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True Letters from a Fictional Life
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True Letters from a Fictional Life

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,916 ratings  ·  405 reviews
If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they'd tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world -- letters he never intends to send
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen
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Joy Hm, maybe. I think in this book, that's kind of out of order; he starts out with the angst and kind of sheds it as he comes out. Not a lot of bullying…moreHm, maybe. I think in this book, that's kind of out of order; he starts out with the angst and kind of sheds it as he comes out. Not a lot of bullying of the main character, but of a supporting character. I like angst so I enjoyed it but if you're looking for escapism this isn't it.(less)

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  2,916 ratings  ·  405 reviews

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i know i'm probably at a point in my life where i should outgrow these coming of age YA books featuring a gay running away from their problems, but get this: i don't want to ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a pretty decent look at a coming-out story, as James struggles with how to be true to himself without losing all of the "perks" of his comfortable, heterosexual life.

James repeatedly can say, "I like boys," but he still has trouble saying, "I'm gay" to himself and others. Also the idea of writing letters to people, putting your thoughts down uncensored and never sending them away was very unique.

Basically this is a YA book that does not patronize kids. It sheds light on some of their st
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“It must be really hard for his parents.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, him being gay.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a boy who found it hard to admit that he was gay.

James was an okay character and it was interesting how he wrote letters to people telling them how he really felt. It might have been an idea to destroy the letters rather than keeping t
Moony Eliver
4.5 stars. If you're a fan of queer YA, why haven’t you read this book? Because let’s get real. You haven’t. I know, because I was just in Haven't-Read-This-Book-Land, and I saw you.

In fact, if Teal hadn’t asked me to buddy read it, I still might not even know it exists. Which would be tragic, because it was incredibly well written. I loved it and inhaled it in less than a day.

The highlight was undoubtedly the characters, none of whom were flat, or perfect, or predictable. The voice of the sev
Taylor Knight
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure what to expect with True Letters from a Fictional Life but I ended up really enjoying it.
I really liked the writing style and how honestly it was written. I felt like the plot was fairly realistic and I appreciated that a lot. I didn't really start to love this book until the second half. The first half was good but it wasn't until the last 175-150 pages that I felt like the story really came alive for me.
I really loved James but I never really connected with him. I personally co
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe this book is over. I wish it would have been longer, because oh man was it GOOD. Like incredibly good.
This book isn't about extraordinary people, it's better than that: it's about real life. It's about a boy - James- who happens to like other boys. It's about James trying to figure out what it means to be gay in our society, how to come out to his friends and family without them hating him, but also accepting that it's okay if everybody isn't okay with that. Because screw them, h
Feb 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbt, fiction, young-adult
rating: 1.5 stars
format: ebook

Here is where a nice quote would be but I can't really find any

Oh my god, am I disappointed. That was really, really bad. The more I think about it, the angrier I get. It's so weird for me to give an LGBT book 1 star, I usually look past some of the problematic aspects because the romance gets the best of me. I'm still just a crazy fangirl on the inside, no matter how hard I try to hide it. I just wanted to read about a cute gay relationship and be able to ship
Kaje Harper
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, favorites, ya
I really enjoyed this coming out story. James is a young man caught between his image of what everyone wants him to be (including himself) and who he really is. He's known he was gay since he was twelve, and yet he keeps hoping he's bi, or it's a phase, or if he hides it enough and ignores it enough, he'll fall in love with the great girl he's kind of dating.

His parents are just ordinary people, who care about him, but his mother has a photo of him and Theresa on the refrigerator. She has hopes
Kim at Divergent Gryffindor
To be honest, I was really wary of reading this book at first. I try not to judge the book by its cover (literally), but I judged this book by its cover, and I thought it wouldn't be a great book. But I was reeled in by the fascinating synopsis, and a lot of people gave this one good reviews so I totally didn't listen to my gut and went ahead to request this one. Boy am I glad that I did because this book turned out to be amazing!

"... but I've always been told that I'm straight. And that's t
Istyria book blog ~ A World of Enchanted Books

3.5 stars

You all know by now that I love a good YA Contemporary book, right? Especially one that has an LGBT theme/romance. So when I found this one, I was really excited. More so because it was from HarperTeen, who often throw a bunch of galleys on Edelweiss. And yes, when this one was among one of those drops, I picked it up and read it immediately. But if I have to be honest... I didn't love this as much as I hoped I would.

True Letters from a Fict
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Super well-written coming-out-story about a deeply closeted popular jock who thinks his life would be a lot easier if he could manage to not be gay. Great, authentic interactions between James and his friends. Strong sense of place, realistic and interesting rural Vermont setting. True-to-life jock speak and teasing. Hot (but never explicit) romance.

Give this one to the entire team. Somebody will need it and everybody will benefit.
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A copy of this novel was provided by HarperCollins for review via Edelweiss.

I read this book in two sittings, and I was absorbed by it immediately (which makes me sound like some kind of liquid but whatever, I’m going with it). There were two main things I loved about True Letters from a Fictional Life, which caused the whole absorbing thing:

1) The writing style. It just flowed so well, and it was engaging and interesting, and just. Really. Good. I would 100% read another book by Kenneth Logan,
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
The problem with this book is that I really don't like the main character, James. He's leading on his pseudo-girlfriend on while sorta-hooking-up with a guy. (view spoiler)

His friends sound like jerks (except for Hawkens, he's a stand up guy since the beginning til the end) altho in th
joey (thoughts and afterthoughts)
Perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if I had not disliked 80% of those around the protagonist. That's on me though because this type of premise is supposed to be a tangled mess. So I get that.

Also: bromance feels are way way way stronger than the romance in this book (including both brothers and friends).

