Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Be True to Me

Rate this book
How far is too far to go for love?

: Could it be true? Instead of a summer playing handmaiden to Daphne, was I being delivered something entirely different—a summer in the spotlight? A summer starring Gil Burke and me?

Summer flings and sexy romances were Daphne’s territory. Not mine. I was the one you didn’t pick.

I swatted off my hope like a bumblebee, knowing it was already too late. I’d been deliriously stung.

Fritz: People always joked about summer romances because they didn’t last. Summer romances were made out of ice cream and cotton candy, intensely sweet before they melted into nothing. But I’d never thought of Gil as a summer thing.

Gil was my real love, my real first. We were outsiders together, we had each other, we didn’t care that we didn’t belong.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published June 13, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Adele Griffin

40 books530 followers
from Wikipedia:

Adele Griffin is an American fiction author, writing numerous novels for adults, young adults, and kids.

Her novels Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be were both National Book Award finalists. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband and their two children in Los Angeles, California.

website: www.adelegriffin.com



Open Road Media interview

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
60 (16%)
4 stars
99 (27%)
3 stars
123 (33%)
2 stars
56 (15%)
1 star
24 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 100 reviews
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,434 reviews899 followers
June 11, 2017
Be True to Me is a story of rivalry, jealousy and betrayal. I also thought it was a really beautiful piece of writing.

The story takes place in the 1970s on Fire Island, and is told in alternating first person POV by two girls who have just graduated from high school. Jean is a sophisticated New Yorker, a girl who has always felt inferior to her glamorous older sister. Fritz is a Southerner, and feels out of place in this summer community of wealthy New Yorkers. There's a history of rivalry between the two girls, as the summer before, Fritz won a tennis trophy that Jean thought of as here (her mother and sister won it before her.) There's also a guy involved in the rivalry. Gil Burke is going out with Fritz, but Jean throws herself at him as well.

This book started out with a languorous tone and pace, but the tension and suspense rose slowly, almost imperceptibly, until the end had me furiously turning pages. Though I don't remember the 1970s, I loved the slang (jeez and crud) and cultural references (Looking for Mr. Goodbar, David Bowie, and Elton John) and the story world felt really cohesive and convincing.

At first I wasn't sure I would like the triangle-y feel of the book or the two POVs, but in the end I thought it worked really well. The book was really all about these two very different girls and their uneasy relationship. Gil was an important character, but he was also something they were competing for, just like the tennis trophy.

Finally, while I thought this was a beautiful book, it's definitely not the typical YA. In its tone and pacing, Be True to Me felt more to me like a piece of book club fiction in the vein of, say, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. While I might not have picked Be True to Me up if it had been published as general fiction, I wonder if it might have been more appreciated if it had been targeted to a different audience. It's just come out, so I guess we will see what the YA readership thinks.

If you like literary fiction, historical fiction or coming of age stories, and you don't mind a book with a slower pace and different tone than the typical YA, you should definitely try this.


Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics, follow me on Bloglovin, or check out my Bookstagram!
Profile Image for Emily.
560 reviews38 followers
July 2, 2017
In the summer of 1976, to teen girls fall in love with the new boy visiting their home on Fire Island. How far with they go to win his heart?

I read this book as part of a blog tour I was participating in. However, I disiked it and opted out of the review for the tour. I decided to write one now anyway. I always try not to bash books in reviews and so pair my critiques with complements. But in Be True to Me, I'm sorry to say there are very few complements I can give, and those are generally undermined by critiques. Still, I will be as fair and kind as I can as I tell you what I disliked about this book. But be forewarned that there will be many spoilers from here onward.

As you may know from the synopsis, this is the story of Jean and Fritz, two girls fighting over a boy, Gil.

Both of the girls, not Gil, were point of view characters. So my problem from the beginning was this: Which one do I cheer for? One of them had to lose, but I liked them both and didn't want to wish unhappiness on one or the other.

Next was the plot. It had the potential to be funny, hilarious even. (Bride Wars?) Or a full-on, murderous war. (Pretty Little Liars?) Either one would have made a good story. Neither happened. The girls ignored each other the whole time. Very few things acutally happened until the climax and ending. And the ending was disappointing, leaving none of the characters happy.

Next is the setting. It was the Bicentennial summer on a small-town island on the East Coast. The setting had so much promise. The small town part was portrayed realistically, except that I don't know how it would have been so SMALL TOWN when nearly all of the regular residents only lived there during the summers. It was the 70's, except that the only things showing that it was that time period instead of a more recent one was the lack of electronics (cell phones, computers, internet). And I found the Bicentennial holiday lacking. It was celebrated, but there were few indications that it was different than any other Independence Day celebration. The setting, like the plot, had potential but didn't follow through.

