One Truth, No Lie by Lehua Parker transports readers into a world of magical realism set in modern Hawaii. Use these questions to lead your reading group in discussing the book’s themes and characters.

Spoiler Warning: These questions may reveal important details about the story. Be sure to finish the book before reading on.

Discussion Guide

  1. Throughout the Niuhi Shark Saga, characters fight against their apparent destiny. Do you think the characters had real choices and control over who they became? Why? If not, who had control?
  1. Maka was raised Niuhi, but her twin Zader was raised human. In what ways are they similar? How are they different? What does it mean to be Niuhi?
  1. Family is a major theme in the Niuhi Shark Saga. How do the characters define family? How is this the same or different from your personal definition of family?
  1. While in exile, Zader communicates with Char Siu through technology. Is this breaking Kanaloa’s rules? Why or why not?
  1. Zader uses his art talent to teach humans about the need to protect our oceans. Is art an effective way to do this?
  1. How would you encourage others to take better care of our oceans?
  1. On the cruise ship, the captain says that they are Zader and Maka’s guests; it’s not the other way around. Why do you think he said that?
  1. What do you think happens to Uncle Kahana and Ilima after the story ends?
  1. What do you think happens to Char Siu, Jay, and Zader after the story ends?
  1. If you could change one thing about the story, what would it be? Why?

For more classroom materials and information about Hawaiian culture, history, and island living, please visit

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When you're allergic to water,
growing up in Hawaii isn't
always paradise.

With Niuhi sharks,
even out of the water,
you're not safe.

Everything you thought you
knew about Zader is a lie.