Monday, June 19, 2017

Review & Giveaway: Be True to Me by Adele Griffin

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
It’s the summer of 1976 on Fire Island, where feathered hair and the Bicentennial celebration reign. Jean, a sometimes cruel, often insecure, and always envious rich girl, is accustomed to living in her glamorous older sister’s shadow. So when Gil Burke, a handsome newcomer with uncertain ties to one of the most powerful families in the exclusive enclave of Sunken Haven, notices Jean—not her sister—Jean is smitten. Then Fritz, a girl from outside the gilded gates who humiliated Jean in the Island’s tennis championship last year, falls for Gil herself. Soon the girls are competing for much more than a tennis trophy, with higher stakes than either of them can imagine.

Through the alternating perspectives of Jean and Fritz, Adele Griffin captures the angst of feeling like you don’t belong and the urgency of first love with masterly prose and a sharp wit perfect for fans of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars.
Review:

Be True to Me landed on my radar as soon as I saw that Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, two of my favorite YA authors, provided such positive blurbs for it. Then I saw the comparison to E. Lockhart's We Were Liars (if you haven't read this book, you must! It's deliciously twisty!). At that point it was a done deal: I was reading Be True to Me no matter what. As it turns out, Be True to Me was the perfect slow-burning summer read. A coming-of-age tale at its heart, Be True to Me is infuriating and heartbreaking yet charming and insightful.

I had a lot of mixed emotions about Jean and Fritz. They were both brazen, bold, and relentless, not afraid to risk everything to get what they wanted and craved most. They were also careless and reckless, often putting the feelings of others behind their own. From the moment Be True to Me starts, the reader is thrown into a quickly developing rivalry between Jean and Fritz. Both want Gil with all their hearts, as they're both equally convinced that he's the one for them, the boy of their dreams. Parts of me found their actions regarding Gil slightly ridiculous and immature, really who would put everything on the line for a boy they just meet? Then I remembered what first loves are like, especially when you're young and its summer. That's when it dawned on me Jean and Fritz are perfection representations of girls hopelessly in love, giddy for the ultimate romance. It struck a cord in me. I could remember being that silly and head-over-heels for some guy I had just meet in high school, and even though I never what to such drastic lengths as Fritz and Jean did,  I could relate and I'm sure many other readers can as well. In addition to Fritz and Jean, Be True to Me offers up a large cast of other characters, primarily the residents of Fire Island. I enjoyed the way Adele Griffin weaved the stories of the other characters into the plot, especially that of Tracy and her mysterious disappearance. It made the story richer and helped to establish the setting.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the setting. Adele Griffin did a great job of fleshing Fire Island out, making it and its residents come to life. I loved the descriptions of the houses with distinctive (albeit slightly ridiculous) names as well as the stores and bars the characters frequented. I often felt like I was right there. I also enjoyed the little details about 1976 that Adele threw in. It was interesting to see the climate that existed during that time. From the interest in the ballet dancer neighbor who defected from Russia to the topic of gay rights to the music of the time, Adele managed to make this time in tune with the past.

The plot of this, as hinted to above, was slow-burning, but I still managed to fly through this book within a day. The book opens up with a small snippet about one of the characters (you're not told who) lost at sea, calling out for Gil. From that moment onward, I was obsessed with knowing which character it was (Jean or Fritz) and what had happened. The majority of conflict in this novel stems from the rivalry between Jean and Fritz, and while it was infuriating at times, I could still find the story relatable, and I was on the edge of my seat, dying to know who would get Gil, and more importantly, if he'd really be worth it in the end. The ending of this novel, though, blew me away! I didn't see it coming; however, I don't think it could have been more perfect, even if it did break my heart. It was cruel, yet it managed to bring about an important message: no matter how amazing a person may be, don't let them get in the way of being the best person you can be.

Surprising, chilling, and romantic, Be True to Me is a book that I highly recommend, perfect, as the synopsis suggest, for fans of We Were Liars.

Grade: B+ 

Be True to Me (Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble) is now out!

Source: Finished copy provided by publisher - thanks Algonquin Young Readers!

Since I loved this one so much, I want to share it with one of you! Therefore, I'm putting my hardcover copy up for grabs.

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Official Giveaway Rules:

~ Must be 18 years or older or have parent's permission 
~ Must have a US mailing address 


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2 comments:

  1. I've heard such great things about this book! The cover is so pretty and it sounds like one that I would really love. So glad to hear that you loved this one. Hope you have a great weekend!

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  2. This is on my wishlist. I haven't read We Were Liars either but it's also on my list!
    Dianna

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