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Three Things I Know Are True
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Three Things I Know Are True

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,025 ratings  ·  240 reviews
This moving debut novel in verse about a teenage girl dealing with the aftermath of an accident that nearly takes her brother’s life is a stunning exploration of grief and the power of forgiveness.

The reminder is always there—a dent on the right side of Jonah’s forehead. The spot you’d press when you felt a headache coming on. The bullet tore away bone, the way dynamite bl
Hardcover, 469 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by HarperTeen
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Melanie  Brinkman
"Trust your hands and they'll lead you where you'll need to go."

Five months ago, Liv's brother, Jonah, shot himself.

It was an accident, but the damage was done. Now he can't speak, can't walk, can't ever leave their small town like he planned to. Their house becomes full of machines and nurses working to keep Jonah alive. Their mother struggles to cope with the aftermath, so Liv becomes Jonah's protector, the one to see the carefree brother that's still inside him somewhere.

Liv hasn't spoken to
This book is a truly stunning debut. Yes, it's a story about gun violence, but it isn't only a battle cry for reform. At the heart of it, it's a novel about the resiliency of siblings and the necessity of finding someone who understands what you're going through. This is a must-read story that will warm your heart and break it at the same time. ...more
This book was heartbreaking and I loved it. I cried the entire time I read this book, I’m pretty sure that my brother is convinced that something happened to me, which it did, this book tore out my heart and stomped on it.
I loved the fact that it was written in verse because I don’t think that it would have been the same effect if it was written in a paragraph format. It would still have been sad but the sense of urgency would have been harder to get.
Layla (Between the Lines)
But trust your hands
and they'll lead you
where you need to go.

Three Things I Know Are True is a story told completely in verse, which only makes it so much more impressive when you consider the heavy subject matter. Heartbreak and hope are simultaneously splattered on every page, line after line, thought after thought. This is a book you can read quickly—but you won't want to. You'll want to take your time.

Disclaimer: I received this ARC from HCC Frenzy because I requested it. All thoughts and op
Susan's Reviews
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is written in free verse style. Although I am generally not fond of stories told in verse (I blame The Canterbury Tales and Beowulf!) I really enjoyed the flow of this narrative style. It was shaped like a a long, continuous verse, but read very much like a regular novel.

Liv, her older brother Jonah and their neighbour Clay are friends. One day, Jonah is playing around with one of Clay's dad's handguns when it goes off and severely injures him.

This time, Jonah's typical tom-foolery ch
Liza Wiemer
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
I received an ARC through my local indie bookstore.

Goofing off. That's what Liv's brother was doing when he picked up a gun, held it up to his temple and pulled the trigger. Author Betty Culley takes a painful, tragic, heartbreaking situation and brings it to the reader in an eloquent, lyrical, and touching story. Using free verse poetry, Betty shares the journey that Liv and her family go through after her older brother Jonah makes a tragic mistake in judgment.
So many things left me in awe of
Sabrina Ye
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25 stars.

me: yay I love heartbreaking books

also me: why am I always doing this to myself?
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking yet beautiful story about a horrible mistake and the toll it took on everyone involved. I'm really starting to enjoy books told in verse. It adds so much to the experience. ...more
DNF at 56%
I'm not even going to waste my time writing a fully coherent review, but I please know this: I was not a fan of this one, at all.

I really shouldn't have read it. After all, its a novel in verse, and the only one I've ever enjoyed is Laurie Halse Anderson's Shout. The problem is I didn't even know it WAS a novel in verse until I began reading it. I was hoping for a relevant, worthy discussion on gun violence, but what I got instead was a very boring, repetitive story which thought it
Kelly Hager
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You should know going in that this is a novel in verse. It would've worked as prose, too, but the fact that it's also poems gives a sort of sense of unreality to what's going on (this isn't quite right phrase, but it's closest to what I mean). It's perfect for Liv, who keeps losing the ability to hear since her brother shot himself. When I say that, I don't mean that she's ever deaf. But when people talk, it's sort of like in the Peanuts cartoons where adults talk but they don't really make any ...more
Brenna Clark
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you so much to Edelwiess for this ARC! I think I've mentioned this in a review before but it couldn't hurt repeating; I absolutely love novels written in verse. There's just something about the medium that feels so incredibly personal and emotional, and I find it so direct and to the point because you don't have to wade through a lot of extra words to get to the heart of the thing. That's all this novel is; heart. We see the world through Liv's eyes as she attempts to adjust to life after ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I know how expensive it is
to be helpless.
How many things don't count
as necessary.
A wheelchair ramp
A wheelchair van
clothes, air-conditioning, prayer cards.
Everything has to be for my brother now.
Jonah doesn't ask for anything,
but he needs everything."

Three Things I Know Are True is a powerful novel about Liv, her brother Jonah, their friend Clay, and the day that, while horsing around, Jonah finds a gun in Clay's house. And it's about the many days, weeks, and months after. After Liv's mom is fo
Melissa (honeybee.reads)
First off I want to thank #partner @hccfrenzy, @harpercollinsca & @bettyculley for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start by telling you this book is written in verse, so if you're not a fan of that writing style this book may not be for you. I truly enjoyed this heartfelt emotional ride. 

