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The First True Thing

3.09  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In the two weeks since her drunken bike accident, Marcelle has been forced to look deeply at her own life. She’s clean and sober now, attending a tough-love version of after-school rehab, and barely hanging out with her user friends. Then one night she gets a mysterious text from her best friend, Hannah, asking Marcelle to cover for her.

It’s a small, simple lie. But Marcel
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by HarperTeen (first published April 23rd 2019)
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Average rating 3.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  81 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Khristina Chess
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-pretty-good
The First True Thing is both a mystery and a book about a teen working through the hard parts of recovery.

The mystery is that Marcelle’s friend Hannah is missing, and Marcelle was the last person to hear from her. What happened? What should she do? And if she tells the truth, the whole truth, what does that mean for her friends?

Working through this dilemma is part of her recovery because lying, hiding, hanging out with people who aren't good for her are all behaviors associated with her drinkin
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Giving THE FIRST TRUE THING a particular number of stars is difficult because 90% of the important components of a good story are present, characters, plot, writing, storytelling. The other 10%, the treatment program is the stuff of melodrama, which, in my opinion, doesn’t belong in a YA book about substance abuse recovery.

The entire time I was reading THE FIRST TRUE THING, the mandated group treatment, purported to be one of the best in the country, was more LORD OF THE FLIES than licensed trea
Extending my deepest gratitude to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. However, this does not affect any opinions or feedback stated concerning the book whatsoever.

TW: Profanity, Alcohol and Drug Dependency, Mentions of Child Sexual Abuse

If I were to rate this book, I would give it exactly 3.25 stars. At first, I was having trouble connecting with the characters in the story because my adolescent experiences were a lot different than theirs. This boo
Warnings: sexual assault, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, drug overdose, fatmisia, animal death (off-page), suicide attempt

Rep: addiction rep

The story of The First True Thing, at its core, is about a girl who has to overcome peer pressure to do the right thing. Marcelle is in recovery after an accident when she got drunk and nearly died; now she is the last person who her friend Hannah had texted before disappearing. Marcelle, while still only a couple of week sober, and in a therapy program that str
To be fair, the two stars is being generous. I saw this book prior to its publication and I thought the premise sounded promising. Then, when I realized it was featured on one of the MANY YA book lists (I think it might have been "20 compelling YA books we couldn't look away from"-or at least something along those lines), I figured I'd give it a shot.

That was a mistake.

This book was NOT worth my time. It is not a compelling mystery nor is it an interesting or enlightening look at substance abuse
Em(ily) Ann ♡︎♡︎♡︎ - theglitterybookworm_
*warning RANT REVIEW*
This was one of my highly anticipated reads of the year, so you can imagine my disappointment.

This book made me ANGRY.
I was ANGRY at the so called “parents” who the author had the nerve to give them that title.
I was ANGRY at the representation of addiction in this novel. Mind you, I haven’t had an addiction, but I know that this wasn’t the right way to go.
I was ANGRY at the so called “physiatrist” who was the rudest, most not understanding human being. I think he even ca
Apr 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
There are plenty of content warnings for this one, but I’d like to specifically mention a CW for fatphobia. I wasn’t expecting it, and there are incidents a solid 4-6 times (at one point I had to start skimming to the end). This is also one of the most concerning depictions of health professionals I’ve ever seen, and I really hope teens reading this understand that there are actually decent rehabilitation centers and don’t get scared off from seeking help because of this book. The problems with ...more
Read InAGarden
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Not only is this a book about a teen coming to terms with the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse, it is a novel with a less than forthcoming narrator. This makes for an intriguing read. The reader doesn't quite know what to believe - as Marcelle slowly reveals the truths about her past. ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent YA book that deals honestly with difficult issues and makes the reader feel the immediacy of Marcelle's many pressures and need to make tough choices. It deals frankly with the pain of substance abuse, peer pressure, and finding one's own voice. As a parent, it brought home to me how much high school students, while still needing love and guidance from their parents, are really in their own world. Adding drugs, alcohol, and other criminal behavior to an already fraught time in any t ...more
Angela Staudt
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I am rating this 3.15 stars. I got pretty frustrated throughout this whole book, I didn’t care for the Group which Marcelle had to go to. I didn’t care for her shitty parents who can’t comprehend that people make mistakes. I didn’t like basically any of Marcelle’s “friends” besides Andy. I didn’t quite care what happened to Hannah, but of course I cared enough to finish this and find out.

