True Story by Kate Reed Petty

If you don’t control your story, your story will control you.

Private schoolgirl Alice doesn’t know what happened to her the night of the party. She knows she was very drunk. She knows she was driven home by Richard and Max, two lacrosse players from a nearby high school. She knows that they left her passed out on her porch, running away when her mother saw them and started screaming. What she doesn’t know is what they did to her while she was passed out in the back of the car. Life-shattering rumours spread but the boys tell a different story when they are questioned by the police.

That night, and its repercussions, define not only the next sixteen years of Alice’s life but of fellow students Nick, another lacrosse player, and Hayley, Alice’s best friend. All three must contend with what they know and what they think they know about what happened that fateful evening, until the truth comes to light in the novel’s shocking conclusion.

Kate Reed Petty’s debut is a genre-defying, compulsively readable novel about the power of storytelling and the fallibility of memory. It’s about the stories we tell about ourselves and to ourselves. It’s about who has the power to control and shape the narratives that shape us.

As Alice herself tells us, this is ‘a thriller, a horror, a memoir, a noir’ and will likely appeal to fans of all of those genres. Petty’s control of her narrative is masterful and it’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. The disparate sections of her novel, spanning different characters, continents, and decades, come together seamlessly in the final chapters. It took all of my self-control not to immediately re-read True Story and I know that I’ll be thinking about this novel for months to come.

Please note that this novel does deal with sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. Petty is never flippant in her approach to any of these topics, but they may be triggering to some.

Tristen Brudy works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

Cover image for True Story

True Story

Kate Reed Petty

Available to order, ships in 5-9 daysAvailable to order