Monday, May 6, 2013

True by Erin McCarthy

AUTHOR: Erin McCarthey
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Intermix/May 7, 2013
SOURCE: For Review from Publisher via Netgalley
SERIES: A companion book is due out

Goodreads / Author's Website

New adult is a new genre and it really doesn't have a great reputation. Basically the stereotype is YA but with more tropes and sex. Now I think that this is an unfortunate reputation because I've enjoyed a few of the new adult books I've read; they've been edgy and have dealt with real issues that people in that age group faced. However, they can't all be great and unfortunately Erin McCarthy's True fell short for me.

Rory Macintosh is kind of an all round good girl. She's in university studying to be a mortician; she actually likes to study and she's a virgin. When her roommates find out that she's a virgin they pay off Tyler Mann, the school's bad boy, to sleep with her to boost her confidence. Tyler's constantly aware that he's not up to Rory's standards, but he can't help but fall for her. They get caught up in a relationship. However, Tyler's super dysfunctional past threatens to break them apart.

I know my summary for this book sounds kind of generic, but that's kind of what I thought about the book. Generic. Like it hit all the major new adult topics, but didn't do anything new or unique with them. I'm okay with tropes as long as it's a well done trope. I'm a sucker for romantic comedies, but hate it when they go wrong. True kind of felt like one gone wrong. Everything I enjoy in a book was there, but it felt like I had read it all before.

Let's start off with the whole good girl/bad boy thing. It's been done time and time again. Sometimes an author brings something new to the story, creates a character who is so entirely believable or intriguing that it doesn't matter, but both Rory and Tyler felt like a shadow of the very best star crossed lovers.

The writing was also a little off putting. The best books have me forgetting that I'm reading a book and I can be thoroughly engaged with the characters, but True had moments that just pulled me out of the experience. The dialogue especially felt stilted. It sounded like a sitcom version of how university students talk, slang that just didn't quite sit right and reactions that were just a little too much (or at times not enough). It was just all a little off.

And okay, moving onto other things that are a little off about this book. The female friendships. All they ever talk about is guys. Yes, this is a romance. Yes, it makes sense to talk about guys, but how is that all they talk about. These three roommates are supposed to be best friends, but they never really talk about anything real. Their families aren't discussed, their morals, the fact that two paid off a guy to sleep with the third, like nothing. I didn't get the sense that they were really friends which was disappointing.

Also, I have a gripe with this genre in general and it may include a brief spoiler for the very beginning of the book. You've been warned. Like so many other books that I've read, True begins with an attempted rape. I appreciate that rape/date rape is being addressed because it's an issue close to my heart, but I feel like it's starting to be used as a shortcut. The girl is in grave danger, the boy saves her from grave danger, they fall in love. There are absolutely books where sexual assault is treated seriously and I really appreciate that those books are being written; I just don't like to see the issue almost glossed over after the incident is over.

Okay, I know this review reads as a bit of a rant (well for me at least), but I didn't hate this book. I enjoyed the romance and even some of the things that bothered me (the good girl/bad boy thing) didn't totally ruin this book for me. It was a fun book to read and a good way to pass a few hours. I think it had potential to be more though. It's not going to turn me off of "new adult," but it's not my favourite of the genre either.

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