"Totally brilliant. Totally one to watch for in 2017. Bravo!”      - Rita Williams-Garcia, 3-time Coretta Scott King winner and Newbery Honoree

"Totally brilliant. Totally one to watch for in 2017. Bravo!”  - Rita Williams-Garcia, 3-time Coretta Scott King winner and Newbery Honoree


A sequel to TRU & NELLE

A novel (ages 9-12)

from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt



“This sequel stands on its own. The writing is gorgeous—not one false stroke. Neri's uneasy peer into a piece of Americana squeezes dribs of hope from precious blood. Totally brilliant. Totally one to watch for in 2017. Bravo!”  - Rita Williams-Garcia, 3-time Coretta Scott King Award-Winner and Newbery honoree for One Crazy Summer

(Starred) "An absorbing story of true friends in troubled times." - Kirkus Reviews

"As in Neri’s first book about the real-life Truman Capote and Harper Lee, middle grade readers will laugh, cry, and be surprised by the many unlikely situations these preteens seem to find for themselves and their families. A definite purchase for fans of the first book." - School Library Journal

"Like Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, in this sequel, life in Monroeville is not unlike one of Sook's fruit cakes, sweet but dark, rich, complex, and full of flavor... this is a strong novel, beautifully written, imbued with a sense of place, a tale that tells the truth as only fiction can, about family and home and finding your own way when you leave both behind." - Book for Kids Blog

"Christmas does not exactly go smoothly in G. Neri's new novel for kids. A runaway's arrival, a house fire, a stolen tree, a brawl, a murder, a trial and even snow in Alabama all happen before the fruitcake is served. The adventures of the title characters are engaging on their own, often funny and laced with historical details that modern kids may marvel at, like travel by muleback and stores that don't put out their Christmas decorations until a week before the holiday. The Christmas tale this novel tells is unusual but in the end it's about the things at the heart of the holiday: family, friendship, forgiveness — and fruitcake." - Tampa Bay Times


When they were young, Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee were best friends living in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama. When he turned nine, Tru had to leave Monroeville to live with his mother and step-father in New York City.

He thought living in the Big City would be fun and exciting—it was.

He hoped living with his mom would make her love him—it didn’t. In fact, she ended up sending Tru away to a military boarding school, where he was miserable.

So that Christmas, Tru did the only thing he could think of: he ran away, back to Monroeville.

Now Tru stands on the cusp, ready to leap back into the life he had before. Will he be able to recapture the happiness he used to have? Or is it gone forever, replaced with the curse that befell him in New York City?

There’s only one way to find out.


In this sequel to Tru & Nelle, told over three Christmases, G. Neri transports readers back to the 1930s to revisit all the beloved characters from before, including Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee, who grew up to become two of the most celebrated writers of the 20th century. The tale draws upon real events— from tender personal moments to the awful truth of living with segregation and Jim Crow laws— a bittersweet history which inspired some Capote and Lee’s greatest works.

A powerful story of friendship, Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale explores race, what it means to be a family, and the possibility of miracles.



In April 2016, author G. Neri journeyed to Monroeville, Alabama to speak about his new middle grade novel, Tru & Nelle, in the famous courthouse where "To Kill a Mockingbird" took place. Join Neri in his search for the real people and places behind his story and its two legendary main characters: Harper Lee and Truman Capote.