Estelle: True by Erin McCarthy

True by Erin McCarthyTrue by Erin McCarthy ( tweet | web )
Publication Date: 5/7/2013
Publisher: Penguin Intermix
Pages: 238
Target audience: New adult (mature young adult)
Keywords: virginity, family problems, college
You should know: Sexual situations, drug use are involved.
Format read: eBook provided by publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: Rory has never had an easy time meeting guys but when Tyler starts to show interest she thinks things are turning around. Until she overhears that her best friends paid him to rid Rory of her virginity once and for all. Was she wrong about him? Tyler, on the other hand, is trying his hardest to get a handle on his school work, get a job, and be able to usurp his kid brothers from his druggie mom. He knows he’ll never be good enough for Rory but cannot stay away…

I went into True with a very open mind. But my mind gradually began to close as early as the first chapter when Rory is the victim of a sexual assault. Her friends do not respond by throwing this asshole out of the apartment or even genuinely consoling Rory. Instead, Tyler (her future love interest) offers her a beer and punches the asshole out because he kicked Rory. Nothing about the actions of her crowd felt emphatically appalled.

But I continued on, giving True a chance to redeem itself. I found myself very caught up in Tyler and Rory’s chemistry — the bad boy and the smart college gal; opposites attract and all that — even though Tyler has been in a friends-with-benefits situation with one of Rory’s friends. They start to help each other out in school (he’s a pro at English and she’s great at science and math) and Rory finds herself sharing inside info with him about her life that she always keeps to herself.

Just when things start to get good, Rory finds out that her best friends paid Tyler money to sleep with her. I mean — can you imagine? Is virginity THAT horrible? Is that really the best SOLUTION that Rory’s friends come up with to solve this problem? (Their thought, not mine.) Again, I was seriously questioning why Rory was friends with these girls to begin with. If they weren’t going to accept Rory’s choices, I wish that she would have at least stood up for herself. (Though, I am happy to report Rory doesn’t rush into sex after all of this pressure from her friends either.)

Even though she attempts to ignore Tyler, Rory soon finds herself caught up in him and his entire family situation: young siblings who are stuck with their druggie mother. Tyler is determined to get his associates degree, become an EMT, and take custody of his siblings away from his mother. McCarthy brings a ton of personality to the story with the introduction of Tyler’s brothers and I enjoyed their scenes so much. Tyler’s loyalty and his determination to take care of them were his most attractive qualities.

Like Tyler’s brothers, my favorite parts of True were Rory’s video chats with her dorky (yet adorable) dad and even her science nerdiness. (Reminded me of Anatomy of a Single Girl.) I wish there had been more emphasis on these details, instead of the more infuriating ones. I haven’t read a ton of new adult books yet, but I can see the “guilty pleasure” pull of it. The sex, the attraction, the drama! It’s definitely all here in True, but it’s also hard for me to ignore the very serious situations that were repeatedly swept under the rug.

Reading True was a bit like suspending reality with the added task of forgetting my own morals. For this reason, I am so curious about New Adult and its growing popularity. I don’t necessarily read romance novels for their complex plotlines or character development but, instead, to watch two characters fall in love. So I’m left to wonder what role does New Adult play in our reading lives?

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11 thoughts on “Estelle: True by Erin McCarthy

  1. Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    I’m so interested in this one even though it sounds like it may be part of the NA trend that is overshadowing the rest of the good NA stuff. I hate that it didn’t work out for you but it just makes me want to push things aside so I can check it out for myself. I swear, there are great NA books out there! Don’t give up on the genre altogether – that doggone hype and buzz about the same cookie-cutter books (that I don’t always mind when done *well*) are just making it hard for people to see the other stuff that doesn’t fit that mold.

    An example: Fight or Flight by Jamie Canosa – I’m covering this one on the blog in a few days. Issues-driven contemp, no blushing involved. Great contemp. Love your honest thoughts, as always.

  2. daphne says:

    i am a big fan of Erin McCarthy’s adult books, but i’m very wary of any New Adult books because they generally feature some kind of sexual assult, from what i understand and I want to be entertained and rape doesn’t entertain me. but i do have this from netgalley and intend to read it, but i’ll try to keep an open mind.

  3. Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide says:

    Eek, I just don’t like that whole concept of the book. I agree with you — Is being a virgin really that bad? Why do her friends feel the need to meddle? That’s not cool. And paying him to sleep with her? Isn’t that some form of prostitution? Yikes. Yeah, I think I will pass on this one! Doesn’t sound like my type of book.

  4. Alexa Y. says:

    I don’t think I have to elaborate on how I feel about this book. What you saw on Thursday was probably telling enough. (Seriously, though. Those references in the first chapter KILLED me.)

  5. Savannah says:

    I haven’t heard many nice things about this book… I’ll go ahead and use your rating as the closed door on that possibility for reading material. 🙂

  6. VeganYANerds says:

    I am already over all this New Adult, they all seem to have the same plot – bad boy, nice girl, sexual assault that is not dealt with, and too much drama.

    The plot of this one reminds me of Pushing the Limits which I strongly disliked, so I know I will be skipping this.

    Also, the friends sound awful!

  7. Christina (A Reader of Fictions) says:

    What the fuck did I just read? Her best friends PAID some guy to rape her? Is this real life? No. Just no. In Losing It, I got her best friend’s desire to help Bliss lose her virginity, but paying some dude to rape her? That’s not even close to the same thing. Ew. I am so enraged and I haven’t even read the damn book.

  8. Renae @ Respiring Thoughts says:

    Erm, yeah. That whole concept makes me super uncomfortable. Just like we shouldn’t shame girls for having romantic partners, neither should we shame them for being virgins. It’s not that hard to just be respectful, really. That concept is so problematic. It’s great that the chemistry between the characters was good, though—makes the story a bit more tolerable, at least. Hmm.

  9. Andrea @Cozy Up With A Good Read says:

    I do find that New Adult has more of a focus on sex, I’ve seen this one around a lot and haven’t really taken much of an interest. And by the sounds of it I’m kind of glad, I hate books where the character has friends that are like these girls. I don’t know anyone who would actually do something like that, if they were truly her friends they would respect her decision. Things like that really anger me. Thanks for the honest review!

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