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The Truants

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  6,304 ratings  ·  897 reviews
People disappear when they most want to be seen.

Jess Walker has come to a concrete campus under the flat grey skies of East Anglia for one reason: To be taught by the mesmerizing and rebellious Dr Lorna Clay, whose seminars soon transform Jess's thinking on life, love, and Agatha Christie. Swept up in Lorna's thrall, Jess falls in with a tightly-knit group of rule-breakers
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published August 8th 2019)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,304 ratings  ·  897 reviews

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Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
never have i suffered such whiplash from a story before. the first half (or so) of this is probably worthy of 5 stars, but then it shockingly plummets to like a 3 (possibly even a 2).

there is a really wonderful build-up. the students appear to be mysterious, the professor seems to be allusive, the plot feels like its going to be thrilling, and the writing is downright beautiful at times. but then there is a sudden, dramatic shift and the illusion shatters.

the students arent mysterious, they ju

For some reason, I found myself thinking about the view of the golf course out of the bay windows at Milton View. How I’d stared at it for eighteen years, yearning for a bigger world to live in, thinking I could find it through books, clawing at make-believe in the hope I’d draw blood. Dear God, I thought with a sudden shiver. Was this the “real world” I’d been trying to find?

the name-drops to donna tartt and muriel spark are great bait, as though i needed any bait to read a ca
★★✰✰✰ 2 stars

This is the type of non-literary book that has literary aspirations...however, its laboured attempts to imbue its story and characters with a certain dose of moral ambiguity or depth ultimately fall flat.
In spite of its intriguing first few chapters The Truants soon followed the well-trodden path of similar campus/college novels: we have a main character who has a secret related to her past, she makes a new female friend who is more attractive and charming than she is, she falls f
Emily May
Jun 10, 2020 marked it as dnf
DNF - pg 115

This is what I get for only looking at the U.K. marketing:


If I had seen the U.S. cover and read the comparisons to The Secret History, I would have better understood what this book was aiming for, and that it wasn't a book for me. Instead, I thought I was getting some Agatha Christie-inspired thriller and a bit of a first love story.

This is the kind of book that is trying very hard to elevate itself above the level of a standard fun thriller into the realm of literary fiction. By do
Louise Wilson
Jess Walker is middle class and about to start university. She chose the university due to her obsession with the academic Lorna Clay, whose book "The Truants" is about writers having to push themselves to reach their goals. The Truants is about a clever group of misfits who yearn to break the rules.

The concept sounded just right. Young people trying to find themselves in each other. The book is told from Jess's point of view. There is the usual mix of campus stuff going on but some of it was no
Diane S ☔
Not going to rate since I only read twenty percent. Was attracted to the book because of the Agath Christie theme. It just seemed so slow, going nowhere in a timely manner.
Dannii Elle
Dark academia. Multiple mysteries. Untrustworthy cast of characters. This was definitely the book for me.

The Truants provides the readers an insight to the heady mind of a nineteen-year-old as she first ventures into the wide world outside of the stifling confines of family life. Our protagonist, Jess, journeys to university and experiences the sweet nectar of partial freedom that awaits her there. But something much more longed for also appears: Lorna Clay. Her idol, her new English professor a
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always check to see what Waterstones book of the month selections are and there fiction selection for June teally appealed.

The story follows Jess Walker during her first year at university, having enrolled because of her fascination of star professor Lorna Clay.
The course that the literacy professor is teaching focuses on the works of Agatha Christie.

There's plenty of mentions of Christie's most famous stories and they will get spoiled if you've not read them.
Whilst I was hoping for a fun whod
I had been saving this for a sunny day, and I read it on a sunny day, and it was perfect; my memories of it will forever be infused with a sort of glow that could've come from the weather or from the story – perhaps a combination of both. The Truants is another Secret-History-esque campus novel, this one set at the University of East Anglia, where deliberately bland protagonist Jess gets close to a lecturer she idolises and becomes embroiled in a thorny love triangle. (You know the drill, and yo ...more
Bill Kupersmith
There is a group on Goodreads devoted to discussing books like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. Some of us are so taken with the species that we have even written our own novels in imitation. Basically the plot unfolds in a school or university setting with a small group of student acolytes forming a cult surrounding a charismatic teacher. In the original it’s Julian, the professor of Greek. The students not only study Greek literature, they live it; in TSH it’s Euripides Bacchae, most appropri ...more
2.5 rounded up

The Truants refers to a book written by a somewhat mysterious professor at a British university. The main character is determined to get into the course taught by the professor, no matter the cost. It is also a nod to the students themselves and their exploration into "things forbidden." They will learn much about desire, obsession, and life as they explore these things and each other.