Let’s start off with Marcelle who I did like as a character and felt angry for her because everyone acted lik
Rachel Benzine
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Check out this and other reviews on my website, The Lamp Post!

Marcelle’s best friend, Hannah, asked Marcelle to cover for her. The next day, Hannah is missing, and Marcelle doesn’t know what to do.

Marcelle has been sober for just a couple of weeks, after drunkenly crashing her bike, ending up in the hospital, and being mandated to attend treatment at the Center. As part of her recovery process, she promised her parents she wouldn’t lie to them anymore – so now she feels like she can’t com
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bethany Miller
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: royal

Marcelle’s parents discovered her drinking problem when she crashed her bike and wound up in the hospital. Her doctor recommends treatment at the Center, and Marcelle becomes a member of the Peer Support Group for New Living. Group is not the kumbayah situation that Marcelle had expected, and her peers in the Group seem to think bullying is the path to sobriety. Marcelle has been sober for two weeks when she gets a text from her best friend Hannah asking Marcelle to cover for her - “Told Mom I’m
Ho-ly shit.

I always love it when I find gems in any genre, especially YA, but this book did something astounding by a LOT of genre's standards: It ACTUALLY CRITICIZED 12-Step abstinence-only alcohol rehab programs.

They actually talked about the cult-like aspects of it. (I am not, myself, an alcoholic- but I know people who are/have recovered, and they've got some real 12-step horror stories, let me tell you.)

They actually address the fact that some of the people who run these programs are ideol
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you HarperCollins for the free arc via edelweiss. I enjoyed this story but felt at times it was a little flawed. The parents treated the bike accident like it was as serious as a DUI where someone was killed. Many of us experimented in our youth and did stupid things. It didn't mean we were alcoholics and needed rehab. However, in this case Marcel did need therapy to understand why she was drinking so much to hide her feelings. The other part I struggled with was the group therapy run by k ...more
It was okay-- the kind of book that discusses the more realistic and raw elements of teen substance abuse and for this book Marcelle is an alcoholic (or alcohol use disorder) as mentioned in the back who is dealing with her impending sobriety by attending a group session under the direction of some pretty interesting counselors and meeting interesting people in the mix.

Meanwhile the inconsistency of Marcelle's recovery leads to the mystery of the disappearance of Hannah. It's a hard-fought kind
Jul 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019-read
This book has too much going on, too many flawed characters, too much tough love that was just another word for bullying and resolutions happened in less than 10 pages while the story meandered got lost took a turn at a new story forgot about the orginial story and I dont care how it ended
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, edelweiss
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

What would you do if your best friend asks you to cover for her? What would you do if covering for her - lying for her - means holding back facts that could help her be found when she goes missing? Answering these questions is difficult enough for a teenager trying to figure out the world. They’re made more difficult for Marcelle, who is struggling through her new found sobriety.

I struggled with how to rate this book because
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very quick read. I don’t have a ton of sympathy for the main character. She comes off as selfish and shallow. I have trouble finding any of her motives as being genuinely for the good of anyone but herself.
Sandie, Teen Lit Rocks
Solid book about teen addiction and the enabling of it.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Blazed through this. Emotionally honest and raw. Feels very true
Kirsten Graham
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Whew. Intense and dark. But a true page turner, I couldn’t put it down.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
The premise is compelling but the execution didn't deliver a convincing story for me. ...more
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book, I loved the characters and the mystery and it was such a great story!
Rhiannon Rabby
Jan 02, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found the characters and the story itself to be quite unlikeable. As someone who found sobriety at a very young age, I was certain I would love it.. But that just wasn’t the case.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: edelweiss, arc
2.5 stars

This book was just okay. While it dealt with some pretty heavy content and things that should have quite an impact on the reader, it just didn’t for me. I went through the entire book in a very detached way. Reading about these kids and being curious about what happened, not not really feeling much or caring completely. This book failed to completely draw me in and I just wasn’t as connected to the story or the characters as I would have liked.

There’s not much more for me to really say.
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ya
After riding on a dangerous path through the woods while drunk, Marcelle crashed her bike under a neighbor's parked car. Her alcohol use finally catching up with her, Marcelle is forced to attend rehab sessions at the Center after being discharged from the hospital. Being labeled an alcoholic isn't the easiest, especially considering her friends are into much worse things. With her parents on high alert for missteps, it seems like Marcelle can do no right. Even her peers at the Center don't full ...more
rated it it was amazing
Jun 03, 2019
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