Book Review: True

True (True Believers #1)
Published By: Penguin
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Page Count: 222
Buy it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: New Adult - Contemporary Romance
*This title is recommended for 18+ readers.*

This may sound harsh, but I really wasn't expecting this to be a particularly good read. I don't know what it was that gave me that impression really, as the cover and copy are pretty good... Still, I was surprised by how involving I found this story. It was a quick read, and I found it quite hard to put down.
Perhaps one reason why I wasn't expecting to find True gripping was that it seems like the same plot as many other New Adult reads... Virginal college undergraduate meets a older, hot, bad boy and sparks start to fly. They then face many challenges as their worlds collide. I can see why this kind of story is written, and it does appeal, but there are only so many of the same kind of thing I can read before I start looking for something a little fresher.

What made the difference to me in True was that Rory was a shy virgin, but she also constantly surprised me, in the choices she made and how they differed from what I expected her to do. She is bluntly honest, and doesn't sit about worrying away about if things are her fault when something goes wrong. She doesn't let her bad boy, Tyler, get away with being an idiot and blowing her off. She calls him out on his poor choices, and it was so refreshing to read a female character who avoids creating drama when she hears things she doesn't like. She is deeply logical, and generally is able to express herself in a mature way to bring her point across. I also enjoyed how she was cracked open emotionally through the story; she moves from being quite reserved and emotionally unavailable to being aware of how important connecting with people is, in many ways.

I did find some aspects of the book to be the tiniest bit cheesy though... The meaning of the word True is linked to Tyler and his brothers, who seem to grow up against the odds and form a tight knit band. They have to cope with some really difficult problems, and it was quite sad really. The older brothers have a tattoo of the word true, which represents their names, and eventually this evolves into "truer". There is a reason behind it, and I could see how that worked, but I just felt it was a bit strange. Perhaps to others that would make perfect sense though, and it is only a minor aspect of the story really.

I felt that Tyler's home life was developed well, and was a really sad element to the story. It provided food for thought that might make readers consider their blessings in life, and how lucky they really are. There is also an important lesson about drugs to be found here as well, although I felt that the same message about drinking was absent, and in fact many of the characters frequently get really drunk and engage in a lot of casual sex. The sex was not particularly gratuitous, although it was present. I found the descriptions of foreplay much more graphic, and I would have very serious reservations about letting anyone under 18 read this; this book is, for me, on the cusp of being a read that would belong on our subsidiary site for adult romances, Reading Lark After Dark. But I felt that despite skipping along the line of being a bit too adult, True would interest those who would not normally go for adult romance and might like to read New Adult. Just be aware it is definitely for readers who are already of age.  

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…


  1. I'd like to read a New Adult book for a genre challenge I'm doing, but I haven't found any I expect to be good. This sounds like a good choice though, since I've mostly been nervous about finding women characters who take too much crap given what I've heard about 50 Shades of Gray. Thanks for the helpful review!


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