee and Truman Capote. This one focuses specifically on Christmas--three Christmases to be exact. The first Christmas, readers see a custody battle over Truman. His mother has renamed herself, Nina, and remarried. Joe Capote wants to adopt Truman. Truman's father wants custody, but doesn't want Truman. That is, if he wins, Truman will come to live full-time forever-and-ever with his cousins in Alabama. Nelle is disappointed--as is Big Boy--that the mother wins custody. The second Christmas comprises most of the book--except for the epilogue. In this adventure--or misadventure since Truman thinks he's cursed--Truman has run away from military school. He returns home, but, unfortunately his homecoming is spoiled by a fire that destroys their home. Truman and all of his cousins (minus Callie who has died since Tru & Nelle) move in with Big Boy and his family. (The first story is set in 1935; the second in 1937.) Nelle, Truman, and Big Boy are all older now, will they be just as good as friends as before now that life is more than fun and games? The third Christmas is an epilogue set in New York City in 1956.

    My thoughts: I definitely enjoyed reading this holiday-themed coming-of-age story. I enjoyed the characters. In some ways, this is a more emotionally intense read. I would definitely recommend both books.

  • Tara Oshinski

    I will honestly say that I was oblivious to the fact that Truman Capote and Harper Lee were friends growing up. I think the fact that it made me research and delve further into the biographies of each person is what I enjoyed about the book. The humble beginnings of each person was interesting and I thought the portrayal of the town during segregation would be eye opening to children. The only thing that felt a bit contrived was the trial storyline. It seemed like it was thrown in there to make

    I will honestly say that I was oblivious to the fact that Truman Capote and Harper Lee were friends growing up. I think the fact that it made me research and delve further into the biographies of each person is what I enjoyed about the book. The humble beginnings of each person was interesting and I thought the portrayal of the town during segregation would be eye opening to children. The only thing that felt a bit contrived was the trial storyline. It seemed like it was thrown in there to make a connection to "To Kill a Mockingbird", which I do understand was part of Harper Lee's life, but I think I would have rather had the story go a different direction because the outcome of the trial and the men's lives was wrapped up in one sentence. Overall, an informative piece of fiction.

  • Lynn

    Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee were best friends in Monroeville, AR. This fictional tale covers three Christmases in their lives. One in which Truman comes home from NYC for a court custody hearing as his parents are fighting for him. Another as a youth when his mother has sent him away to military school where he is bullied and tortured for being effeminate, and as a famous adult author I’m which he gives Nelle money to live on while she writes her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. Monroeville

    Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee were best friends in Monroeville, AR. This fictional tale covers three Christmases in their lives. One in which Truman comes home from NYC for a court custody hearing as his parents are fighting for him. Another as a youth when his mother has sent him away to military school where he is bullied and tortured for being effeminate, and as a famous adult author I’m which he gives Nelle money to live on while she writes her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. Monroeville is a racist Southern town where Jim Crow laws affect the local black populace and Truman’s father tries to fight against. Good story but not as moving as I hoped.

  • Sue

    You don't have to read Tru and Nelle to dive into this sequel.

    Here's my review on my blog:

  • Arlene Szalay

    Covers some of the backstory of To Kill a Mockingbird. Great story, but a little choppy.


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