True (True Believers #1)
Penguin Books AUS
Free on iBooks
Rory is a somewhat socially awkward 20 year old college student who shares a room with more outgoing party girls Jessica and Kylie. They’ve kind of taken Rory under their wing and they make a point to drag her out to various events, to help her experience the more fun side of campus life. As a pre-med who has a brain definitely skewed towards the scientific, Rory doesn’t often find her comfortable place in social situations. She’s never had a boyfriend, mostly because there’s never been anyone who has expressed any interest. She’s been a bit of a loner ever since her mother died when she was young, leaving her to be raised solely by her father, who is also a little awkward.
When Jessica and Kylie find out that Rory is still a virgin, they enlist the help of Tyler Mann – he’s a little older and the tattooed bad boy from the wrong side of town has definitely got the experience. The girls know he’ll treat Rory right and show her a good time for her first time. But the last thing anyone expects is for this to become anything more than just one night. Tyler has his own problems – he and his older brother are working hard towards the day when they can rescue their two younger brothers from the hell-hole that is life with their drug addict mother. He thinks that Rory is too good for him, that she’d never go for a guy like him. She’s super smart and ambitious and he’s enrolled in the course that’s most guaranteed to get him the job he desperately needs, working part time at a convenience store. But Tyler and Rory find some common ground, a connection and they’re able to talk. But their fledgling relationship is threatened when Tyler’s troubled family draws him into a mess he might not be able to get out of and Rory has to decide just what sort of future she wants: a safe, comfortable one or a possibly rocky one where it won’t be easy…but where she’ll have Tyler.
I didn’t know much about this series before I saw the first book free on iBooks – at the moment they have a whole bunch of first books in a series free and I kind of went a little mad downloading some. I do remember hearing of the most recent book in this series because it was mentioned at the Penguin showcase I went to quite a few months ago. But I didn’t know anything about it and barely even read the blurb before I got started. I picked this one because it was relatively short and I wanted to see if I could actually read a book on my phone or if the small screen would annoy me (it ended up being perfectly fine).
In some ways, True seems to follow a bit of an NA “formula” which revolves around a quiet or shy girl who often feels that she’s plain etc, meeting a popular badboy sort with tattoos and loads more life experience. There’s no denying that Rory and Tyler come from very different backgrounds. Rory is firmly middle class, her father is paying for the tuition her scholarships don’t cover and she works merely for some extra cash in the campus bookstore. Tyler on the other hand comes from a very poor background. His mother has painkiller addictions and is neglectful and thoughtless towards his two younger brothers and often physically violent towards Tyler. He and Riley, his older brother are doing the best they can to look after the two younger boys until they can set themselves up in a situation to take them away from their mother permanently. Tyler isn’t far off graduating as an EMT and being able to get a full time job, something that would help considerably when an incident occurs that threatens his entire future and therefore, that of his brothers as well.
I actually liked Tyler, because get past the tattooed manwhore exterior and he was much different to what I expected. Despite the fact that he does his best to take care of his brothers, there’s no denying that Tyler isn’t a saint. He makes mistakes but he is trying the best that he can. Although I wasn’t sure if I was going to like him because of something Jessica and Kylie tried to get him to do, the fact that he gets to know Rory and the two of them actually talk and get to know each other gave this story enough fleshing out for me to actually believe that he was interested in her. They are quite opposite – Rory is very factual, maths and science. She doesn’t understand literature at all and hates analysing texts. Tyler actually loves to read and has, in his estimation, worked his way through thousands of books via his library card (that was kind of sexy, right there!) and he seeks to help her understand some of the texts she has to read for her class. He doesn’t really get some anatomy stuff so she helps him as well and they do seem to fit together really well. Rory, despite being a bit awkward, is never uncomfortable with his brothers and she seeks to help brighten their lives as well. There is some trouble with Rory’s father and I understood where he was coming from. He had some valid points about Tyler, which would concern any parent but Rory was also right in that she was twenty and it was time for him to allow her to make her own decisions. Even if they turned out to be mistakes.
All in all I quite liked this – the second book is about Tyler’s older brother Riley and I guess it continues on the story of how they are raising their younger brothers so I definitely think I am going to read it and see where things go. Offering first books in a series for free is definitely a good way to hook readers in!
Book #196 of 2014