Let me start off by telling you that this book isn’t your typical “girl meets boy over summer vacation, girl falls in love with boy, problems arise, problems resolve, everyone lives happily every after” young adult novel. This book is one of those rare gems that, while having a summer romance present, is able to not only pull it off, but show off a pretty fantastic plot line surrounding the romance. Let me explain.
The romance in this book doesn’t take center stage. Rather, it shares the stage with other aspects of the novel, including friendship, family matters, and dealing with a mental illness that isn’t something you hear talked about in YA often…or, well, ever.
The main character in this book’s name is West, and she’s the daughter of the town’s pastor. Her family is pretty close, but West always feels like her father puts everyone else in the town before their family. For example, he will get up during dinner or family game night and go out when someone calls on him, and West feels like he is never around so she can talk to him. She tries to be understanding, since he is the pastor and all, but she just feels neglected, and feeling neglected by a parent isn’t anything a teenager wants to feel. Her boyfriend, Elliot, is busy working a job to buy his own car, and when he isn’t working, he’s either with his friends or working out, which leaves West to feel a bit neglected by him, as well. And did I mention that her best friend Tru is off at summer camp, and barely responds to her texts or calls? When it comes down to it, West feels alone, and she doesn’t look forward to spending her whole summer feeling this way.
So, when she is introduced to the new boy, Silas, and it is arranged for him to help her with her car detailing business over the summer, she is somewhat unsure of how she feels about it (especially considering how distant he seemed toward her). On one hand, she is dreading it (since her usual business partner is Tru, who is away), but on the other hand, she’s kind of intrigued and looking forward to actually having someone to talk to for the summer. As West and Silas get to know one another, their relationship blossoms, and West is left trying to figure out how she should handle the situation between her, Silas, and Elliot (who is jealous of the amount of time she is spending with Silas). When West meets Silas’s twin sister, Laurel, who is hiding a mysterious illness, she learns about the bond between Silas and Laural, and the three of them develop a friendship that gives the summer a whole new outlook.
I’m trying hard not to spoil the secret that Laurel and her family are keeping – what her illness is. It’s not like anything else I’ve read about, so I found it completely interesting that the author chose what she did. I was very impressed with the writing, and West and Silas’s characters develop so beautifully by the end of the book. The ending isn’t predictable, and I was absolutely shocked at the events that occur near the ending of the book.
Truest is a beautiful book that will keep you completely captivated to the end. While it wraps up nicely at the end, it left me wanting more (and more tissues). It is honestly hard to believe that this book is the first novel that this author has written, it is so well done. West’s character felt real, as did Silas’s character, and Laurel’s character. The romance in the book is something that can easily be related to, and the struggles that West faces are things that are deep and meaningful – no shallow teenage girl drama here. If you read this book, make sure you have a huge chunk of time on your hands, because you aren’t going to want to put it down!
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.