Author: Jacob Z. Flores
Narrator: Mark Westfield
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 8 Hours and 40 Minutes
At a glance: This book hit all the right notes in all the right places.
Reviewed By: Amy
Blurb: Truman L. Cobbler has not had an easy life. It’s bad enough people say he looks like Donkey from Shrek, but he’s also suffered the death of his policeman father and his mother’s remarriage to a professional swindler, who cost them everything. Now dirt poor, they live in the barrio of San Antonio, Texas. When Tru transfers to an inner-city high school halfway through his senior year, he meets Javi Castillo, a popular and hot high school jock. Javi takes an immediate liking to Tru, and the two become friends. The odd pairing, however, rocks the school and sets the cliquish social circles askew. No one knows how to act or what to think when Mr. Popular takes a stand for Mr. Donkey. Will the cliques rise up to maintain status quo and lead Tru and Javi to heartbreak and disaster or will being true to who they are rule the day?
Review: Being True hit all the right notes in all the right places. First, let’s talk about Truman. How I adore this young man. He is the underdog that everyone roots for. In the opening sequence, I just wanted to take Rance and beat him. Javi Castillo, the boy/man we all hope to find and fall in love with—could he be more perfect?
What makes this story work is the well-built, believable relationship between Javi and Tru. Flores does an amazing job of telling this story through Tru’s eyes, but allows you to see Javi fall in love too. He weaves a wonderful supporting cast in the Castillo’s, and Tru’s mother, and a mouthy Goth chick who befriends Tru. Take all of those things, add the pressure of high school and just the basics of growing up, and what you are left with is a memorable coming-of-age story where the buildup and crescendo are well worth the wait. I would love a revisit of this couple in the future and even would love an update on Rance, who is the villain but also just a scared young kid, not sure of his place in the world.
Narration: I adored this book and when I saw that Mark Westfield was narrating, I was so stinkin’ excited. I am familiar with Mark from the THIRDS series, and know of his narration skills. He definitely brought his A-game for this book. He is such a talented narrator. Something as simple as a scene between Javi and Tru, where they are throwing the ball, is made more authentic because Westerfield makes Javi sound like he is farther away than Tru. I have heard a lot of great narrators of late, but Mark is by far my favorite, and he took this story to the next level.
You can buy Being True here: