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Review: True

June 4, 2013

Title: True
Author: Erin McCarthy
Publisher: Penguin USA
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Format: eGalley

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…—via Goodreads

True is one of those books that I enjoyed reading, but also wanted to punch for time to time.

 There are some great things going on here and a lot to enjoy.


What I didn’t enjoy is that the main character, Rory’s, best friends/roommates decide that all she needs to break out of her introverted shell is to have sex. I mean, I understand thinking that or talking about it amongst yourselves, but these girls decide that the thing to do is to pay a guy to have sex with her.


As if that isn’t bad enough, what is far more egregious is that on the night that Rory is sexually assaulted (this isn’t a spoiler, promise) THEY DON’T GO BACK TO THE DORM WITH HER. At this point Rory should have been like YOU ARE THE WORST FRIENDS EVER, WE ARE NEVER EVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER. Because JESUS.

Okay. Now that that is over with, let’s talk about the good stuff, shall we?

The strength of True is the author, Erin McCarthy’s, understanding of socio-economics and the role they play in romantic relationships. Rory is a smart, if sheltered, college student who wants to be a coroner. She comes from an upper-middle class family and lost her mom at an early age, so she was primarily raised by her introverted father. But, Rory is kind and open-minded, so she’s not really one to judge. Now, it turns out that the guy her awful friends hired to sex her up is Tyler, a tattooed and penis pierced (I don’t know why this is a thing. I just. Whatever.) bad boy from an impoverished and unstable family. His mother is addicted to pain medication and he and his brothers come from different fathers. While Tyler has a don’t-mess-with-me exterior, he cares deeply about his brothers and wants to take care of them.

Of course, he and Rory get together in all their star-crossed lover glory. Rory loves Tyler’s commitment to his family and she genuinely cares about his brothers. When she learns that they most likely won’t have a Thanksgiving, she invites them to her house.

This is where True shines. Rory’s father’s reaction to Tyler and his brothers is incredibly realistic and believable, as is Rory’s reaction to her father’s reaction. It’s the moment of a father recognizing that he can’t dictate his daughter’s life anymore, but desperately wanting to, and a daughter standing up for herself and her decisions, but still trying to respect her father’s wishes. It’s a gorgeous moment that everyone, at some point, goes through growing up and McCarthy does an excellent job navigating those emotions.

Overall, True is a quick, emotional read that explores the ups and downs of a passionate, but difficult relationship in a way that is unflinchingly realistic. Though I didn’t love the reason why Rory and Tyler met, I did love getting to know these characters. If you’re looking for something that is romantic and passionate, but also true to life, definitely consider True.


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