My last comment is on the little bit of symbolism mixed in. Kudos to the author for adding it because it gave another layer of depth to the story. It was about a pair of earrings Jean believed were hers. She took them from her sister only to find out that weren't hers at all. Her pair was forgotten. The earrings represented the boys in the story (Jean had another guy who loved her). The earring metaphor was clever and showed that Jean learned something from all of this. However, the boys were earrings? Pretty possessions to be owned and discarded at will? Itay not have been intentional, but the symbolism can be interpreted as objectifying men. Objectifying anyone is never good.

Well, I've said my piece. I welcome any comments from prople willing to discuss the book with me. Other readers - what did you like and why? I'm willing to listen and contemplate if you are.

I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley. I received no compensation, and all opinions are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,204 followers
February 6, 2017
Set on Fire Island in 1976, this is a story about two girls -- Jean and Fritz -- and the new boy they're fighting over. It's a story of heat and romance, of summer, and about two girls who don't hate each other, don't tear one another down, but who are fiercely competitive, both on the tennis court and off. Griffin can write twists in her stories and this one is no exception. I'd come to accept something as the resolution and then BAM it was pulled from me (in a good way).

These are rich white kids getting in trouble, so it should appeal hugely to those who loved We Were Liars or other books in that vain. Well written, and the setting in 1976 really gives flavor to that time period without feeling like it's an ode to nostalgia.

One thing that I loved, and it's a small thing, was that both Jean and Fritz have sex with Gil in the book, and their experiences of that first time are so wildly differently. It's nice to see a story where that first sexual encounter is rendered in two very different, and yet totally normal, capacities.
Profile Image for Heather.
319 reviews288 followers
May 13, 2017
3.5 stars
See this review and others at A Thousand Lives of Frankie Lovely
I received this sneak peek from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is for an excerpt of this book only. I was happy to be able to read the first few chapters of this book provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Story

This story This story takes place over the summer of ‘76 and follows the lives of two rival girls (Jean and Fritz) who spend their summers in the upper class exclusive beach town of Sunken Haven on Fire Island.

What I like

I already feel like I have been tossed into this world I want to know more about! Unfortunately, the first few chapters I was able to read have not given me enough of the story to really know exactly what will be happening in this book, but I suppose that is a good thing. I feel like I might know where this book is going, but I'm not sure, which only makes me want to read the rest of this story even more.

Both Jean and Fritz have already been painted as interesting complex and, right now, likeable characters.

I am very excited to eventually get my hands on this book and continue the intriguing journey that Adele Griffin has already been able to paint in my mind.

What I did not like

The beginning of this book had a few little quirks that did not sit perfectly well with me. Nothing huge, just a couple of oddly formed sentences and scenes. Jean and Daphne’s sisterly rivalry led to a slightly weird confrontation about earrings and I was less than pleased about the chapter 1 instalove (gag). But as the story progressed these things bothered me much less.

In Conclusion

I will absolutely be adding this book to my tbr. I must know what becomes of Jean and Fritz and all the characters I have now had a taste of and need more!
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,126 reviews245 followers
June 20, 2017
So, this will be pretty short because I didn’t really love this story. I guess exclusive and ritzy island stories aren’t for me because I didn’t like We Were Liars either. I wanted a fun summer story of love and drama, but the abundance of pettiness just made the story drag for me.

Things I Liked :
This book really delivered on the summer drama and teen angst. It was over the top and very entertaining. It also helped the plot to move quickly.

Things I Didn’t Like :
All of the characters were so petty and selfish and unlikeable. Which also made all of the relationship dynamics uninteresting to me. They never actually felt like real people who were trying to navigate this exclusive island, they felt like whiny children.

The love triangle was so boring. Call this a controversial opinion, but I actually have nothing against love triangles, and I think they can actually add tension to the story if done well. But here, I felt like the love triangle was just a way to get these two girls who didn’t really like each other to hate each other even more, over a guy they just met.

I wanted a story of intense family drama and beach politics of the wealthy in this exclusive island, but I felt like I never got to know any of these characters. If you like fun beachy reads, this will probably work for you, or if you’re craving some high class drama.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for The Blonde Bookworm.
298 reviews38 followers
June 12, 2017
Be True To Me is the story of two young women and a summer that will change their lives forever. There was romance, drama, fierce competition, and enough juicy gossip to keep me turning page after page. The characters were intriguing and the setting was perfect. I loved the gorgeous beach imagery mixed with days from the past.

As much as I enjoyed the setting, there were a few things that bugged me a little bit as well. I don't particularly love it when there is unnecessary female drama or competition over a guy. It makes females look like we just fight over men all the time. I especially wasn't a huge fan of that portion of the story because I didn't really like the guy they were fighting over.

Even though I was a little bit iffy on the characters, I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, and the twist at the very end had me going crazy. I never saw it coming and it totally surprised me! All in all, Be True To Me is a fun summer read about love, betrayal, and rivalry. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoyed We Were Liars and other YA contemporary novels.
Profile Image for Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books).
489 reviews344 followers
July 12, 2017
Summery with an edge. A book that made me miss those childhood summers of freedom and friends. It's also completely addicting and I'll be so tired now that I've stayed up all night reading.

