Truest – Jackie Lea Sommers – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 1 September 2015
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.
I initially picked this book up because of the cover. That gorgeous, beautiful cover that only gets more beautiful and more meaningful with every page I read. This is an outstanding debut, charming, funny, unbelievably moving and a deep sort of soul searching.
Westlin’s summer isn’t going as planned. Her boyfriend is working, her best friend is away at camp and her pastor father has roped her into letting the moody new boy in town, Silas Hart, be her business partner. But what starts as a forced arrangement soon becomes a strong friendship. West and Silas share a love of literature and poetry, wondering and challenging and thinking. But Silas and his family are keeping a secret – something’s wrong with Silas’ sister Laurel and no one is saying what. As West spends ever increasing amounts of time with Silas and Laurel she learns the Hart’s secret, and soon this summer is set to change her life.
Truest is not just another easy summer read. It covers topics of existence, choosing what to believe in, family – their absence and presence, poetry, history, friendship and love, and yet also manages to still feel hopeful. The writing style really is beautiful, with artfully constructed and flowing sentences. I loved Westlin. The story is written in first person through her point of view and she makes a great storyteller. She struggles with faith, with coping with an absent father, and with doing the ‘right’ thing. Meeting and getting to know Silas changes the way she thinks about life and what she believes in.
If you’re like me you will straight away pick up on some key points in the synopsis – Westlin has a boyfriend and there is a new boy in town with whom she develops a strong friendship. You could assume that the book results in a love-triangle, and you would be right – sort of. And yet not. Because this book never once feels like a book with a love triangle in it. It is nothing like the books with love triangles that have given love triangles such a bad rep. You know what? These characters are teenagers. It’s okay for them to fall in love, to realise what love actually feels like – and what it doesn’t. Westlin does have to make a decision but she does so fairly. She sorts it out conscientiously.
This book was moving in a completely unexpected way, it just sort of hit me out of nowhere. If you are looking for a novel with depth, power and beauty, then Truest is the book for you.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Romance. Family. Siblings. Mental health.
Age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Mature themes regarding death. Coarse language, f***, sh**. Sexual references and content.
Published: 1 September 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 384 pages.