True Story is Undeniably One of the Best Novels of the Year | Review: True Story by Kate Reed Petty

6:30 AM

This story tackles a lot of heavy subject matter, jumps between genres, and gets under your skin in a similar way to My Dark Vanessa. (Although, these stories aren't the same. It's just a similar feeling and exploration.)


True Story 
by Kate Reed Petty

A propulsive, dazzlingly original novel about the fifteen-year fallout from a poisonous high school rumor, exploring how stories from the past can come to define who we are.

A gifted and reclusive ghostwriter, Alice Lovett makes a living helping other people tell their stories. But she is haunted by the one story she cannot tell: the story of, as she puts it, "the things that happened while I was asleep."

Back in 1999, Nick Brothers and his high school lacrosse team return for their senior year in a well-to-do Baltimore suburb as the reigning state champs. The afterglow of their big win is bound to last until graduation; not even the pressure of college applications can get in the way of their fun. But when a private school girl attempts suicide in the wake of one of the team's "legendary" parties, and a rumor begins to circulate that two of Nick's teammates sexually assaulted her, it seems like it might ruin everything--until the team circles the wagons, casts doubt on the story, and the town moves on.

But not everyone does. Fifteen years later, four people--Alice, Nick, a documentary filmmaker, and a wealthy entrepreneur--remain haunted by the roles they played, the things they still don't understand, and how the story has shaped their lives. In sections told from different points of view, each more propulsive than the last, the layers of mystery are gradually peeled back as we barrel toward the truth of what really happened that night . . . and what came after. At once a compulsive page-turner and a thought-provoking exploration of issues both timely and timeless, True Story marks the debut of a phenomenal new voice in fiction.


True Story by Kate Reed Petty
Rating: ★★★

 As always, a copy of this book was provided by the author or publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

True Story is a truly breathtaking, chilling and compelling debut. Whatever I had initially expected it to be, it was NOT. My stomach felt like it permanently dropped at times with this one in the best way possible. True Story had my heart-racing in a subtly curious and concerned way. I couldn't look away, even in the moments where I desperately wanted to.

Explaining this book would be complicated. I don't know that it's fully possible to do so without spoilers, so this review may be on the shorter side. Mostly, I feel strongly that True Story needs to be jumped into blindly.  Well. Minus trigger-warnings. There is a lot of heaviness to it, and you should definitely look into triggers to be on the safe side.

So, I guess what I mean to say is: if very little triggers you, jump into this book blindly. If you have a harder time stomaching certainly topics, True Story won't be for you and that's okay. Always look out for yourself above fiction.

That being said: holy hell, my brain is a mess of emotions. True Story thrilled and chilled me straight to my bones. This is a story I won't soon forget and I'm honestly in awe over it.

True Story is twisty, dark, and electric. It surprised me on multiple occasions just how much my opinion on the story would shift. Due to its complexities and unreliable characters, my head is still spinning. I'm having difficulty forming words. In some ways, reading it felt like those moments in the early morning before I put on my glasses: everything flickers into focus. Slowly, those blurred edges form a specific shape.

If you can take away only one coherent thought from my review, it's this: True Story left me feeling hazy, shocked, on edge and completely consumed with my own thoughts. It spun me around about a hundred times, only to stop abruptly and leave me with my jaw on the ground. True Story was an intense, addictive novel and felt like there was constantly something burrowing into the back of my mind.
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