I was so excited for this book because-- 70's, and summer, and ADELE GRIFFIN. I know Ms. Griffin doesn't make most people's lists of fave authors, but she's super high on mine. You wanna know why?? It's because her books fucking GO FOR IT. They aren't perfect, and things don't always go the way I want them to go. The characters are HARSH. But I love the fact that it's so completely different with a unique writing style.

It's the summer of 1976-- the bicentennial. Man, it made me wish I was alive to celebrate America's 200th year. I'll bet is was a great party. Anyway, the setting and the era was complete perfection. I loved the 70's fashions and slang. I loved the way summer came through this book so hard I could almost smell the sunshine and sunscreen.

Characters: As I started reading it, I really took Jean's side. It's about 2 girls with nothing in common except that they both spend summers in a town on Fire Island. I feel like Fritz (the other girl), is the one that most people will gravitate towards-- she's definitely more likable.... but you know me. I have to be a rebel and like the one I'm probably not supposed to. The thing is, Jean was flawed and had all the resources and advantages, but at the same time she had an inner pain that I could relate to. She goes through a big character arc, deals with heartbreak, but she's the type who will always land on her feet eventually. She's the type that I root for.

Now we get to the end. Holy smokes. The ending gives this book an edge that honestly, I think it needed. Up until then it was just about a love-triangle-- and those can get annoying. About 3/4ths of the way through things started getting INTENSE and I could not stop reading. I was up super late because I just HAD to know. Don't you love when that happens??

OVERALL: OMG YES!!! It's the perfect summer book--- plus it's the 70's!!! How many 70's YA books are there being published? It's addicting, cool, edgy, and about so much more than a love-triangle.

My Blog:

Pink Polka Dot Books
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,264 reviews216 followers
May 13, 2017
** I received a complementary copy of BE TRUE TO ME from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.**

Meh. 1.5 stars

1976 Fire Island. 2 girls, 1 boy on a collision course. Jean lives in the shadow of her older sister Daphne, who's off to Europe for the summer. Last year, her tennis rival Fitz captured the title that was supposed to be hers. On the eve of Daphne's departure, family friend Gil notices Jean, not her prettier sister. For once, Jean outshines her prettier sister. Then Fitz arrives for the summer, sparking Gil's interest and Jean's jealousy.

I was a few years younger than Jean in 1976, but I remember the the summer of the bicentennial well. BE TRUE TO ME felt more contemporary with several historical slang and cultural references from 1976 than a 1976 story. I needed more than a few songs and catch phrases to feel the era. I always thought Fire Island to be more of a Mecca for gay men to be out and proud back in the day than an old-money family place, but I'm probably wrong.

Chapters alternated between Fitz's and Jean's points of view, though neither character grabbed my interest or particular sympathies. I didn't care enough about them to root for either.

Adele Griffin is hit or miss for me. I wish she had filled the plot with more tension and made either or both girls more twisty, the way Megan Abbott writes teen girls. I found myself skipping pages, hoping to get excited about the story. I don't like failing to finish ARCs, or I probably would have. Unfortunately, BE TRUE TO ME is a miss.
Profile Image for Alexis The Nerdy Bruja .
716 reviews83 followers
December 29, 2017
* I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review *

2.5 starts

I'm going to start by saying that this book has a two tropes I'm not okay with, which is why I rated it as I did. This first is cheating. I really hate cheating in general as a trope it's literally one of my least favorite things in books. The next is girl hate. I hate in when authors push girls against each other and make them full of hate and trash talk each other. In this circumstance it was a lack of willingness on the characters to get to know each other. I felt like the main character could have been friends if circumstances allowed it. There was also a serious case of instalove which was a little to much for me, I hated the way that it played out.I also really hated the "triangle". It honestly didn't feel like a triangle, he obviously made his choice from the beginning but was too much of a douche to let the other girl go. Overall the characters are okay, I enjoyed the setting of the story that being said I just didn't enjoy the book. It just wasn't a story I enjoyed reading.
Profile Image for Michelle.
75 reviews65 followers
May 22, 2017
Liked it.
I had a bit of a time connecting with the book & some of the characters. For 1, this book takes place before my time LOL. And 2, I've never had to compete for a guy's attention & affection.
Poor Fritz. She didn't deserve that dumb shit happening to her. I shed a few tears for her. Poor baby.
And Jean, I started out kinda liking her. By the end of the book, Jean irritated the hell outta me.
All in all, a good book.
Received as a Gr giveaway.
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,333 reviews232 followers
June 7, 2017
Jean is determine to make this summer one of her best. She returns to Sunken Haven with a plan to win the heart of Gil, an island newcomer, and to reinvent herself. However, her plans are stymied, when Gil falls for Fritz, an island outsider. The tug of war over Gil fuels the rivalry, which meets a tragic ending.

This story takes place during the summer of 1976. I was only 4 years old, but I fondly remember the bicentennial. Griffin peppered the story with just enough references to bring me back.  I loved all the mentions of the music, the clothing, the hair, even the odd food we ate. It was a cool trip down memory lane.

