by Jackie Lea Sommers


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A breathtaking debut brings us the unforgettable story of a small-town love, big dreams, and family drama.

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand-new to town, Silas is different from the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening—and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister—and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers. Perfect for fans of The Fault in Our Stars and Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062348258
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 820,666
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jackie Lea Sommers lives and writes in Minnesota, where the people are nice and the o's are long. Like West, Jackie grew up in a small town with few secrets, but now she makes her home in the Twin Cities, where she lives more anonymously with all her book boyfriends. She is the 2013 winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult Writing. Truest is her first novel.

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Truest 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i have read in a very long time. Wow! I laughed as well as cried
THHernandez More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite young adult stories of the year. This unique, captivating tale of teens searching for who they are and where they fit into the greater world around them has something nearly everyone can identify with. Westlin Beck is a small-town preacher's daughter who doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. The summer before senior year, her best friend is off working at a summer camp and her long-term boyfriend, Elliot, is working his tail off at the farm to earn enough money to buy a car, leaving West lonely and bored. She has her own car detailing business and when a new family moves to town, including teenage twins Silas and Laurel, West's dad enlists Silas's help for the detailing business. Truest is an honest portrayal of the complexities of teen love. There are no cliched love triangles here. Only the ebbing and flowing of emotions as two people realize they have more in common with each other than anyone else, even if one of those people is already in a relationship with someone else Plot The plot is multi-faceted, taking on a number of topics, from teen love, to mental illness, parental relationships, breaking free, and finding your place in the world. All these pieces are woven together beautifully, with a golden thread of truth binding them. It's hard to do justice to the plot, because it's so much more than just a romance, just a coming of age, or just a story of mental illness. It's about teens grappling with the life they've been dealt to the best of their abilities, and searching for meaning in the midst. Characters Every character, from West and Silas, to Elliott, Laurel and Whit, are thoroughly developed and come alive between the pages. Not one character comes across as cliche'd, not even Westlin as the rebellious preacher's daughter, because there is so much more to her than that. She doesn't rebel for attention or for the sake of rebellion, but as a way to find herself in the only way she knows how. Elliott, as the scorned boyfriend, is far more three-dimensional than is necessary for his character, but that just adds to the realism of the story as a whole. Writing The writing is magnificent and fluid, pulling me along on a wandering journey, making me want to lie back and see where the current takes me. Ending I wasn't sure about the ending at first, but the more time and distance between finishing the book and writing the review, the more I realize it was the absolute perfect ending to fit the themes of the story. What I Loved About Truest 1. Attention to detail. The author spends a great deal of time bringing us into the story and not just through scene setting, but by getting us into her character's. Although the story is told through West's point of view, I never felt as if the other characters were just there to support West's story -- they all serve a purpose. 2. Organic growth. The honest portrayal of teens is a slice of fresh air. Teens rarely fall in love for life with the person they're dating in high school, regardless of how popular much of young adult fiction makes it seem otherwise. When West began developing feelings for Silas, they came naturally and felt real, not forced to fulfil a plot point, nor did I lose respect for her. She struggled the way an ordinary teen in a similar situation did without over-dramatization. 3. The reality of mental illness. I'd never heard of solipsism before reading Truest, and my guess is most people haven't either. The honesty with which th
RoxyKade More than 1 year ago
This was a spectacular debut read from an author I hope to see plenty more from. A harrowing, heartrending story of love, friendship and tragedy, that left me shattered but hopeful at the same time. The characters drew me in and captured my heart. West was sassy but sweet, and I took an instant liking to her. The struggles she faced took me back to my younger years and I couldn't help feeling a thrill as she found herself falling for Silas. It certainly made her life more complex, but I'm glad that these teens were able to own up to their feelings and to sort things out in a very mature manner. Laurel's condition was intriguing, something I've never heard of before, and she was a mystery from the very first moment West and her dad went to visit the Hart household. This story flowed right off the pages and was in no way predictable. My heart shattered a million times over as devastation hit the small town of Green Lake, and I wished to reach in and give Silas and West the biggest hug ever. This is a definite must read. It will reach in and tug your heart from your chest. It was beautiful in every way, a true pleasure, that was enjoyed from start to finish.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
I wanted to read Truest because I liked the sound of the dynamics between the characters, and especially the hinting at Silas's sister's secret. He sounded like a character that I would like too, eccentric, charming, and a fit for West that she didn't know she needed. Their friendship started out antagonistic, he was in a mood and West's pastor dad threw them together since West needed help detailing cars, her summer job. One that she used to do with her best friend, who is off to camp. Silas was moody, and cryptic, though there was an underlying chemistry and tension there from the beginning. Even though West has a boyfriend. One who seemed really sweet, and like he cared for her. But Elliot, the boyfriend is beyond busy, working for his dad, and practicing for football. Silas is lonely, feeling like her dad is too busy for her with his parishioners and in bed with migraines the rest of the time from working too hard. So on top of her best friend and boyfriend not having time for her, when Silas asks to hang out after work, she accepts. Their conversations are weighty and intense at times, and then others, they laugh together. They share interests in books, and her radio program, things that Elliot has no interest in. So of course, I was a little upset because her heart got more and more into the friendship with Silas, and it felt like cheating. Elliot was jealous, and he wasn't unjustified. But I think that it took so long for West to admit her real feelings, and their depth. I also liked getting to know Silas' sister. She definitely had a secret/problem that I have never encountered before. But I like that West just accepted her like she was, and tried to help her when that secret caused disruptions, and problems for Lauren. The last half was really complicated and messy and I saw one of the things coming, although I wish that it were different just because it breaks my heart. I wish that everyone could find the mental health person that will fight for them when they can't. I feel like I have found someone that is okay, but times I wish they could see through the walls I put up, and dig a little deeper. But the way the storyline was set up, and being informed in some things mental health, I saw the sad signs. The rest of the plots though managed to turn hopeful in some ways. All of the characters and relationships whether family, friends, or romance is really tested and stretched, and I was glad of those things. There weren't any easy resolutions, and I appreciate that because it feels realistic. But it still managed to bring the themes together, and get the characters on the road to realization, growth, and continuing to live their life, and fight for those around them while facing that life will always have something hard to face, and things that aren't easy, people are messy and complicated, but worth it. Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free. Bottom Line: Complicated characters and emotional situations.
KateElizabeth More than 1 year ago
A poetic love story filled with humor and heartbreak. I couldn't put it down.
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
West is beyond aggravated with her busy Pastor father’s life, and she’s starting to resent him for all of the time he spends away from the family. West and her boyfriend, Eliott, have been together for so long that it just seems their relationship is the “right” thing to do… but Eliott takes on a summer job with his father, and because of this he is never around to spend time with her either. West is feeling neglected by people that supposedly care about her, but she doesn’t mope about it for long. Let’s just say West finds other people to spend her time with… namely the new siblings in town, Silas and his sister Laurel. The friendship between West, Silas and Laurel starts off slowly at first… but before she knows it, she really cares about these twins. But she soon finds out that being their friend may be more trouble than it’s worth. This story surprised me in quite a few ways. I felt at first like I simply didn’t know these characters enough. I was looking at them through a clouded lens and I couldn’t see past their exteriors. As the story progressed though, these characters came right to life, proving that my initial impressions were no more. Around the halfway point I started feeling like a person friends to this group of friends. Though I didn’t necessary like everything about them and all of the choices they made, they were REAL teenagers, imperfections and all… and I love that! West, Silas and Laurel, as I mentioned, did start to really grow on me… but my very favorite character by far was Gordon. Oh, Gordon… how I loved him so. Gordon is a friend of West family and he really brought this story to a whole new level. He’s an elderly man who happens to be blind and sees the world through a whole new light. He has shelves and shelves of books that he can’t read, but that he refuses to part with. He gives the BEST advice to West, and eventually Silas, and always provides an ear when needed. The visits to Gordon always made me smile. It’s the secondary characters that so often bring a story to a whole new level for me… and Gordon was that character in Truest. As it hints to in the synopsis, this can be considered to have a bit of a love triangle. I hate to call it that though since it’s not really a love triangle… but more of West being confused by her feelings for two separate guys. This book also contains a tiny bit of cheating between two of the characters, which also may cause others to shy away from it. Looking for more details regarding these issues? View Spoiler » Truest is the story of young love, family, friendships, mental illness, and struggling with life’s changes. This book had so much to show that once the story got going I really enjoyed it. I honestly thought about putting this book aside in the beginning when it didn’t seem like much was happening… but I’m so happy I decided to stick with it, since it really came around and got so good in the second half. This is a sweet and impacting debut from a new author I will be sure to watch out for. Another great YA contemporary read to add to your list this year.
Madison-s_Library More than 1 year ago
I initially picked this book up because of the cover. That gorgeous, beautiful cover that only gets more beautiful and more meaningful with every page I read. This is an outstanding debut, charming, funny, unbelievably moving and a deep sort of soul searching. Westlin's summer isn't going as planned. Her boyfriend is working, her best friend is away at camp and her pastor father has roped her into letting the moody new boy in town, Silas Hart, be her business partner. But what starts as a forced arrangement soon becomes a strong friendship. West and Silas share a love of literature and poetry, wondering and challenging and thinking. But Silas and his family are keeping a secret - something's wrong with Silas' sister Laurel and no one is saying what. As West spends ever increasing amounts of time with Silas and Laurel she learns the Hart's secret, and soon this summer is set to change her life. Truest is not just another easy summer read. It covers topics of existence, choosing what to believe in, family - their absence and presence, poetry, history, friendship and love, and yet also manages to still feel hopeful. The writing style really is beautiful, with artfully constructed and flowing sentences. I loved Westlin. The story is written in first person through her point of view and she makes a great storyteller. She struggles with faith, with coping with an absent father, and with doing the 'right' thing. Meeting and getting to know Silas changes the way she thinks about life and what she believes in. If you're like me you will straight away pick up on some key points in the synopsis - Westlin has a boyfriend and there is a new boy in town with whom she develops a strong friendship. You could assume that the book results in a love-triangle, and you would be right - sort of. And yet not. Because this book never once feels like a book with a love triangle in it. It is nothing like the books with love triangles that have given love triangles such a bad rep. You know what? These characters are teenagers. It's okay for them to fall in love, to realise what love actually feels like - and what it doesn't. Westlin does have to make a decision but she does so fairly. She sorts it out conscientiously. This book was moving in a completely unexpected way, it just sort of hit me out of nowhere. If you are looking for a novel with depth, power and beauty, then Truest is the book for you. The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When Silas Hart and his mysterious sister move to the tiny Minnesota town of Green Lake, they change everything for Westlin Beck — the pastor’s daughter, who is on her own kind of search. Published by HarperCollins Publishers (and not by any of their “Christian” imprints or subsidiaries), this was the most deeply and poignantly Christian YA book I’ve ever read. The sweet and confused teenage characters drink, swear, and make all kinds of mistakes…but they are on a very real and honest spiritual quest — proving that a squeaky-clean code of morality and an encounter with God are not necessarily as tied together as evangelical Christianity has made them out to be. A beautiful debut from a great new author. Buy it.