Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Truest ~ Jackie Lea Sommers review [@jackieleawrites @harperteen @KatherineTegen]

Katherine Tegen Books
September 1, 2015
384 pages
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Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening-- and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister-- and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.

I feel a little bit conflicted about Truest. There are parts I definitely loved, some I wasn't so crazy about and I don't really know how I feel about it overall.

As the daughter of a pastor in small-town Minnesota, Westlin "West" Beck is used to everyone knowing everyone's business and everyone knowing - and loving - her father.
I enjoyed the inclusion of religion and faith in Truest. I thought they fit the characters and what they were going through, while still not being what you might expect. It worked really well for me that West, while being the pastor's daughter, wasn't the most religious person (or teen, even) in the novel. Yet, she wasn't the crazy, rebellious stereotype, either.

Her father did fit more with the stereotype of 'caring pastor but absentee father' (or I just happen to only rad those?) than I would have liked. His character, his relationship with West and their family dynamic fit with West and with the story, but still bugged me.

Towards the end of the novel, West's reaction to something significant really turned me off. She never quite felt like an eighteen-year-old, about to be a senior girl, but her actions and emotions at that point and later really felt immature.

The blend of religion, philosophy, science, and poetry, important in different ways to varying degrees for the different characters, worked really well. Sommers created some fantastic pasts and presents (and possible futures) for her characters and I found them very creative and thoughtful. From the things they did, what books they read, what they listened to, what they watched and how they spent their time together, Silas, West, Laurel and the other characters all felt very unique and full.

Despite how I felt about West in the last third to half of the book, I really cannot deny the author's creativity and originality. That I am so unsure about the book, what happened and how it happened - and that I am still thinking about all of it - really does say a lot about its quality. I am very much looking forward to what Jackie Lea Sommers gives us next.

finished copy of the book received thanks to the publisher


  1. It is interesting how few books include any kind of faith. I think that authors feel like addressing any religious issues automatically will alienate (or possibly even offend) some of their potential readers. You don't find a lot of talk about God or religion in books unless they're religious fiction. I admire someone who is willing to broach that aspect of life, because it is too often left in the dust, and whatever the characters theologically believe, if they're well-written they will be relatable. Hearing that West is immature or doesn't read like a young woman...that probably would kill this book for me though. I hold my YA protagonists to a high standard in that regard. I can't get behind someone I don't think is mature enough for the choices they're making or the situations they're putting themselves in.

    1. I agree that there isn't much religion in novels (that aren't religious fiction) and it was a surprise in Truest. A nice surprise, though. I thought it fit with not only the subject matter but the characters and what they were experiencing.

      I liked the book but (towards the end) I did want West to say/do something different, realize later she should have, or for someone to tell her so.

      Thank you so much for reading the review and commenting.


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