Our celebratory block party. You can see a lot of Griffin's 70s references.

This story revolved around three characters: Jean, Gil, and Fritz. Both Jean and Gil were trying to reinvent themselves, while Fritz stayed true to her self.

Gil had recently been accepted into his wealthy uncle's world. He was constantly battling between his desire to please his family and the desires of his heart. This resulted in Gil making some poor decisions, and both Jean and Fritz being hurt in the process.

Jean was a spoiled, entitled, rich girl, who grabbed this opportunity to shine by both hands. She had a chance to enjoy a summer at Sunken Haven without the shadow of her sister looming over her, but Jean also made a myriad of poor decisions, and often tried to justify or dismiss them.

I should have hated both Gil and Jean, but I didn't. Griffin did such a good job with these multidimensional characters, that I would get angry with them, but then later, I would empathize with them. Jean was oppressed being the "Other Custis Sister", and Gil was constantly being reminded that he could be written off if he dared any missteps. I cannot say that these circumstances excused their poor behavior, but it helped me understand their motivations.

Fritz, on the other hand, was fantastic. She loved spending her summers with her best friend in Sunken Haven. She was confident in who she was and her abilities. But as the summer wore on, her confidence began to unravel. The damage inflicted by Jean's and Gil's actions had consequences. Her rose colored glasses were removed, and she began to see the people of Sunken Harbor in a new light. Regardless, she chose to stay true to herself through it all. But again, poor decisions were made.

I found the story quite compelling, and fought sleep to keep reading. Having the story told from Fritz's and Jean's point of view worked really well. I got to hear each of their sides of the story, and see the Sunkie world from two very distinct viewpoints. It was also interesting to see Gil through their eyes, as he was perceived quite differently by each of them, and that added yet another dimension to this story. Griffin did an incredible job relating this tale of what happens when we lose ourselves, and unfortunately for our protagonists, they were a little too late figuring out what was really important.

**I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.

Profile Image for Alisha.
744 reviews7 followers
March 8, 2018
[Edited on 3/8]

Reading all the negative reviews on this book, I thought I would go ahead and give a better idea about why I liked this book.

Some warnings: This book is not a romance. If you are reading this in hopes of a fun light-hearted summer romance you will be disappointed.

Warning 2: All of the characters in this book are pretty unlikable. They are selfish, petty and make rash decisions. So...they are teenagers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Why I like this book: There is a subplot with a pair of earrings.


We are introduced to one of our perspective characters, Jean, as she yells at her sister during a party because she "stole" her earrings. Older sister has always been prettier and commanded more attention than younger sister, Jean. Older sis denies stealing the earrings. Later, Jean steals the earrings from her sister's luggage as she is getting ready to leave for a European vacation.

Time goes by and Jean tries on the earrings again. She is unhappy to learn that the earrings no longer suit her. She decides to give them away to a thrift store.

Fritz, Jean's rival in tennis and in love, sees the earrings at the store and wishes to purchase them. She can't quite afford them and reluctantly leaves them in hopes that someday she can save enough money. Luckily for Fritz, her boyfriend sees the earrings, saves his hard earned cash and buys them for her as a present.

Later, Jean sees Fritz wearing the earrings and admits to herself that the earrings suit Fritz more than her.

At the end of the novel, Jean discovers that the earrings she stole from her sister were not in fact hers. She misplaced her actual earrings. Jean calls her sister and apologizes for what she has done.

Get it. The earrings are everything.


Ok. If you didn't read the novel you might not get it. But I hope you do cause I love it.

Profile Image for Online Eccentric Librarian.
2,834 reviews5 followers
July 1, 2017
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

Be True To Me is YA at its best - a literary read with an historic milieu that is engaging and stays with you long after the story has finished. Characters are conflicted but very much a product of their upbringing - each making decisions and mistakes that are both heartbreaking but also poignantly teen. The writing is engaging: straightforward but evocative. And the story arc is crisp and surprisingly brisk for a slow burn type of plot.

Synopsis: In 1976, vacationers converge on the resort community of Sunken Harbor (on Fire Island, NY). A retreat for the wealthy, it is serviced by the less affluent along with the community's wealthy teens. Jean, the daughter of one of Fire Island's most upstanding families, is looking forward to a special Summer: her perfect older sister is going overseas and she can finally shine. Fritz is best friends with the daughter of one of the wealthy families and comes to Fire Island to work and enjoy the resort. Jean and Fritz's paths crossed the previous year - when Fritz took away the tennis trophy championship from Jean. And now, with the entry of the charming but mysterious Gil Burke, a different rivalry begins. One that will have tragic consequences for all.

