Wednesday 20 July 2016

Review on Tell Us Something True

After River Dean's girlfriend breaks up with him, he comes across a support group for teenagers with a range of different problems. However, once he realises the others problems range from drug addiction to bulemia, he tells everyone a fake story about being addicted to marijuana. When he asks Daphne, a girl from the support group to be his date to the school dance, the lies become more ellaborate and more difficult to keep. River must decide if he is going to keep up the lies, or if he is finally going to tell the truth

This book was a nice and short contemporary that I easily managed to read in a couple of days. It follows River Dean, a boy who has just been dumped by his girlfriend and tries to seek help from a support group. However he soon realises that the other group members have much bigger problems than he does. I loved River's slow realisation that getting dumped wasn't the end of the world and he could have much bigger problems. He soon meets Daphne, a girl who is addicted to shoplifting. I loved the reasons behind why Daphne shoplifted, and getting to learn about her personal struggles. River's character development was really interesting, and I loved that he went from showing up at his ex girlfriend Penny's house uninvited and relying on her to drive him around the city to getting over her and getting his drivers license.

As it would be really ironic to lie and pretend that I liked this book more than I did, I must tell something true myself and explain the reasons behind why I am only going to be giving this book a three star rating. I felt that there were some great opportunities to focus on some important topics that were pushed aside in favour of a typical teen romance. I thought that Christopher was an interesting character, and I loved that his drug addiction was seen as a serious problem that he had decided to get help for rather than the typical outlook of teens thinking taking drugs is cool. I thought this would be an amazing opportunity for the author to show that teenagers can get help for drug related problems. However I was disappointed that this was barely even a subplot, and we never actually find out if Christopher stops taking drugs, or if Mason recovers from his bulemia. I felt as if this was a wasted opportunity to show an important message. Instead the main plot focuses on a typical teen romance, and we learn nothing about Christopher's drug addiction or his life in general.

River's obsession with Penny made me feel uncomfortable, as instead of respecting her decisions, he keeps showing up at her house uninvited, trying to make her feel guilty enough to take him back, which clearly puts her into an uncomfortable situation. I also hated that despite Penny being a teenager, River says that she is a prude because they had never had sex. River quickly moves on from one girl to the next, which I thought was a bad decision, as it showed that he needed to be in a romantic relationship to be happy. I felt as if it would have sent out a better message to the reader if River had remained single and tried to help Daphne, Christopher and Mason with their more serious problems instead of trying to date Daphne.

This book was very predictable, and I figured out the main plot twist about a quarter of the way into the book even though it wasn't revealed until near the end. I felt as if I barely knew the characters who were meant to be so important to River, especially Luke and Will. I also didn't understand why River wouldn't allow Penny to be his friend. I hate the idea that two people can't be friends just because they used to be in a romantic relationship, and to me it seemed stupid to push someone out of your life who you had spent two years with.

The book did however show the importance of telling the truth, as River wouldn't have got into a huge mess with his friends if he had never lied. I also loved that there wasn't a typical happy ever after, and that River still had a lot of work to do to achieve this.

I felt as if this book was a nice light read, and although it was enjoyable I can't stop thinking of all the potential it had to be something more. It didn't push any boundaries, shock me in any way or leave a lasting impression. Unfortunately my lasting memories of this book are going to be that it was just another cliché contemporary where a boy meets a girl and nothing much happens.

Tell Us Something True is now available to purchase!



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