Saturday, 8 June 2013

Review: True - 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 knows he’s not good enough for Rory. 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 resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…
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…

Although apparently on the up and up since 2009 the 'New Adult' genre of romance is new to me and I thought that perhaps the best place to start would be with a tried and tested author, Erin McCarthy. Now it must be said that I don't love all of McCarthy's books, I found it hard to get into her 'Vegas Vampire' series for example. Nevertheless, I do love the majority of her others, the 'Fast Track' series being particularly good for anyone who's into the 'sport romance' genre. Anyway, on with book in hand, True.

Immediately on reading the description I was on the alert, the heroine's friends attempt to pay someone to help her lose her virginity? When did being a virgin become so shameful that someone has to be hired to rid you of it? Also, the relationship between bookish Rory (can anyone else not stop thinking of the Gilmore Girls) and her 'friends' is contemptible and that between Rory and Tyler is so cliched and stereotypical it almost pained me to read. On reading the novel I felt that a lot of the 'situations' and backgrounds of the characters were drama for dramas sake. McCarthy doesn't leave any space in the novel to deal with any of these real-life difficulties in a sensitive or complete manner, going so far as to almost brush of a serious attempted rape scenario.

I found it quite hard to relate and feel any empathy for the characters in the book. While Rory has a bit more bite than the typical wilting virgin heroine she is still very much the impulsive young adult, I often found myself with more sympathy for her concerned family. Tyler faces a very serious home life, over which it is easy to feel a great deal of sympathy for him, but his drama occasionally feels just too much to be truly believable. If McCarthy had cut down on the scope of issues covered in the novel I feel that she could have dealt with them in a much more constructive manner. As it is I feel that this book tries to hard to relate to every reader and should come with one of those warnings at the end of an episode of Hollyoaks, "if any of the issues in this programme have affected you..."

I completely see the need for the 'New Adult' genre, filling that gap between Young Adult fiction (a much maligned genre in my opinion) and the more 'traditonal' romance novels. However, I think that these books are targeted so well at that mid- to late teen audience that they might have little appeal over older readers. Now, that was a sweeping generalisation I am aware - feel free to correct me in the comments, however, I did found the novel very reminiscent of those teen dramas we see so often on the television, The O.C., Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill; full of teenage angst, rebellion and impulsive decisions (she says from her lofty twentysomething perch). I can't say how representative of the genre True is, but I can say it was not for me. As a teenager though, I may very well have loved it.

Have you guys read any 'New Adult' novels? Do you like them?

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