Where this book shines is in the characters. Each is exquisitely drawn - products of their environment and how it shaped their outlook on life and situations. Protected, cosseted, wall flower Jean reveling in finally being able to come out from under her beautiful and accomplished sister's shadow. Grounded, fatalistic Fritz experiencing the Island resort as an outsider and somewhat reveling in it. Then there is Gil - also thrown into an unusual situation and with heavy stipulations due to being a 'poor relation' given a chance to live the good life. All three characters are main though only the two girls are given POVs. Even the side characters were impressively drawn.

In a story that stays true to real life, there are no idealistic heroes or situations. Gil's mistakes stem from idealism and impulsiveness, Jean's from lack of true life experiences, and Fritz's from frustration and stubborness. Author Griffin impressively translates those three perspectives into true expressions of the different aspects of being a teen. The book never hits a false note. Those worried about a love triangle need not - the choice is made clearly early on and each of the main characters has to deal with that situation in their different ways.

The story is brisk, moves nicely, and has a complete arc. The setting of 1976 makes sense but the author doesn't overdo the 'disco era' references and they do not overwhelm the story at any time.
No one is overidealized and tragic events are beautifully understated. The conclusion is logical but also surprising at the same time. It's a reminder that it's always the littlest of things that can snowball, especially through the minds of teens trying to find their way in the world. In all, highly recommended. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Kristyn - Reading to Unwind.
252 reviews18 followers
June 9, 2017
This story follows two girls during the summer where they travel to Sunken Island to stay. Jean is a girl from the upper class whose family has been on Sunken Island for years. Jean is finally spending the summer without her over bearing big sister and feels this is her summer. Fritz comes to the island to stay with a family friend every summer. Jean and Fritz have had some history with a tennis tournament last summer. Now Jean and Fritz are at it again for Gil’s attention a newcomer to Sunken Island.

Things I enjoyed in the book was how we did get multiple perspectives. The book is told alternating between Jean and Fritz so we get to look at the island from two different perspectives. Jean is brought up in a wealthy family so she has always had a lot handed to her. Fritz is from a military family so she is used to moving around and at Sunken Island she feels part of something.

The author does a great job creating the island environment as well as the hierocracy. The author explains who a lot of people are and their importance to the society in the book. I felt like the author also did a great job with all the details in the book she took her time to go back to 1976 lifestyle. The author also did a great job with how the story flowed I was easily able to follow along and figure out what was going on. I didn’t have any lingering questions by the end of the book.

Jean was an interesting character in this book. Although she did have some character flaws I felt she was never portrayed in the right light until the end. I did feel like Jean had some jealousy in her, but she did try and overcome in and was continually put back into the bad situation. Jean could look at herself and evaluate what was going on, which I feel is very challenging for a person to do. I felt like Jean did a lot of growing during the summer especially at the end of the book she matured so much you wouldn’t ever recognize her.

My major complaint was just with the story itself. We are introduced to Jean first in the book and she has her own set of issues that she is trying to overcome. As the story continues we get Fritz’s point of view. I just didn’t like how Jean was portrayed in this book at all. I felt like the author just didn’t like her and was always painting her in a negative light. I wanted a lot more from Jean and I was disappointed with how it was handled.

This book is one that could totally use a map in the front of it. When some of the action picks up I would have loved to look at a map and figure out exactly where everything was happening.

I would suggest this as a nighttime read. I was never fully engrossed in the book so I never felt like I had to keep reading. There were natural stopping points since the perspective was going back and forth so I could put the book down and come back.

I received a copy of this book from The Fantastic Flying Book Club to provide an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book.
Profile Image for Bookworm 🐛.
89 reviews11 followers
February 29, 2020
Wow! Be True to Me was a romance taking place in 1970's. I'm not a big fan of love triangles and I was hoping that this book would change my opinion....which it didn't. Jean is a girl who finally gets to step out of her sister's shadow and gets to show everyone who she is. While in New York, she falls in love with Gil. But, when Gil arrives at Fire Island he makes a connection with Fritz. Fritz is an athletic, spunky girl who is free-spirited. She just broke up with her boyfriend and doesn't want to start another relationship. Soon, Gil and Fritz are seeing each other. Jean is obviously hurt that Gil doesn't love her like he loves Fritz. Basically, thats the plot. What happened to Fritz in the end broke my heart. I favored Fritz over Jean. At first it was Jean, but then I liked Fritz better. I'm sad that after all that drama no one got Gil. So it feels like it all of it was for nothing. The romance was very steamy. I love the setting and how you could really feel you were in the 1970's. In spite of the negatives, I give this book a nifty 3!
Profile Image for Colleen's Conclusions.
429 reviews39 followers
May 16, 2017
I received this book from Netgalley as a early advanced copy. This was a really cute beach type of read! I think was like Dirty Dancing, but it was on the beach instead of a resort. It still had the same feel because the two girl characters reminded me of the sisters in the movie. I really liked the plot, and the time setting it was in. It'll be a perfect book to read while on vacation this summer. I also really love the cover, it makes me happy!
Profile Image for Sue.
560 reviews29 followers
June 26, 2017
*Review copy received from publisher
I struggled to get into this story for the first half and considered giving up. It did improve as the characters developed although their depth was overshadowed by the dramatic angst which dominates the book.
The exceptionally close parallels to We Were Lies by E. Lockhart gave the story a tired, uninspired taint which it probably doesn't merit.
784 reviews
June 27, 2017
I was excited to read this book because it was set in 1976. It quickly faded into boredom. This is a love triangle with girl hate.

