Title: True Letters from a Fictional Life
Author: Kenneth Logan
Publication: June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.
But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.
He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?
I received a digital review copy of this book from HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
“If you ain’t scared standing up for what’s right, then you ain’t standing up for much.”
– Not Mark Twain
True Letters from a Fictional Life is about James Lidell, a closeted jock who is having a difficult time with coming out to his family, friends and his sort of girlfriend, Teresa. All his life, James believed he is straight but not until he started to like boys. Coming out isn’t easy especially for James who prefers to keep his thoughts to himself. Aside from his “secret identity”, he never really voices out his opinion about most things but instead, he writes them down through letters he never intends to send to whom they’re addressed to.
And of course, it goes out in the world anyway because life is ironic.
James is a reliable narrator. I love the transparency of his voice through his thoughts and his letters. He might not be as “transparent” when it comes to certain things and to certain people, but everything behind the facade is made clear the readers, making this book such an enjoyable and engaging read.
The pacing was quick and never boring, every part was kept interesting and that’s with the help of such a diverse set of characters. I love how not everything was about James. There were also the struggles of the minor characters that affects the whole plot and how it reflects through James’s letters.
True Letters of a Fictional Life is a great read. It deals with different issues. Aside from it being a coming out story, it also deals with stereotyping, bullying, friendship, family relationships and more.
P.S. I’m hating myself for writing such a short review for this book and that I haven’t gone through a lot of things so I’ll just have to give you reasons to read this book:
1.) James is a sweetheart.
2.) Awesome friends = awesome characters
3.) Engaging writing style.
4.) It’s something you haven’t read before.
5.) If you’re still not convinced, that’s the best reason to pick up this book.
“It’s only out of tune if you accept someone else’s definition of what’s in tune.”
I’ve always wanted to wake up one day in a world where I liked the right people, and they liked me in return. I worry it’ll never happen.
“I’ve always been told that I’m straight. And that’s the story I was trying to make happen. I didn’t come up with the lie. It wasn’t mine. They handed the lie to me, and I tried like hell to make it work for a while.”
Overflowing emotions – The wave of emotions that surged through me while I was reading this book is just too much to handle.
James – I ADORE this guy right here! He’s such an authentic male narrator that YA books need more of. His voice and his wit, his compassion and fears… everything about him is too damn real.
Book description and cover image from Goodreads