True by Erin McCarthy
Series: True Believers #1
Also in this series: Shatter
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: May 7th 2013
Genres: New Adult
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A New Adult novel from USA Today bestselling author Erin McCarthy
When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.
Tyler has told Rory that he’s not good enough for her. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t seem to stay away from her, and even when Rory knows she should push him away, something about him makes it nearly impossible for her to resist—even though her heart is at stake…
Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…
I really liked Rory and Tyler. They were both caregivers in their own way and took care of each other. Rory was such a cute little nerd. I loved how logical she was. Growing up with just her scientist father really stifled her, I think. She was funny and irreverent but only around those she was truly comfortable, like her two roommates, Jessica and Riley. They saw how she really was and wanted to see her gain some confidence, which is why they hired Tyler to take her virginity after she confesses she still has it.
Tyler, it turns out, has been eyeing Rory since he met her. He thinks she’s funny and quirky and wants to get to know her better. Because she’s shy and always acted reserved around him, he never pursued it. Now that he took her home and spent some time with her, he really steps up his game. He’s had a pretty rotten upbringing with an alcoholic, drug addict mother. He’s trying to pull himself out of the mire and take care of his younger brothers – with the help of his older brothers – but it’s hard. He doesn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a relationship, but Rory makes things better for him. He was pretty great, honestly. He did his best to be responsible and take care of his mom and brothers. He made some mistakes along the way, but he was kind and respectful and I really liked him.
The problem with the book is the roommates. A) they paid someone to have sex with her. Hello. And b) they did this after she was almost raped. The first is a problem, but the second nearly killed the book for me.
Rory was at a party waiting for her roommates to finish banging their guys in the bedrooms when the guy she’s waiting with – and kind of fantasizing about – starts in about how much he wants Jessica and then starts kissing Rory. She tries to pull away but he doesn’t realize it and essentially forces her into almost giving him a blowjob. Like, his dick was out of his pants and he was shoving her face toward it while she was struggling to get him to stop. At that point, one of the guys, Tyler, comes out of the bedroom, sees what’s happening and puts a stop to it.
Rory is understandably upset. She almost just had her face raped. Her roommates come out and are like, “OMG! That’s horrible! OMG! Are you okay!?! OMG!” as they should. Except then Rory says she wants to go home and they’re like, “Oh. Okay. It’s too cold to go outside but I’m sure Tyler will drive you home. Buh-bye.” Y’all, I’m not even playing. They flat told her it was too cold to go outside and she should catch a ride with a stranger she knew nothing about, alone. After she was almost raped.
When she gets home she’s pretty drunk and ends up passing out. When she wakes up, the same random guy is sitting on her bed watching her sleep. He was just, you know,making sure she was okay. When she questions him about her roommates he says they went to get breakfast, no big deal. Hey, she was almost just raped. Let’s leave her alone with a random guy, right? The same random guy who was screwing one of the roommates the night before and who, unbeknownst to Rory, they’ve now hired to deflower her.
My head almost exploded. I’m not even kidding.
I kept reading because it’s revealed shortly thereafter (they think Rory is asleep and talk about the situation while she’s in the room) that they paid Tyler to sleep with her. I wanted to see how Rory would react and what would happen. While I’m glad I continued on with the story since Rory and Tyler turned out to be great characters together, I don’t know that I want to continue on with the series. Neither Jessica nor Riley earned feelings of goodwill from me and I don’t know that I can stomach reading their books. I’m reserving judgement for the time being.
The other thing I disliked was how abruptly the story ended. I actually expected the next book to be a continuation of this one, based on the way it ended. I would have liked to see a bit more of their relationship after they reconciled. A novella about them wouldn’t be remiss.
While the actions of the secondary characters really marred my enjoyment, I can’t deny I liked both Rory and Tyler, and the way their relationship progressed. It was kind of sad, emotionally charged, sweet and entertaining, all at once.
3.5 out of 5
(I probably would have rated this 4.25 without the roommates)