There are two girls who are on opposite ends of the island life. The boy comes along and plays them both against each other.

It gets two stars instead of one because she did have a few cultural references to the time period
Profile Image for Dena McMurdie.
Author 2 books134 followers
July 3, 2017
Be True to Me is one of those epic love stories that you can’t get out of your head for days after finishing it. I picked it up because I LOVE the cover and it was compared to We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. In many ways, it was like We Were Liars, but it was different too.

Be True to Me is about two girls, both falling desperately in love with the same boy. It takes place in a sun-soaked island community where wealthy families gather every summer. Jean comes from one of these wealthy families, but she is insecure, self-conscious, and always coming in second. She’s been overshadowed by her sister, overlooked by her friends, and constantly pushed aside in favor of more interesting people. She was also bested at tennis by an army brat named Fritz.

Fritz is an outsider, but she’s generally tolerated by the wealthy families in Sunken Haven. A natural athlete, Fritz is confident, spontaneous, and used to getting what she wants. Unfortunately, she wants the same thing Jean wants—Gil.

This is a love triangle like I’ve never read before. I instantly fell into the story, enjoying summer vacation on a sunny island and falling in love for the first time, while hating the boy at the same time. Like I said before, it’s an epic love story with strong characters and an addictive quality that won’t let you put it down.

I adored the way both girls fell madly in love with Gil so quickly like he was something beautiful and wonderful and magic. The entire book holds a dark undercurrent, and you can feel something coming. You just don’t know what.
What I Didn’t Love:

My only disappointment came at the very end. I expected something more…sinister. As it was, the ending was tragic and wonderful and perfect for the story, but because my expectations were different, I felt a teensy bit of disappointment.

Content: Two or three curse words (one f-bomb), and two semi-descriptive sex scenes. While not explicit or overly detailed, they’re not fade to black, either.

Source: Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book.
Profile Image for Charlie-Dee.
375 reviews
December 18, 2019
Absolutely loved the concept of the book but unfortunately just couldn’t love the book. Really not sure what it was, maybe the narrative with it being between two different people (one of which I disliked) or the overall theme of the book. Would like to try more by the author however.
Profile Image for Ilyda.
63 reviews13 followers
April 16, 2017
While I appreciate the unique twist that alternating perspectives between two love rivals offers, what I've read of this book so far didn't particularly interest me.

Jean is a compelling but confusing and unpleasant character, and despite it being told in first person, I haven't had any engagement or understanding of her actions at all. Her relationship with Gil seems like an instalove sort of thing, although things might certainly change further into the book.

Admittedly, the bulk of the story is probably in the romantic drama part (which has barely begun), but considering I have zero interest in the first loveline, I doubt that I'll be particularly torn apart with the introduction of the second.

The dialogue is choppy and awkward (a pity - I love old-timey dialogue, when done right). I got about 70% through the sneak peak when I gave up, and needless to say, I don't feel any desire to read the rest of the book.

An admirable effort, but not one that worked for me.
Profile Image for Erinn.
196 reviews1 follower
January 23, 2017
Excellent, immersive historical fiction. I ended up dreaming about this book.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,020 reviews103 followers
June 17, 2017
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+
Profile Image for Sara (A Gingerly Review).
2,673 reviews153 followers
July 27, 2017



Forgettable characters, bad dialogue, and a ho-hum plot that felt like an afterthought. Do yourself a favor, skip this book.


Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com...

You want the truth about this book? BORING. Snoozefest. This book was dull as dull can get.

Short recap: Two girls fight over the same guy during the summer of 1976.

Pretty direct and two the point, no? That’s about all you need to know when it comes to this book. Do not go into this expecting a swoony summer romance because you will be very disappointed. Think along the lines of We Were Liars or Pretty Little Liars, but those still would have been better than this story and I strongly disliked We Were Liars. I really struggled with this story. I should have cut my losses and DNF but I was stubborn for some reason. Oh how I paid for my decision. There are just so few compliments I can give this one. There really was not much I liked about it.

The characters. UGH. The characters were all flat, shallow, and completely forgettable. Their voices did not sound unique enough for me to really be able to tell who was who. The story is told from alternating POVs: Jean and Fritz. (Who names their kid Fritz in the 70s?) These two girls are fighting for the attention of the new boy on the island, Gil. (Seriously, who is naming these kids.) I did not care for either girl. They were both the “misunderstood” child that fell into the shadow of their more good looking, more popular, more successful sibling. So basically this is a story of a teen with an ugly duckling syndrome. They are trying to prove they really are loveable by snagging the heart of the dreamy summer boy. YAWN This has been done a million times before and yet it has been done better. These characters did nothing for me. I wasn’t rooting for one over the other because they were both shallow, nasty people. I would have prefered if Gil had a voice instead but sadly that did not happen.