Culley really has a talent in creating such a beautiful story only in verses. Oddly enough the characters were so believable, relatable and easy to love. The story is very touching, bu
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Liv is the kind of quirky and compelling character that will stay with the reader long after the book is closed. She is my favorite young female protagonist since Scout Finch! Like all good books, I was hooked from the first page and when I emerged hours later I was completely wrung out, full of heartbreak and hope, entering the world haunted by the experience. An excellent and well-crafted story!
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Beautiful, haunting, heartbreaking. A novel in verse I know I won’t soon forget.
Katie (Kitkatscanread)
Oh my goodness!
What a beautiful story told in verse.
I was laughing, smiling, angry, sad and tearful.
It broke me and was so bittersweet at times.
This was amazing.
Definitely preorder this now!
Courtney Lavallee
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, arcs
Thank you, Harpercollins for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

I normally don't read poetry or books written in verse. I have dabbled slightly this year in poetry, so I figured this book might also be a good place to dip my toes into the genre.

In this book, we follow Liv whose older brother accidentally shot himself while hanging out with his best friend. This book shows how there are two sides to every conflict, as well as how problems can divid
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant debut. I loved it.
Alex Richards
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book consumed me from the first page to the last. My heart broke for Liv, the main character, and everything that she and the characters around her have endured. Culley's writing is exquisite and achingly beautiful; her story is told so quietly, so carefully, and so profoundly. As a novel-in-verse, it is a fairly quick read, but one that I will never ever forget. I still find myself thinking about it. About the small details of the friendship between Liv and Clay. About the pain and angst f ...more
Gillian French
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
-bursting with compassion.
-driven by sheer narrative flow.
-shattering in the best possible way.
I tore through this arc in just a few days, and not because the subject matter is fluffy or easy; quite the opposite. Sophomore Liv's life has been ripped out at the roots by the tragic accidental shooting of her brother, Jonah, the risk taker of the family. Now, Jonah is wheelchair bound, reliant on machines and nurses to keep him alive; Liv is one hundred percent devot
Megan White
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so grateful to have received an arc of Three Things I know are True by Betty Culley. Thank you @harpercollinsca and @bettyculley.

This book was so so sweet. I loved how it was written in prose. It flowed so naturally. I’ve learned that this style of writing really works for me. I felt more emotion where it needed to be.

This made me cry, laugh, angry and feel all the things in between.

I loved Jonah. I don’t know who possibly couldn’t.

There was nothing simple about this book, it was full of
Parker J
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
And I wonder if this is how
a heart sounds
when it’s full.

Oh boy. This was just fantastic. It was beautifully crafted! Such great writing, plotting, and characters! Betty Culley is an author to watch! I’m so sad this is her debut and I can’t go and devour a hundred more books by her.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really and truly loved this book with all my soul.

Wonderful novel-in-verse about a girl living in the aftermath of her brother's horrific accident. Culley did a wonderful job creating characters I will forever remember.

Note: this book made me sob on an airplane.
Kailyn Bettle
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three Things I Know are True is a beautiful exploration of the impacts a tragic event has on everyone involved.

Liv’s life was completely changed the day her brother, Jonah, accidentally shot himself. It happened at his best friend Clay’s house with Clay’s father’s gun. After the accident, Liv’s mother blames Clay’s father and forces Clay and Liv apart in the process. Her mother’s grief also forces Liv to take on a tremendous amount of responsibility in caring for Jonah. While doing so, Liv begi
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully rendered poems tell the story of Liv's life in the aftermath of a gun accident that renders her brother paralyzed. Real, measured exploration of a timely issues of guns and home health-care in a way that will no doubt provoke thoughtful discussion in classrooms that will help people get into the gray areas of issues often rendered in black and white.

The setting is expertly rendered and real, small towners the world over will recognizes themselves in Culley's characters and those fro
Emily Fox
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had not realised going in to this book that it was written entirely in poems, and it was gorgeous. The development of the plot was so intricately woven through the verses and the style really worked well to convey the emotions the main character was experiencing.
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to have read an early version of Betty Culley's, THREE THINGS I KNOW ARE TRUE. As a reader who is fairly new to novels-in-verse, this book really made me a believer in the format. The plot, pace and character arcs, move like the ebb and flow of a river—sometimes the words swish by in subtle ways, sometimes they rush and knock you over, until your heart is overflowing with emotions. The main character Liv, is well rounded and believable. She's a fierce protector, and oftentimes ...more
Vickie Limberger
I loved reading Three Things I Know Are True. I loved the story in verse. It flows so easily it can be read in one sitting. A very moving and emotional story centered around a family that has experienced a tragedy. Liv, the main character, has powerful relationships with the other characters in the book, including one she feels she shouldn't but really wants to. While reading this story I laughed, cried, got angry, and cried again. This is a story of family, friendship, and community. There is s ...more
Melanie Ellsworth
I love Betty's writing, her beautiful metaphors, quiet tone, and the way the verse flows. Her characters feel like people I'd want to have as friends, and their relationships with each other feel authentic. The verse format softens the traumatic subject matter and makes this very readable. It's an extremely compelling read about an incredibly important topic. ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book has me so emotional. Liv is such a beautiful soul. Her love for her brother is so massive. Jonah’s state after the accidental gunshot that leaves him incapacitated is heartbreaking. The sweet, quiet relationship that blooms between Liv and the neighbor Clay who was present at the shooting is breathtaking. Liv’s friendships - with the nurses, with the homeschooled boy Hunter, with the girls at school - are so poignant and real. And the way that Culley undercuts all of it with the r ...more
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