Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I’ve never liked Tom Cruise. He always reminded me of someone’s creepy cousin, who smiles too big before he touches your butt and whispers something gross in your ear with hot whiskey on his breath.”
College sophomore Rory Macintosh has brains and beauty but the social intricacies that most of us take for granted, eludes her. When her roommates find out Rory is still a virgin, they approach local bad boy hottie, Tyler Mann, to help rectify this situation. All without Rory knowing.
When Tyler Mann first meets Rory, he knows that this girl could be his everything, but he feels he has nothing to offer her. She’s pre-med and he’s going for his EMT certification. Her family is like Leave It Beaver and his is a Jerry Springer episode. But he can’t resist getting to know her better and soon her honesty and unusual way of looking at life keeps him coming back for more.
As Rory and Tyler slip easily from friendship to lovers, Tyler’s family finally hits rock bottom and Tyler has to make a choice. Does he stay with the best thing that’s ever happened to him and see what happens? Or does he cut all ties and and let the love of his life go?
True is a sweet, romantic, dynamic coming of age new adult that takes a much needed detour from the usual emotionally draining, overly dramatic offerings that we’ve been inundated with recently. Crisp writing and a smooth flowing story line makes it incredibly easy to become fully invested in this book. Heavily character driven, we are instantly smitten with our hero and heroine from first meeting. Though the story revolves around a common trope-innocent virgin meets tattooed bad boy-the similarities end there. Rory, our heroine, is no shrinking wallflower. She’s not at college, wandering around like a lost puppy, lamenting the fact her bff’s are stunning goddesses and she’s still a virgin. Everything is approached logically. She is strong, intelligent, loyal, and slap in the face honest. She also has a dry snarky humor that sneaks up on you.
“Do you you have a purity ring or whatever?”
Now that I was in and the beer had loosened my tongue, I said the first thing that came into my head. “I prefer to call it my hymen.”
I also loved her internal dialogues. She humorously dissects and rebuilds conversations and situations so she can better understand them. She’s a scientist through and through.
Tyler, our hero, may look the part with his good looks, emotional distance, and interesting body art, but his actions show you how wrong first impressions can be. He has a lot of responsibility for a 22 year old. His mother is a drug addict and he and his older brother take care of their younger brothers and keep them safe from their mother’s drug fueled rages. He’s a complicated man whose compassionate nature is compelling. When he meets Rory, he sees an interesting girl who can do complicated mathematics in her head but can’t understand the story line from A Streetcar Named Desire. He sees the real Rory.
McCarthy slowly builds the romance between Rory and Tyler, letting them become friends first and then naturally crossing the line into lovers. She uses their personalities and personal lives to show us that even with their much different backgrounds, they are more similar than we first imagine. Though the romance remains a heavy part of the storyline, McCarthy intertwines it with the plotlines, using them to further elevate the romance and guide it along the path to love.
As Tyler begins to let Rory into his private life, she realises that he is even more remarkable and complicated than she first thought. THIS was the appeal of the story for me. How adaptable Rory was when faced with adversity or difficult situations. In fact, both she and Tyler were remarkable in this aspect. No heavy dramatics or theatrics. No game playing. They both communicated their feelings; letting us and each other know how they felt and what they wanted. Character development is at a premium as we watch Rory grow and become more comfortable socially without giving up the basic qualities that made her so delightful. I liked that she didn’t feel she had to change in any way to appeal to Tyler and I also liked that he felt the same way.
“Our relationship felt like a Christmas gift that you hadn’t asked for and weren’t expecting to receive, but the minute you saw it, you knew it was perfect for you.”
Tyler and Rory’s friends and family add depth, humor, and realism to the story. Though I wasn’t on board with the whole “friends hire someone to take Rory’s virginity”, Jessica and Ellie prove it wasn’t done out of meanness. They are her bff’s and truly care about her. They both have a healthy outlook on life for college students and they provide much laughter in the story.
“A kiss isn’t a promise of pussy.”
I look forward to reading their stories in the future. (Jessica’s is next). Rory’s dad is an adorable dork (as Rory calls him) who has a very hard time acknowledging Rory is growing up. He too is a logical man though balanced by his completely opposite girlfriend Susan. Susan is a great buffer between Rory and her dad, and I like how McCarthy uses her to reinforce how perfect Rory and Tyler can be together. The birth control conversation between Susan and Rory had me howling. Tyler’s family dynamics or should I say dramatics play a huge part in the story and I loved the interaction between them all. What was especially bitter sweet was the obvious struggle Tyler faced between hating and loving his mom.
Overall, McCarthy has written a new adult love story that takes us on a journey filled with love, laughter, growth, and a bit of angst to led us to a sweet if not abrupt HEA. I look forward to reading book two, title and release date to be announced.
Overall Rating: B+