True - Erin McCarthy

I opened up True after a run of PNR/Dystopia, when I really needed a switch of content, hoping for something light-hearted with ‘normal’ circumstances blocking the characters’ paths to their goals, and journeys rather than death-defying experiences and inhuman fight scenes.

And True delivered. In a sweet, realistic and fun-yet-emotional way.

Rory, I loved from the off as MC. She’s believable, and relatable. Too often in these YA/NA books, the MC puts themselves down and believes they have nothing to offer because they’re too fat or too frumpy or nowhere near as attractive as every other girl on campus. True did have the comparisons to Rory’s GFs, but without the lack of self-worth, and I appreciated this, because whilst readers may complain about this line of thinking from the MC, they also want that believability, and this is believable. Every single young girl out there compares herself to others—to her friends, to new people she meets, to pretty much everyone (heck, even as adults we still don’t necessarily quit)—and this really does apply to every girl. No matter how good looking or slim or big-boobed they might be. They still do it. Even the ones who hold themselves in an arrogant high regard have done this in order to convince themselves they’re better than everyone else—the only difference is that they twist what others would see, in those around them, as beauty into faults to promote their own egos. So, I guess the short version of what I’m trying to say is: although this kind of content can become quite tedious with how much we see it in YA/NA books, Ms McCarthy handled it so well, it didn’t come across as same-old-same-old.

Okay, still on Rory. I loved her family setup, and felt the weaving of details that helped us to understand her backstory was done incredibly well. I loved her relationship she had with her dad, and even enjoyed his later behaviour in the book as well as earlier on, because whilst as a reader who’d grown to love Tyler I wanted to yell at him through my Kindle for his attitude, as a parent, I totally ‘got’ where he was coming from—and that helped add credibility to the story. Even Rory’s relationship with her step-mother was great. And so refreshing. I get a little sick of kiddies weary relationships with their parents new partners, and so I appreciated greatly that this book didn’t go there.

P.S. I LOVED Rory’s name.

Okay, onto Tyler. At first, I wasn’t sure. I’m not a big fan of share-and share-alike—especially not when it comes to my guys. So, I just couldn’t see him as being right for Rory when our first introduction to him is knowing he’s behind a closed door humping Rory’s roommate/friend, and is in fact her regular f*** buddy. Though, he’s slightly better received when he makes an actual appearance VERY quickly after and shows high respect for females as well as toughness.

Though, still, Tyler had to earn his place in my reader-heart, and earn it he did.

Because, alongside Rory, the more time she spends with him, the more we get to understand the convoluted-ness of Tyler. He’s strong, and caring, and tender, and loyal, and seriously, just an all round GREAT guy. So, I’d definitely fallen for this sweet dude by the finish. And I ‘felt’ for him as much as I did for Rory when things took a wrong turn and suddenly weren’t going so great, and we barely even got to ‘see’ him during that episode either, so kudos to the author for that.

As for the plot, I don’t want to spoil it, but just know that Tyler’s toughness and loyalty and yada-yada is a big leading factor in what drives him, and ends up being a huge contribution for why Rory (and the reader) falls for him, and is ultimately what has us softies rooting for everything to come good for them in the end.

All in all, this was a VERY welcome read, with heart, and emotion, and turmoil, and love, with a great story to drive it forward rather than relying on the heat levels, and I would definitely read more by this new-to-me-author.