True Story by Kate Reed Petty

Title: True Story

Author: Kate Reed Petty

Pub Date: August 4th, 2020

My Rating: ★★★★★

View on Goodreads

Inventive, electrifying and daring, True Story is a novel like nothing you’ve ever read before.

After a college party, two boys drive a girl home: drunk and passed out in the back seat. Rumours spread about what they did to her, but later they’ll tell the police a different version of events. Alice will never remember what truly happened. Her fracture runs deep, hidden beneath cleverness and wry humour. Nick – a sensitive, misguided boy who stood by – will never forget.

That’s just the beginning of this extraordinary journey into memory, fear and self-portrayal. Through university applications, a terrifying abusive relationship, a fateful reckoning with addiction and a final mind-bending twist, Alice and Nick will take on different roles to each other – some real, some invented – until finally, brought face to face once again, the secret of that night is revealed.

Startlingly relevant and enthralling in its brilliance, True Story is by turns a campus novel, psychological thriller, horror story and crime noir, each narrative frame stripping away the fictions we tell about women, men and the very nature of truth. It introduces Kate Reed Petty as a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction.

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 this party, what was done and who is telling the truth. We catch up with the group later in their lives, when they are struggling with a whole new set of difficulties, all still in a way haunted by the events following the party.

I am amazed at the ease of the author to portray the male privilege of the events, how easily the story ended with a pat on the back and “boys will be boys”. I could so clearly imagine those boys, and how they were justifying their actions. Later we get the horrifyingly good portrayal of alcoholism and abuse in a relationship. The story is perfectly developed and brings us closer to the characters. Even when there is not much action, the story is rich in characters thoughts and feelings. I was falling deep into the story and I couldn’t stop reading. The ending highlights perfectly why we need to tell our stories, why we need to tell the true story.

Brilliant read, highly recommend to everyone. It is a mix of literary genres put together with prose, essays and movie script that together creates an amazing, timely story.

One thought on “True Story by Kate Reed Petty

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    This sounds truly as genre-bending as you described it, since you report that part of the narrative comes from different forms like movie scripts: I’m intrigued by this story and will certainly keep it in mind for future forays outside of my preferred genres.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂


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