I wanted to like The Truants more than I did, sadly. There were portions of the book that were ou
Kate has written a prose to be remembered for a long time! We devoured the writings of The Truants with a dazzling moment, her stories are so interesting and elaborated really great! The dynamic of the secrets goes beyond of what we've read previously and makes the book so unique and flawless in its own way!
The mysteries are shocking and the characters are build in such a perfect way, their detailed life and emotions are so complexed! I loved the well crafted stories, all the characters were s
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Jess Walker experiences a lot during her first year of college. She has two main focuses - a love interest and a professor she idolizes. The love interest situation is complicated, and it's more of a love triangle than anything. The professor is Dr. Lorna Clay, and she's teaching a class on Agatha Christie that Jess is enrolled in. Jess soon starts to look to Lorna for advice and support.

This is a contemporary novel set on a college campus. There are mysterious happenings in the novel, but I wou
Tinichix (nicole)
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I want to preface my review with I really did enjoy this book. The mood of it. The characters. The ending. All of it as a whole. I also recognize I am in the minority with my enjoyment of it.

I also really wanted to review this without even mentioning “The Secret History” but to give a honest review with my genuine thoughts I just can’t. It is almost the cousin to “The Secret History”. Most praise for this book, even on the jacket cover, mention it. To me TSH is off the charts and it’s super har
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book The Truants is a Christmas gift to Jessica Walker from her uncle and this book changes her life irrevocably. Smitten with the authors work, Jess applies to the University of East Angelia so she can take the courses run by Professor Lorna Clay. These are based on the life and works of Agatha Christie which inspires Jessica and Lorna becomes her muse. Jessica makes friends with Georgie Duncan who is dating South African journalist in exile Alec Van Zanten. All these characters are misfit ...more
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
The Truants is a slow-moving, atmospheric, introspective read that gripped me from the beginning. Full of morally grey characters whose obsession with each other fuels their rashness, unfolding secret upon secret before our eyes, I could not get enough of this story full of twists and turns that I did predict but still was completely shocked by each reveal.

While it is incredibly slow-going— which may turn many people off from picking this up— I was invested with Jess’ infatuation with black hea
Roman Clodia
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my ideal summer/beach/switch-off reading: it's literate without being literary and has enough love, sex, desire, secrets, death, grief and obsession to keep the pages turning rapidly. Essentially this is a campus novel and a tale of growing up, and is excellent on depicting sexual chemistry and friendship.

There are lots of implausibilities most obviously the idea of a university lecturer becoming best friends with an 18 year old undergraduate she teaches so that they socialise and holida
Mar 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Characters: shallow and unrealistic. It’s impossible to care about any of them.

Pacing: slower than frozen molasses.

Dialogue: trite and pretentious.

Plot: insipid and horribly executed.

Ending: laughable and unbelievable. If it were a good novel, one might care about how stupid the ending is, but since it's so bad, one is not remotely surprised that the ending is commensurately awful.

Worst of all, this novel is just boring. It’s supposed to be a thriller. It is the exact opposite.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, 5-star-reads
I just turned the final page of this novel, closed my Kindle and breathed deeply the sharp night air snaking in from the open window, under and around my blinds. For the past six hours, and for an hour last evening, I had been shrouded in the blanket of oppressive closeness created by this author—an absolute heaviness that enveloped me and pressed down while chapter after chapter reeled out as if behind a gauzy curtain, just slightly out of focus. The effect is at once unsettling and alluring.

