Review: True Story by Kate Reed Petty

Title: True Story

Author: Kate Reed Petty

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: riverrun/Quercus

The Blurb

After a college party, two boys drive a girl home: drunk and passed out in the back seat. Rumours spread about what they did to her, but later they’ll tell the police a different version of events. Alice will never remember what truly happened. Her fracture runs deep, hidden beneath cleverness and wry humour. Nick – a sensitive, misguided boy who stood by – will never forget.

That’s just the beginning of this extraordinary journey into memory, fear and self-portrayal. Through university applications, a terrifying abusive relationship, a fateful reckoning with addiction and a final mind-bending twist, Alice and Nick will take on different roles to each other – some real, some invented – until finally, brought face to face once again, the secret of that night is revealed.

Startlingly relevant and enthralling in its brilliance, True Story is by turns a campus novel, psychological thriller, horror story and crime noir, each narrative frame stripping away the fictions we tell about women, men and the very nature of truth. It introduces Kate Reed Petty as a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction.

The Review

True Story is a very cleverly woven together tale. It focuses on an alleged rape of a young school girl by her peers however it is unclear if events took place the way some believe.

Kate Reed Petty has adopted a multi-perspective narrative with True Story which helps create the sense of unease and challenges the reader not to just accept what they are being told. Each of our narrators come across as unreliable so from the first page to the last you are constantly second guessing yourself as to what actually transpired and how much of it was hearsay or the overt blustering of toxic masculinity. Either way, both options are unsettling.

Reed Petty’s style is really engaging. Interspersed with the narrative is movie script style and these interludes punctuated the narrative and parallel the story being told. Along with the clever title we really have to work at figuring out what the ‘true story’ actually is.

Overall, this isn’t a book that you will find easy, you are made to work for your answers and you will be constantly questioning what you believe but the payoff is worth it

True Story by Kate Reed Petty is available now.

For more information regarding riverrun (@riverrunbooks) please visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.