Genre: YA realistic contemporary
Published on September 1st, 2015
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Purchase Links:Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books a Million, Fishpond, IndieBound, Kobo, Powell’s, HarperCollins
Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck’s small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He’s curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening– and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister– and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.
A Modern Parable
Truest was always going to have some religious themes– the narrator, Westlin Beck, is the daughter of the local pastor, after all. But I wanted to write the story in such a way that wasn’t preachy, cheesy, or saccharine– because my personal faith isn’t those things either. It’s messy and beautiful and hard and raw. I wanted Truest to reflect that reality.
But it’s hard, you know? How do you write a novel intended for the secular market that includes a discussion of faith?
Some epiphanies are as quiet as a word crawling into your mind while you try to sleep and making a nest for itself there. The word, for me, was parables. Parables in biblical times were meant for some to see … and some to not. I wondered if I could write about faith in such a way that those who wanted to see those things would and those who didn’t want to wouldn’t have to. What resulted are a handful of scenes in the book that mean different things to different audiences, and frankly, I’m delighted by that. It’s been fascinating to hear a variety of interpretations.
My faith– and the faith of so many of my friends– is a wild thing, often complicated, rarely sentimental, and centered around grace and freedom. But so many people think of faith as a greeting card, an after-school special, and a lot of pretense. It was important to me to show Silas Hart, the love interest and the biggest spiritual influence on West, as a boy who screws up, loses his temper, curses like a sailor, battles his own inner demons– and who loves God. I’m hopeful that– just like me– others are drawn in by authenticity of any stripe.
Jackie Lea Sommers lives and loves and writes in Minnesota, where the people are nice and the Os are long. She is the 2013 winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize. She dislikes OCD, horcruxes, and Minnesota winters. She likes book boyfriends, cranky teenagers, and Minnesota springs. Truest is her first novel.
Connect With The Author
One signed and annotated hardcover of Truest