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True Story

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  2,874 ratings  ·  588 reviews
Tracing the fifteen-year fallout of a toxic high school rumor, a riveting, astonishingly original debut novel about the power of stories—and who gets to tell them

2015. A gifted and reclusive ghostwriter, Alice Lovett makes a living helping other people tell their stories. But she is haunted by the one story she can't tell: the story of, as she puts it, "the things that hap
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Viking
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,874 ratings  ·  588 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wowza! We have a real genius author in literature town who made me truly gobsmacked, speechless! I’m sucker punched, paralyzed, sitting on the floor( because the author pulled out from under me) and raising my glass for true intelligence, creative, unique, extremely original writing style!

Yes, my friends, this underrated, hidden gem earned my five gazillion you fooled me twice and shame on me stars!

The story starts in high school, two popular lacrosse team members raped a private school girl w
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
as promised, a photographic update. it is also my birthday week, so i'm counting this as a present!

tadaaa!!! because plague, book tours aren't happening, so kate reed petty did a postcard tour instead! there were options - i chose one from the cabin sequence for reasons obvious to anyone who's read the book, and i love it!

it reminds me of home but ALSO gives me chills, for reasons obvious to anyone who's read the book. please do not laugh at how inexpertly i affixed mine into the book with my (
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Well, hot DANG, that final reveal was one the best-written reveals I have ever read!!! That reveal made the whole story for me, and I loved how the story came together with that reveal.

True Story is an original, complicated, compelling, exciting thought-provoking story. If you love to delve into a story you will love this one! You will need to delve into it to benefit from the depth of the true story being explored here. The story starts with the truth or a rumour of a sexual assault, and we ar
Elyse  Walters
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
WENT IN BLIND....LOVED IT.....( belongs with the addictive types)

Traditional and non-traditional....
orthodox.....and unorthodox....
Radical....and open-minded.....
liberal.....and unconventional....
This cleverly written part psychological thriller...part cautionary tale....part sexual assault exploration....part examination of a malignant vindictive school rumor....
part coming of age...and part stories about stories...( through screenplays, and college admissions essays).

I can’t sit still! I can barely breathe! Okay, okay, I’m being all dramatic, I know. It’s just that this book is such a mind bender! When I swallowed the last page, I headed straight for my pogo stick, no bones about it. I knew my only option was to bounce.

The story starts in high school. A girl gets drunk, and two lacrosse boys drop her off on her doorstep. What happened that night affects a few students, who suffer silently for years. Two of these students become writers. I will sa
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Imagine that your a 17 year old girl at the most legendary party, completely intoxicated, hardly able to even stand. Imagine getting a ride home by two lacrosse players. One driving and one who cozies up to you in the back seat. You've completely passed out. You are left on your porch with a lacrosse jacket laid across you. That's what you remember.

Imagine finding out that while you were passed out in that back seat that these two boys sexually assaulted you. You don't have any recollections at
Wow. Just wow. This will easily make my Top Books of 2020.

I think it will largely benefit everyone to go into this as blind as possible. The only thing I would note is that there could be TW for sexual assault, alcoholism and psychological abuse. I finished this two weeks ago and it hasn't left my mind since. It is completely unique and straddles a couple of genres. It's relayed in multiple formats (first person narrative, emails, screen plays, etc.) and that might bother some. It jumps around
Erin (from Long Island, NY)
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(4.5 rounded up!) The audio was great!! This isn't the typical thriller i go for, but it was so good- i tore through it! Such a unique format... The pov's felt so real, truly expertly done. I can't wait to see what this author does next! ...more
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I actually need to pick up the book at the library before I review this one. I listened to the audio and I'm not entirely sure I understood the ending. Hold, please...

I'm back and I have to say that this one is best on paper. After holding the physical book in my hands, I flipped back and forth and ended up practically rereading it. Bold and original, I'd suggest going into this blind. This one is very different, but it will make sense in the end.
4 stars
The premise of True Story is simple and timely. In 1999, a couple of teen boys drive a passed-out drunk girl, Alice, home from a party. Afterwards, they brag to friends about assaulting her; later, they'll claim that story was made up. Alice herself can't remember that night, so she can never be sure which version of the story is true. It almost doesn't matter: her sense of self is defined by it anyway; it echoes down the years throughout her entire life. The book follows Alice for 17 years – or ...more
I received an ARC of True Story from Hatchette Australia and these are my thoughts.

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, abuse, alcoholism

I am sitting here for the past 20 minutes trying to decide how to start this review and I am coming up empty. I can’t think of the right preface to really express my feelings about True Story. I personally thought it was brilliant; a thought provoking, captivating book, which will occupy your thoughts days after you finish it.

That being said, I want to make so
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
True Story is a genre-defying novel most appropriately described as literary crime and is also Kate Reed Petty’s gripping feminist debut, and I can't help but feel we will be hearing a lot more about her in the future. It follows Alice Lovett, a gifted and reclusive ghostwriter, who makes a living helping other people tell their stories. But she is haunted by the one story she cannot tell: the story of, as she puts it, "the things that happened while I was asleep." Back in 1999, Nick Brothers an ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
An impressive genre-blending debut, and one I think will be best enjoyed by going in pretty much blind. I devoured this in just a few hours, finding it near impossible to put down. The premise: it's the year 2000 and a teenage girl, Alice, is sexually assaulted by two young men after a party. The narrative then follows her - and a guy, Nick (who was at the party but not directly involved) in the immediate aftermath and then 8 years after the incident. The blurb describes it as "by turns a campus ...more
Maximilian Birner
While I praise True Story for its uniqueness and its message, it really isn't the full package for me.

