Be True to Meby Adele Griffin
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Historical
It's the summer of 1976 on Fire Island, where feathered hair and the Bicentennial celebration reign. Jean, a sometimes cruel, often insecure, and always envious rich girl, is accustomed to living in her glamorous older sister’s shadow. So when Gil Burke, a handsome newcomer with uncertain ties to one of the most powerful families in the exclusive enclave of Sunken Haven, notices Jean—not her sister—Jean is smitten. Then Fritz, a girl from outside the gilded gates who humiliated Jean in the Island’s tennis championship last year, falls for Gil herself. Soon the girls are competing for much more than a tennis trophy, with higher stakes than either of them can imagine.
Told through the alternating perspectives of Jean and Fritz, as they experience feeling like an outsider and first love.
This story follows two girls during the summer where they travel to Sunken Island to stay. Jean is a girl from the upper class whose family has been on Sunken Island for years. Jean is finally spending the summer without her over bearing big sister and feels this is her summer. Fritz comes to the island to stay with a family friend every summer. Jean and Fritz have had some history with a tennis tournament last summer. Now Jean and Fritz are at it again for Gil’s attention a newcomer to Sunken Island.
Things I enjoyed in the book was how we did get multiple perspectives. The book is told alternating between Jean and Fritz so we get to look at the island from two different perspectives. Jean is brought up in a wealthy family so she has always had a lot handed to her. Fritz is from a military family so she is used to moving around and at Sunken Island she feels part of something.
The author does a great job creating the island environment as well as the hierocracy. The author explains who a lot of people are and their importance to the society in the book. I felt like the author also did a great job with all the details in the book she took her time to go back to 1976 lifestyle. The author also did a great job with how the story flowed I was easily able to follow along and figure out what was going on. I didn’t have any lingering questions by the end of the book.
Jean was an interesting character in this book. Although she did have some character flaws I felt she was never portrayed in the right light until the end. I did feel like Jean had some jealousy in her, but she did try and overcome in and was continually put back into the bad situation. Jean could look at herself and evaluate what was going on, which I feel is very challenging for a person to do. I felt like Jean did a lot of growing during the summer especially at the end of the book she matured so much you wouldn’t ever recognize her.
My major complaint was just with the story itself. We are introduced to Jean first in the book and she has her own set of issues that she is trying to overcome. As the story continues we get Fritz’s point of view. I just didn’t like how Jean was portrayed in this book at all. I felt like the author just didn’t like her and was always painting her in a negative light. I wanted a lot more from Jean and I was disappointed with how it was handled.
This book is one that could totally use a map in the front of it. When some of the action picks up I would have loved to look at a map and figure out exactly where everything was happening.
I would suggest this as a nighttime read. I was never fully engrossed in the book so I never felt like I had to keep reading. There were natural stopping points since the perspective was going back and forth so I could put the book down and come back.
I received a copy of this book from The Fantastic Flying Book Club to provide an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book.
My Rating: 3/5
"I know you spend half your time doing stuff that you spend the other half regretting."
"Fritz mattered, of course she did. But she didn't matter every single moment. Not this moment. Fritz has moved fast, but it wasn't over. The last set might have gone to Fritz, but there was still time to save the match."
"None of my thoughts where calm or rational, or even particularly same, but they were the right answer."
"Why does it feel like you're fishing for compliments here? You know how crazy I am for you. But I'm not gonna say I don't think Jean's sweet or nice or a good time -- because she is."
"My parents were right; I had been hiding. But it felt worse to be part of things."
"Tonight suddenly felt painful, like the end of something, or the beginning of something."
"Rip currents are a chance of the ocean's heart."
"I am ready to be anybody, just as long as I change."
Adele Griffin is the highly acclaimed author of almost thirty books for Young Adult and middle grade readers.Her works include the National Book Award Finalists Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, as well as the popular Oodlethunks series for younger readers. Her latest novel The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone was a YALSA Best Book of 2015, an Amazon Best YA Book of the Year, a Booklist Top Ten Arts Books for Youth, a Junior Library Guild selection, a Romantic Times Finalist for Book of the Year, and a School Library Journal Top Fiction pick. Her latest novel Be True to Me is publishing in June 2017 with Algonquin Books.