Published: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than 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.My Thoughts
Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.
Look at the beauty of that cover. Seriously. I read this from an ecopy, so I haven't seen the beauty of it in the wild, but on my computer screen it certainly looks amazing! Unfortunately, my love for the novel itself wasn't as easily explainable as my love for that cover.
Westlin Beck lives in a small Minnesota town called Green Lake. She is the daughter oft the town priest, one of the most respected men in town. She has known her boyfriend Elliot since she was a kid, and her best friend Trudy has been her best friend for ages. Then summer comes and West feels like everything is going to change. Trudy takes a job on an adventure camp and disappears for the summer. Elliot is working hard on his family's farm and it seems impossible for him to find time for them to hang out. West feels lonely. But then the Hart family moves in from Alaska and things start to change.
Silas is different that the other guys in Green Lake. He's different than Elliot. West and Silas form a connection quickly through their shared love for literature, and their shared summer job quickly turns from burden to something awesome, something with potential. But as much as West enjoys spending time with Silas, she cannot forget the fact that she has a boyfriend. Or she shouldn't forget that. But the more time she spends with Silas, the less she feels a connection towards Elliot.
As a result of the time spent with Silas West gets to know his twin sister Lauren who is battling with solipsism syndrome, a psychological state in which a person feels that the world is not external to their mind. This means that she has periods when she feels like the world around her is not 'real' and that everything might just a dream. Despite solipsism, Lauren attempts to join the summer of fun without Silas and West realizing that Lauren's capability to show a brave face and participate does not necessarily show how Lauren is actually feeling.
There are things that I really liked about this book. Lauren is an extremely interesting character and I was extremely interested to read about all of the aspects of the novel dealing with solipsism syndrome. There's also an old man and historian named Gordon the characters visit who I found extremely interesting. The relationship between West and her father had a a lot of potential for becoming something interesting to read about, but unfortunately that was left quite flat.
Then there are things I did not enjoy so much. First of all, there's cheating. Cheating is something unacceptable, but I can sometimes condone it in books (though I cannot really mention any examples right now...). In this one though the whole cheating thing was kind of pointless in some sense, because Silas's supposed girlfriend is not present and West doesn't see Elliot much (by pointless I mean that to get rid of the cheating aspect, it would not have changed the story much if West and Elliot would have broken up before the story got into the whole cheating aspect of it). Yes, Silas and West are definitely meant to be together in this story, but since they get together through cheating, it does not feel so "right".
Another aspect that did not work for me personally was the religious aspect of the novel. I am not religious at all - I was not raised in a religious family and though I have studied religion as part of my compulsory education, religion has always been more of another branch of history or philosophy for me than something spiritual. I have lived in US and I do know that within that culture religion has a different kind of role, but since it is not something that I am used to, I kind of found it difficult to swallow with this novel. The novel definitely isn't overly religious, but it does discuss themes like loving God and trusting God which is something that just feels EXTREMELY distant for me.
One of the strongest aspects of Sommers's novel is the writing! Sommers writes with bravado and beauty and the way Truest is written really makes me look forward to other pieces of writing Sommers will hopefully come up with in the future.
Though Truest did not really become a personal favorite, I did find it interesting and entertaining. There were things that did not work for me there, but fortunately there were also aspects that I really liked and that managed to keep me interested from page one til the end.