--Temporarily rated a 3 but it's probably higher.
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reads-of-2016
"I didn't come up with the lie. It wasn't mine. They handed the lie to me, and I tried like hell to make it work for a while."


This book was all kinds of wonderful. The writing was awesome. I felt like I was in Vermont the whole time I was reading this. And I think it's worth mentioning that I was in New York City of all places. I was trapped in a world of lush foliage and small town problems while in reality, I was in the concrete jungle rubbing elbows with people who didn't give a crap a
“‘Congrats, James Liddel.’ He laughed. ‘You made it!’
I broke our kiss. ‘Made it where?’ I whispered, running my hands up his arms.
‘Wherever we are. This place without secrets. It feels good, right?’
I put my chin on his chest. ‘I have never, ever felt this free.’”

3.5 stars
This book, in essence, is one of self-discovery and introspection for the main character James Liddell, who is stuck between two lives. It's heartwarming and quite light, but I had a personal problem with the main character's at
Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader)
3.5 S T A R S

This was a really cute and light read.

I really enjoyed James and the setting of a cozy little town in Vermont. Logan did a great job capturing the teenage voice and it was a riot hanging out with James and his friends.

I wish there were more moments between James and his love interest.
Ashley Blake
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqiap, young-adult
Authentic, messy, nuanced coming out story. I know teens are gonna love this book--it's one we still so desperately need in the canon! So good. ...more
Alexandra ☁
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
4,5 stars

(view spoiler)
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on listfeels

*Jumps up and down* Oh you guys, this book, this book. I was so intrigued by the synopsis that I read it as soon as I received it, in December 2015. Then I had to wait to share and it was awful as you all need to read it! True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan is just phenomenal. James is your average high school jock. He has a sortof girlfriend, decent friends and a secret. See James is gay and is deeply afraid to come out.
Rynn Yumako
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, lgbt-ya

I actually forgot most of the plot of this book, only remembered some parts of it and that it was good. It almost felt like reading a new book! I love it still, so so much.

I'm kinda sad that the author hasn't published anything since this book came out, I'd love to read more from him!


This book, man, this is how you write teenagers without turning them into caricatures. All the characters, even the smaller parts, were spot-on, filled with life, faults and troubles. I especially liked th
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: realistic, lgbtqa
This is one of those books where you yell at the characters. "Talk! Tell people before it gets worse!" and then you wince and grimace, tap your feet anxiously as the character proceeds to not listen to your shouted advice (because you are not Bastian and this is not The Neverending Story) and things proceed to go from bad to worse. Then, before you know it, you've finished the book and you can put it down with a contented sigh because the characters finally grew and matured and listened to you a ...more
- ̗̀  jess  ̖́-
This book seemed to me like it harkened way back to the coming out stories where everything was awful for gay kids, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's really realistic; you do get homophobic responses but it's a lot more positive than a lot more coming out stories I've read.

James is a fun narrator and I really liked his voice, as well as all the other characters (except Mark can choke). He had a pretty big circle of friends, all of whom can be casually homophobic so I can see why he was so st
a u b r e y
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a really fluffy book. I wish it was actually longer since I didn't get a chance to see if James get to reconcile with Theresa and Mark. I don't know, maybe it's a little sappy if James get to be "friends" again with Mark, right? Haha.
Besides from this being a coming of age story (which I liked, don't get me wrong), I hate but still highly relates on how James sees the world because that's how I was when I was a teenager, always caring for what the other people would say about me. I'm gl
★MC's Corner★
True Letters from a Fictional Life
by Kenneth Logan [ARC REVIEW]

I love the whole concept of this book. On my perspective, as gay (not closeted) I felt everything he’s feeling. It was very realistic and people will relate and respond to this.

*MC’s Corner*
Note: Spoilers.

• James Liddell – he’s kinda popular guy in school, maybe not that popular… let’s just say he’s part of the cool kids. The story is written on his POV, he has a girlfriend which they (other people, family etc.) thought they’re
Mike Oaks
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bumpy road to honesty

I got a little confused in the beginning trying to keep track of who everyone was. Once I got that figured out, I could see down the road what risk James was taking with writing unsent letters to clear his mind. Great friends are tested, and the writing kept me interested in the conversations the boys and girls were having. I shed a tear with the final moments between James and Rex. 4.0 for Aaron.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was about what I expected: a coming of age/out of the closet story that was good, but I’d already seen most of it done elsewhere (and slightly better). If this sounds like a story you’d be into, you probably will be! It’s exactly what you expect! The author has a really great sense of humor, and I personally loved his dialogue. That said, most of the characters had the same exact sense of humor and wit, which made it hard to tell them apart at times. (Side note: take a drink every time some ...more
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would say I’ve definitely seen this basic plot before - seemingly stereotypical jock with a sort-of girlfriend is actually gay and has to deal with that - but the story still felt fairly genuine, and I believe this had a lot to do with the characters. They all had flaws, they all made mistakes, they were all pretty stupid at times, and that’s what made them feel real. That’s what made me /like/ them, and the story. There was definitely a lot that happened throughout this book (because this is ...more
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, library-read
“I stood on the driveway for a while longer, hands in my pockets, and stared up at the stars. I’d just gone on a date with another boy. No difference in the heavens.”

Still not entirely sure on my feelings for this book, but all around a pretty solid read. BUT ALSO I really want a sequel?!

This song totally fits the vibe of the book:
Surrender by Walk the Moon

“He has his arm draped around my shoulders. I look like I don't care who's watching.”
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this but was confused as to how many letters James wrote. At times I went back through the book, searching for a particular letter, only to realise that not all letters were presented in the text. I planned to re-read the story after I’d finished it, as there were other things that confused me as well, but haven't done so yet. Even so, I liked it enough at this point to give it four stars. ...more
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