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Publisher's Summary

"A gripping, ripped-from-headlines tale." (People)

"Spellbinding." (Megan Abbott, The New York Times Book Review

Tracing the 15-year fallout of a toxic high-school rumor, a riveting, astonishingly original debut novel about the power of stories - and who gets to tell them.

2015. A gifted and reclusive ghostwriter, Alice Lovett makes a living helping other people tell their stories. But she is haunted by the one story she can't tell: the story of, as she puts it, "the things that happened while I was asleep." 

The year 1999. Nick Brothers and his lacrosse teammates return for their senior year at their wealthy Maryland high school as the reigning state champions. They're on top of the world - until two of his friends drive a passed-out girl home from of the team's "legendary" parties, and a rumor about what happened in the backseat spreads through the town like wildfire. The boys deny the allegations, and, eventually, the town moves on. But not everyone can. Nick descends into alcoholism, and Alice builds a life in fits and starts, underestimating herself and placing her trust in the wrong people. When she finally gets the opportunity to confront the past she can't remember - but which has nevertheless shaped her life - will she take it? 

An inventive and breathtaking exploration of a woman finding her voice in the wake of trauma, True Story is part psychological thriller, part fever dream, and part timely comment on sexual assault, power, and the very nature of truth. Ingeniously constructed and full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the final moments, it marks the debut of a singular and daring new voice in fiction. 

©2020 Kate Reed Petty (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize 

"Spellbinding.... Petty leaps from genre to genre with dizzying velocity...to show the way trauma works on us, how it shapes our lived experience...tantalizing us with the ‘truth’ about what really happened to Alice...even as the term itself feels increasingly useless, deceptive." (Megan Abbott, The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice) 

"Unfolds like a mystery, flitting between genres to weave an inventive tale...that keeps you hooked until the very end." (BuzzFeed)

What listeners say about True Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating, Inventive

Although I was an English major who went on to study fiction writing, I’ve hated reading these last few years. This book was recommended by a friend—and I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s fresh and interesting and does a beautiful job of using inventive approaches with purpose. I loved it! First time in YEARS that I’ve been swept away by a book.

2 people found this helpful

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Narrator review

The narrator’s voice is SUPER annoying.....ESPECIALLY when he imitates a woman’s voice AND when he says “blow job” and other douchey phrases. If I were the author, I’d pay to have someone ANYONE do a remake. I’d much rather hear a woman speak and imitate a man when necessary. Gag🤢 Very hard to not get disgustingly distracted by the way the narrator speaks.

2 people found this helpful

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DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME!!

I have had some mediocre reads on Audible and lots of fantastic reads. I think this is the WORST I have ever heard! It’s beyond me how it got on Audible’s list! Absolutely PAINFUL! And it takes a lot for me to write a review since I hate to insult someone’s creative work.

1 person found this helpful

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exceptional and enthralling storytelling

From the knot-in-the-stomach recognition of familiar high school social insecurity and fitting in pressures, to long-felt repercussions and consequences of rumors and stories carried far into adulthood, this novel took me on a trip that could have been biographical. I can't say anything more except read this book.

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What the?

I'm completely confused by this book. The synopsis is carried through in the book in a very weak weak amount at best. it was like the author had 5 book ideas and then just crammed them all in to this one. No clue why it has such high ratings. I feel mislead, let down and I like I totally wasted my time. The "plot twist" at the end is just......huh? The performance was decent. I'm glad I listened to this instead of reading it. I wouldn't have finished if I had been holding a book in my hand.

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don't waste your credit

This book is all around awful - the narration is terrible and I couldn't even finish it. Waste of my credit!!!

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Not a thriller

Not impressed with this book. The audio version narrators do a good job but the story is blah. I was able to put it down. The only reason I listened to the entire book was I thought at some point it was going to get better. It was just a weird story. Mediocre at best.

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hard to get through

male characters were too stupid...
women didn't have much depth.
I felt overall this book should be in young adults
category