When you hit rock bottom the only way is up… and it doesn’t help that he’s stacked!
Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT
No. of pages: 258
Truman L. Cobbler has not had an easy life. It’s bad enough people say he looks like Donkey from Shrek, but he’s also suffered the death of his policeman father and his mother’s remarriage to a professional swindler, who cost them everything. Now dirt poor, they live in the barrio of San Antonio, Texas. When Tru transfers to an inner-city high school halfway through his senior year, he meets Javi Castillo, a popular and hot high school jock. Javi takes an immediate liking to Tru, and the two become friends. The odd pairing, however, rocks the school and sets the cliquish social circles askew. No one knows how to act or what to think when Mr. Popular takes a stand for Mr. Donkey. Will the cliques rise up to maintain status quo and lead Tru and Javi to heartbreak and disaster or will being true to who they are rule the day?
‘Being True’ has been an amazing little find, even though it embraces many GLBT and contemporary tropes, it managed to steal my heart.
One particular aspect dominating the YA genre at present that makes me cringe – that being the popular jock falling for the outcast, though it managed to win me over in this book with its subtle variations and humour. I’m not that much of a prude, I do like reading about a hunky man with ripped abs, but I like finding a diamond in the rough even better. With a narrative that drags out all the feels, this book has become one of my guilty pleasures. But what is it that had me so hooked on ‘Being True?’
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first – the parts that annoyed me included where the narration delved into erotica (there wasn’t a great deal, but I don’t feel like it added that much to the story and the only reason it was included was for titillation. I like my naughty bits to be romantic and mean something, otherwise it just feels cheap and pulls me out of the narrative. There was some swearing, which felt unnecessary, it didn’t ring true to the characters or the style of the novel, and being YA, felt it could have been used in a way typical to youth culture or for impact of a certain event. (Gee, I’m sounding distinctly Nanna-ish) Lastly, as already hinted, the beginning felt stereotypical and cliché that had me rolling my eyes… but sometimes for good reasons.
The rest of the novel was pretty awesome. I laughed a lot, I cried a lot. It was a ride. It’s been a while since a book has done this to me. So much so I stayed up late to finish it in one sitting.
Tru and Javi are adorable. Most of what they live through is not. Their family and friends are amazing on the most part, and it was great to see a support structure and realistic relationships. I’m pretty colour blind when it comes to reading, I’m in a mixed race relationship myself, but it was a breath of fresh air to have a Hispanic character as one of the leads (the popular one to boot).
A very predictable contemporary, but uplifting and unrelenting with its theme of being true to oneself.
I need to recommend and commend this book solely on the amount it made me feel and how much I had invested in Tru and Javi. It has the soul of a romance, but a conscious of a hero.
Overall feeling: So adorable beware of exploding hearts!
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