Title: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: September 1, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Library Loan
Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.
When I finish a book I know how I feel about it. I know that I like it or I love it or it wasn't for me or I had issues with it. Truest is a rare breed in that it has me stumped. I didn't love it but I didn't dislike it, either. There were moments that were overwhelmingly emotional and times that I had to force myself not to start skimming. I can't remember the last time I read a book that had me so conflicted.
In the summer before her senior year, Westlin is avoiding the big changes and decisions that come with graduating high school. Best friend Trudy is away for the summer. Boyfriend Elliott is busy working. Her minister father seems to have time for everyone in the community - except for his own family. Enter a new family to the small town of Green Lake - including twins Silas and Laurel.
"So the good days I swallow like grace on a spoon."West is immediately drawn to Silas even as they are forced to spend time together detailing cars. Silas seems to be a kindred spirit in many ways and his sister Laurel is an enigma. As her relationship with Silas develops, West finds herself questioning her feelings for Elliott, her father's absence at home, her faith and her future.
"I want Laurel to be happy. I want to not care if Laurel's happy."
"But she's not," I whispered.
"And I do," he added.
Truest covered many topics and touched on many subjects: relationships (both romantic and familial), mental illness, religion and faith, friendship. And for the most part I was fully invested in the story. I cared about West even when I was frustrated with her actions. My heart hurt for Silas and Laurel (view spoiler). It was when Truest veered into its philosophical debates and existential crises that I found my interest waning. The narrative seemed to come to a screeching halt each time this happened and felt bogged down where otherwise it flowed beautifully. I understand the connection to Laurel illness. And I understand that teenagers question life as much as, if not more than, adults, but I still thought it felt clunky and too esoteric and just too much.
So maybe I do know how I feel about Truest. Some parts I liked. Some parts I didn't. I enjoyed it but had issues with it. There - that wasn't so difficult.