The plot. There was a severe lack when it came to the plot. It was a hot mess. I think it was supposed to be somewhat humorous and jovial but I’m here to tell you that is not the case. It was never funny, I never chuckled or cracked a smile. I’m not really that tough on books but when a story feels like forced humor, it immediately turns me off. I really wanted this tragedy to end and end quickly. It read like an uncomfortable first date or awkward meeting of two estranged friends. The two girls this story rotates around never even talk to each other. That’s right! They ignore each other the entire book so riddle me this: What is the point?? Don’t get me started on the disappointing and unsatisfying ending. What a joke. (SPOILER: All characters walk away sad and unhappy.)

I’m actually going to mention the setting here. Why? Because it stood out to me. This story is set in the summer of 1976 (uh… ok?) on a small-town island for wealthy people. That already lets you know these kids will be spoiled and vapid beyond belief. I did board the Struggle Bus when it came to remembering that the story was set in the 70s. Almost nothing let the reader know the decade. It could have been set in any decade and it might have worked just as well. Nothing reflected the time period except a small lack of electronic devices. Big whoop. There was so much potential but like everything else in this story, it fell flat.

One thing that really stood out to me: The earrings. I have a thought that the earrings in question represented the boys in the story. GASP! These girls fight over “earrings” because they can, only they were actually talking about fighting over “boys”. I may be making something out of nothing but it is a thought. It isn’t a good thought because it gave the impression that boys were just objects to be captured by rich and spoiled girls that are bored with their lives. That I am not on board with and do not support.

I’m off my soapbox now. I did not like this story and would not recommend it to anyone. Do yourself a favor and skip this. Don’t put yourself through the torture of reading a badly written story.
Profile Image for Heather A.
670 reviews16 followers
August 16, 2017
I received a copy from Netgalley.

I actually had a request wish granted for this one. An enjoyable read, though very meandering and almost no plot until right before the end.

The novel tells the story of two different girls on an exclusive island during the summer of 1976 and the boy they both want the attention of. I don’t quite get why it had to be set in 1976, the setting didn’t really do anything for the story. The setting didn’t really make much difference, the plot could have easily worked as a modern day summer story.

Jean has been living in the shadow of her prettier, popular, older sister Daphne for her whole life. Only this summer Daphne is off to Europe, so Jean can have some fun without having to be compared to Daphne. She’s really looking forward to it. Jean comes from a very well to do family who are summering on the exclusive Fire Island. She has a couple of best friends and meets a good looking boy, Gil, the nephew of one of her parents’ snooty friends. Gil’s friendly and easy going. They share a night out in New York before heading to Fire Island for the summer, but it’s enough for Jean to be head over heels for him. It’s kind of insta-lovey and she’s obsessed pretty quick.

Jean was nice enough, if a little dim. She’s sheltered, spoiled and very naïve. Whether it’s a rich people thing or whether the drinking laws in 1976 were less strict, I don’t know, but there were lots of parties and everyone was drinking, even the teens. (Might be a rich people world thing, I vaguely remember something along the same lines in the modern day Gossip Girl series of the parents not caring too much if their teens drank at social functions).

Jean has a habit of shooting her mouth off and speaking no inhibition regardless of hurting anyone when she drinks. She does this quite a bit. She can also be very selfish, but I don’t think she realises this. This shows more towards the end, when she does something that appears on the surface to just be her wanting the cute boy for herself, but if she hadn’t done it, then an outcome that was tragic might have been different.

Fritz was the more outgoing, can’t remember her background, but she came from a family of lesser standing, army kid I think. There were definitely some class issues when Fritz got friendly with Gil and was given a cold reception by his family simply because she wasn’t from a family as well to do as theirs. Fritz joins her best friend for the summer on Fire Island, and hits it off with Gil too. Fritz had a lot more personality than Jean did. She was friendlier and more outgoing.

The novel is told in alternating points of view from Jean and Fritz as they both try to get Gil’s attention. I can’t say I liked Gil much at all. While he comes across all polite and friendly, charming and good looking with a great potential future, he was clearly playing these two girls against each other. Telling one something different to the other one. He gets them both pretty obsessed with him, even though he does eventually choose one over the other, the other can’t let go. There’s very little interaction with the two girls together, there’s hints that could be a rivalry but it’s not really explored.

It’s very slow and meandering. And as I mentioned earlier the plot is almost non-existent. Until the end when things take a rather surprising turn. Didn’t see it coming at all. I did think it was well written, and while I can’t see the point of the 1976 setting, the actual place the girls were summering in was lovely. The setting was well described, the characters were all well fleshed out. Despite being rather slow at points, I did enjoy the novel. Don’t know if this is something I would read again, but I would definitely read something else by this author.