My biggest complaint of True Story is how it doesn't feel like a complete story. While I enjoyed reading through the horror/thriller screenplays and draft essays, we really only got a STORY at the beginning and end of the book. It seemed like there was supposed to be a twist ending, but revealing new details about the plot at the last fifty pages really didn't do it for me.

It was hard for me to
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-releases
Was just sitting with this book more and exchanging messages about how it left me feeling and dropped by review down to a 2⭐️

I again recognize the unique way in which the book was written weaving together tradition story, fever dream insanity, the college essay and screenplay devices. But I just cannot get past that ending.

I still plan to do some more research on the author and hopefully gain some insight into her story decisions, but I don't think any of that will wash away the truly g
Caitlin Flynn
Aug 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie (readingwithkt)
UPDATED: The more I have thought about this book, the more I realise how unhelpful it is to the #MeToo movement and, generally, to survivors of sexual assault. If you want to understand why I've come to that conclusion, I would recommend reading Chapter 5 'Case Study: The Boy in the Shower' in Malcolm Gladwell's non-fiction book 'Talking to Strangers', which discusses the link between sexual violence, trauma and memory.

I've deleted my original review so I can share this review publicly.

Please ta
Roman Clodia
A timely story about male privilege, he said/she said, misunderstandings and who controls the narrative. It frequently has a YA feel as the central events happen when characters are in high school and they don't really seem to age as they get older. Structurally, this follows a 'found footage' template with film scripts, college applications, and a postmodern sleight-of-hand at the end. All of which doesn't obscure the fact that the material has been done before, important as it is. Interesting ...more
True Story by Kate Reed Petty is a extremely different kind of book as it's basically a mixed genre kind of book, which I must admit I didn't get that Oh My God feeling once I finished,I felt there was something missing.
It's written in many different types of writing from normal story telling to email form and to film script which is done very cleverly.
The storyline is a very simple one of a romour, ownership which then takes life of its own and we watch how it grows and changes the characters l
Evie Braithwaite
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, arc, mystery
True Story is a cleverly written and timely novel about rumoured sexual assault, misunderstandings, and how it shapes the lives of those involved. ⁣

It all begins when a couple of teenage boys drive Alice home from one of their ‘legendary’ parties as she lies blindly drunk in the back of their car. Afterwards, they brag to their friends about assaulting her, only to later claim that they made the whole thing up. ⁣

Meanwhile, horror-story-aficionada Alice doesn’t remember a thing; which version o
Stacy Fetters
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
"The world is scary. It’s not hard to imagine Pennywise from IT hiding under my bathroom sink."

What caught my attention about this book first was the cover. And I know you’re never supposed to judge a book by its cover but I do it a lot. After reading the synopsis, I knew that this was a book that I needed to read immediately.

We hear about similar situations too much in our times (I wish this wasn’t the case) but it’s true. People attend a party thrown by a popular sports team, drinks are throw
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance reading copy of this. The proof had 4 possible covers, each of which I disliked, but I was intrigued by the concept of the novel not fitting into one genre. That being said, I'm not big into gimmicky things and was slightly put off by the decision to give the book 4 different covers - and after reading it, I feel that that decision did the book a disservice. The hype actually damaged the book in my opinion. I was completely underwhelmed.

The story and concept were good enoug
Liz Barnsley
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
True Story was one of the most quietly absorbing and oft disturbing novels I’ve read in years – defying any attempt to classify it within genre, just when you grasp it, it changes direction and feel whilst always staying true to the story being told.

One night something happens. What exactly that is soon gets lost in the mists of time, what True Story does is take you on a character driven, memory fuelled journey through the aftermath lives of those involved. Cause and effect run through the nar
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fact or fiction? This genre-bending debut novel is difficult to pin down. Is it a cautionary tale about teenage drinking and hookups? Is it a book about bullying and peer pressure? Alcoholism? There were times, especially in the first section that I just wanted to stop reading. It was like watching a train wreck. And then part two is a total horror flick. Keep reading. It will all come together in the end.

"Because storytelling doesn't belong only to perpetrators, and neither does having fun."
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
True Story is just amazing! I cannot believe what I just read. It's a genre-bending novel that gives me absolutely everything I need in a book. It has interesting characters, despair, horror, hope, love, feminism. It mixes all the subjects extraordinarily, surprises the reader with new ways to tell the story.

The story starts with a group of teenage boys, privileged and self-assured lacrosse players that just want to party. One of their parties triggers a rumour mill on what actually happened at
Oct 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
I loved the first half. After that, things got convoluted and I don't know what the point of it all was. I won't go into plot details, but I could even see this having a pernicious effect on certain readers. Ick. ...more
Kaffeeklatsch and Books
I had issues with this one.
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5+ out of 5.
Absolutely phenomenal debut. Using a mix of genres and POVs (not to mention some neat structural tricks), Kate Reed Petty delivers a riveting look at the ripple effects of a high school sexual assault and the ways in which rumor and storytelling can define our whole lives. I don't want to say too much because each twist and turn (not in a OMG-thriller! kind of way, rather... well, I never knew quite what to expect from one section to the next) is a delight to discover on one's own.
Jaclyn Crupi
Aug 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Proof gimmicks always make me nervous – this one has four covers. What are they compensating for? Remember all that holographic foil on the Cat Person proof! I loved parts of this and I didn’t love other parts. That’s the risk you run when you write a novel in different styles and forms and from different perspectives. Does it work as a whole? Does it become more than the sum of its parts? Sadly not.
Stacy Kingsley
Aug 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
I hate giving low stars, but this was a horrible book. Not only was it too disjointed to make it flow together, but at least half of the novel is a lie. It's not even a twist at the end, but an outright lie. One of the characters isn't even real to the novel. I disliked this book. I disliked the ending. What I truly disliked was the message, especially with women still not being believed or being blamed for their sexual assault. ...more
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