Betsy Decillis
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'm too old for this. ...more
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m in a bit of a campus novel zone and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. Weinberg delivers everything you want from this kind of novel; there’s just enough academic banter, sex, drugs, moody landscapes, and mystery. What I enjoyed most about The Truants was the bit of extra depth the Agatha Christie angle added. Weinberg doesn’t just write an engagingly plotty novel, she manages to weave into this an interesting exploration of Christie herself and her novels. It’s a novel which is interesti ...more
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Truants sounded right up my street with a cast of non-conforming rebel students, but I must admit that I was astounded to find this is Weinberg's debut novel as it's such an accomplished, original book. It revolves around main protagonist, Jess, and her current feelings of being the centre of attention when she has only ever blended into crowds seamlessly to become anonymous. Campus novels don't usually work out well for me as I'm not such a big fan but this had everything associated with th ...more
b e a c h g o t h
Imagine The Secret History was written by an author who wrote contemp fiction novels for middle aged housewives and this is that book.

I really really wanted to like this book - I mean she’s in university STUDYING AGATHA CHRISTIE. Hell yes right? Hell fucking no.


- the “omg” moment of her professor fucking Alec? Yeah, I thought that from day one so hardly a “reveal” or shock

- the abortion was the most intense part of this book, there’s no “fade to black” parts of this story it’s t
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
The title refers to a book written by an enigmatic instructor at a university located in East Anglia. It also refers to the characters’ desire to shatter norms as they find their place in the world. The main character and narrator, Jess, learns much about obsession and its ramifications on truth. This is an acceptable campus novel complete with the usual secrets, deceit, and tragedy. The most compelling portions centered on discussions of Agatha Christie, triangles and disappearances.
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
"Everything is poisonous, given in the right dose."

Jess Walker's life is just beginning: away from her large family for the first time she's come in to her own with a tight knit group of friends and a coveted spot in author Dr. Lorna Clay's course on Agatha Christie.

Her best friend Georgie is a wealthy beauty with a pill problem, Georgie's boyfriend Alec is a hearse-driving South African journalist, and Jess's boyfriend Nick is a handsome geologist completely devoted to her.  The group form an i
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.5 Stars - Fantastic Stars!

I put this book on my to-read list because some reviews had compared it to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, one of my absolute favorite books. This book does have strong similarities to that one, but it’s also so different and totally unique.

What immediately pulled me in was Weinberg’s writing. It’s so descriptive and full of life. The writing in and of itself makes this at least a 2.5-3 star book. I couldn’t put it down.

The plot of this one is tricky for me to desc
Leslie Ray
Jun 10, 2020 rated it liked it
If I had to choose one word for this book, I think that 'betrayal' would be the one I would pick. I chose this book because I thought it centered around Agatha Christie as part of classroom discussions and the obvious references to her mysteries meant that maybe it would be a mystery itself. I was slightly off base. The protagonist, Jess, is just not quite charismatic enough to carry the complicated "triangle" she becomes a part of and to attract the attention of what is supposed to be a celebri ...more
Maine Colonial
Mar 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller, dnf, novel
This is a DNF for me. Maybe I would have continued to slog through it if I didn't have loads of other enticing books to switch to. But I kept finding myself wasting time on other things rather than picking up the book to read. The characters aren't believable or relatable, the writing is odd sometimes and boring most of the time. Let's just say it's no The Secret History. ...more
Liz Barnsley
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this.

It is a book with a love triangle at the heart of it, but an unexpected one. It is a coming of age story where age comes upon the characters in darkly observant ways. A page turner that is also a literary delight, multi faceted in character and plot, it engages both in entertaining and intelligent ways.

I fell for Jess, for all the ways life sought to change her and for the edgy, incalculable Georgie, their friendship is utterly compelling even as it is betrayed. Between these two si
Josephine Quealy
I'm giving this book two stars for two reasons, one star for each reason:

(1) because I started reading it and was immediately struck with how awfully ordinary the writing was and the dialogue was just, lidderally, unbelievable - oh my god, like, even if you were still in uni and a complete twit and you heard someone talking like some of these characters then you'd look at the people with you and roll your eyes or make gagging sounds/movements or both and if they did the same back then you'd know
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