Thank you to Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers for granting my wish to read the title.
Profile Image for Vina Le.
34 reviews
May 28, 2017
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The feel when you want to like a book because the set up sounds interesting...and then the main character drives you to rip out your hair.

Jean lacked self esteem to the point where she was the most self absorbed/selfish character I've ever experienced. She's that friend that falls instantly in love, analyzes every little thing the guy does, and then throws a fit when he doesn't call her because she's psychotic. So what is your solution to the problem? She sleeps with him to keep him with her all the while talking about how she knowingly manipulates another boy that's in love with her through sexual interaction too. Jean is what Regina from Mean Girls was meant to be a caricature of.

Fritz on the other hand is daisies and sunshine, getting over heartbreak and trying to fit in with a crowd that simply wont have her. She's confident in herself and knows who she is but there's just something about her that seems to be missing.

Gil, don't even get me started there. He's a social climbing ambitious young man who was willing to reject his family for a place in high society. He's what our two girls are fighting over and while you see his conflict, he doesn't do much to mitigate it.

The premise of the book in general is based in the 70s, and while I do understand that it's the 70s this crowd drive me insane. I think we'll housewives of Martha's Vineyard hanging out all summer trying to get along. They're wealthy they try to convince themselves through "volunteer" work to make themselves seem like normal people. All the while carrying things down to build a helicopter pad so that they could be a bit more comfortable in their lifestyle. They allow other teenagers to run around getting drunk all summer long on the beach with each other doing God knows what the parents are notorious for partying just as much as the kids.

Overall the writing style was easy to read but the characters in general and the setting drove me nuts. Especially for current events, knowing we're currently dealing with the rampant over overprivileged young crowd that's simply out of touch with the world.
Profile Image for Shannon Holcomb.
164 reviews
August 1, 2017
I'm so sad to say this, but I really did not like this book. It was so disappointing to me.

I was immediately sold when I heard that this book took place in 1976. I thought it was be really cool to experience a contemporary in a different decade, especially the 70's. Unfortunately, had I not known beforehand, I wouldn't have even been able to tell the time setting was 1975 until about halfway through the book.

Where my disliking for this book really spans is that the characters were so incredible unlikeable. Most of them were actually downright hate-able, and I'm not sure whether or not that was the author's intention. Jean was a catty, selfish, spoiled brat who cared about no one but herself and her obsession for Gil. She had absolutely no character development, and even after that whirlwind of an ending she didn't change her ways, which was baffling to me. Gil was dense and shallow, and I never ever saw the appeal of him. Fritz was the only okay character, though I was still bothered by her sometimes catty attitude. Also this story was not one, but two extreme cases of instalove. Jean was in love with Gil after only spending THREE HOURS with him. It was so unnecessary.

The whole plot was basically these two girls pining after and obsessing over this average boy and hating each other. Though I will say Fritz usually wouldn't talk down on Jean and didn't really have that much of a problem with her, and that's what made her somewhat redeemable to me. Jean ruined the story for me. Every time we read her perspective I wanted to choke her. I really thought she would blossom and grow and realize that there's more to life than just a boy who doesn't give her the time of day, but nah.

The reason this book is getting two stars is because it was fast-paced and sort of an easy read, and the ending was written fantastically. I didn't mind the writing style or the pacing, I just couldn't get with the plot and characters. Truthfully I would have DNF'd it but I heard the ending was wild and accidentally read a spoiler and wanted to find out how things went donw.
Profile Image for Ruth.
41 reviews1 follower
October 1, 2017
I really enjoyed this book and I love the addictive story etc so don't get me wrong but straight off the bat I just want to say that the plot twist did not shock me... every review I read promised a shocking ending and I was kind of bummed when the plot twist was not completely mind bending or anything I mean you didn't expect it going into the book but due to the circumstances like I wasn't left mouth open, needing a break from the book to process you feel...

This book was heavily compared to "We Were Liars" which was what compelled me to read it and I see the similarities but it didn't leave confused at the world like "We Were Liars"

HOWEVER THERE WERE GOOD THINGS I PROMISE!! This book was written so amazingly! I loved the slow pace and the different POVs which allow us as readers to understand why Jean And Fritz love the charming boy that is Gil. I still don't know if I liked Gil but he definitely charmed me and I understood his appeal and he was a complicated and well developed character. THIS LOVE TRIANGLE WAS NOT ANNOYING and that's already a pretty amazing thing to achieve! I didn't hate Gil which is usually what happens in love triangle books and I think that's already pretty amazing!!

Each of the girls were authentic and well developed as personally I understood why they did certain things and why things played out as they were. It was awesome seeing why they liked Gil and who they thought he was as a person and even trying to see if he showed himself differently to them.

The themes of status was explored really well as we see Gil as a person trying to climb up in status, Jean who already has a high status and Fritz who is an outcast. Once again we see how money, wealth and hierarchy seriously influences relationships no matter your age!!

Definitely pick this book up because it is worth the read and I did love the romance and the way it was written!!!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 100 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.