~ A huge thank you goes out to NetGalley for providing me with this e-book. All opinions stated are mine and mine alone ~
The Truth Is by NoNieqa Ramos
YA > Contemporary; LGBTQIA+
A powerful exploration of love, identity, and self-worth through the eyes of a fierce questioning Puerto Rican teen.
Fifteen-year-old Verdad doesn’t think she has time for love. She’s struggling to process the recent death of her best friend, Blanca; dealing with the high expectations of her Puerto Rican mother and the absence of her remarried father; and keeping everyone at a distance. But when she meets Danny, a new guy at school — who happens to be trans — all bets are off. Verdad suddenly has to deal with her mother’s disapproval of her relationship with Danny as well as her own prejudices and questions about her identity, and Danny himself, who is comfortable in his skin but keeping plenty of other secrets.
I am so incredibly excited to read this novel!
Thoughts While Reading
“What a dick omg”
“I felt that, oof”
“Oh my god shut up dude”
“. . . Holy shit”
“This is just beautiful oh my god”
“I’VE BEEN TO THE YEAR 3000”
“We stan BTS in this household”
“NA NOT TODAY”
“A LEGEND WOW”
I am feeling so many things right now, oh my goodness.
Favorite Quote from the Novel
“All of us get wrapped up in ourselves. You have to. You have to heal. The baggage never goes away. But that doesn’t mean other people can’t help carry it. Or that you can’t help carry other people’s.”— Danny, page 199
“I don’t know if the violin is the instrument or I am. If I’m playing or being played. I didn’t ask for silence, but I get it. The candles are lit and the barrio is our church. We are not just the actors, the players, we are the directors of the new script, the new story. We will decide how it ends. I will.”— Verdad, page 245
“The truth is, loving myself is not a given. It’s hard work sometimes. And loving other people is hard work too — if you’re giving them the love they deserve. But love is something we all have to do for ourselves, and for each other. It’s the only thing worth fighting for.”— Verdad, page 251
So Incredibly Important
This novel touched on so many elements in regards to the LGBTQIA+ community that really aren’t talked about as often, such as self-imposed homophobia and homeless LGBTQIA+ teens, both of which are so incredibly important.
I love a fluffy and cute LGBTQIA+ love story as much as the next guy, but novels like this are equally important because they show the struggles this community has that aren’t as talked about. I was talking to my best friend about this book (Cherry Blossom is back bois) and how it was the first novel I read that included self-imposed homophobia and homeless LGBTQIA+ teens and she was so happy about it because both of those things are huge in the community. We both know so many people who said that when before they were coming to terms with their identity, they were homophobic in the sense that it was fine for others, but not for them and it just wasn’t possible. And it’s just such a common thing that I’m glad this novel touched on it.
Another thing was the inclusion of many main characters being homeless LGBTQIA+ teens. This is also something else that is so incredibly common, but isn’t really represented in books (that I’ve read, at least). Showing how this group of teens came together to be their own family because their “true” family wouldn’t support them and love them for who they were. That, added with our main character Verdad realizing this and coming to terms with her own familial situation was incredibly powerful to read about.
This novel also touches on self-imposed racism. Verdad, our main character, is Puerto Rican — but she doesn’t feel Puerto Rican because she can’t speak Spanish and she has never been to PR, so this is also something she struggles with. Because of her own struggles, she pushes them onto other POC, which sparks another conflict in the story. This also happens with Verdad’s internalized homophobia. As Verdad begins to wonder if she’s queer, she starts to break out of her homophobia and racism and become comfortable with who she is.
*** SPOILER BEGINS ***
SOMETHING REALLY SOFT THAT MADE ME ALMOST CRY WAS THAT AT THE END, VERDAD IS KIND OF BACK TRACKING ABOUT HER LIFE AS OF THAT MOMENT AND AS SHE DOES IT — SHE’S ON A PLANE TO PR TO SEE ALL THE PLACES SHE’S HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT AND IT MADE ME
S O F T
*** SPOILER ENDS ***
Honestly, if nothing else about this novel appeals to you — read it solely for this.
Ya’ll Mind if I Cry???
The writing style in this novel was absolutely gorgeous oh my goodness. Here are a few of my favorite lines, or lines that just really hit me (other than my favorite quotes listed above) —
“I can never cry through my eyes, but I can do it through my fingers. Sadness is something I read like sheet music.”
“Funny, I’ve never seen you. Any of you.” “Most people don’t.”
“It sucks when you believe in hell more than you believe in heaven.”
“Maybe life isn’t novel all the time. Where we’re always trying to see what happens in the end. Maybe sometimes it’s poetry. Every syllable of living counts.”
“The trouble with tomorrow is, tomorrow is always today.”
“Emptiness is space of such sacred design that only design and music can fill it.”
Honestly, need I say more??? Like wow.
One thing I will say about the writing is this — If you guys have read They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, you probably know that Rufus talks with a very heavy New York accent that is definitely something to get used to. That was something that was also prevalent in this novel but with more characters.
It’s completely fine and helps kind of “set the scene,” it’s just something to get used to!
Romance??? Never Met Her
Now, here’s the one thing I really didn’t like about this novel.
I really enjoyed Danny’s character. Verdad’s character was a bit annoying sometimes but she was also homophobic and racist for a bit of this novel so that’s not surprising. But anyways — I didn’t not really enjoy these two characters together. They had cute moments, but I didn’t see any true connection between the two. I didn’t even know they had feelings for each other until they just entered a pretty intimate moment and I was like, “okay fine, this is fine.”
I honestly would have just enjoyed it better if they had remained friends and she was educated on the different communities that way. But the kind of epilogue at the end made me feel a bit better so it’s not too big of a deal.
Danny was such a dope character. He’s incredibly sweet and he is just such a badass. He doesn’t take shit from anyone and will do anything for those he cares about. He’s a good boy.
Final Review and Rating
This is such an important read!
Would/Will I Continue the Series?
I’m pretty good with how this one ended.
Who Should Read This Novel
Those who are still coming to terms with who they are. You are valid and beautiful.
What’s your favorite food?
- There was a scene in the novel where the main group of teens make this giant meal so I didn’t completely pull this question out of my ass.
- But! It’s another one my little cousin helped me think of so here’s his answer
- His favorite food is Wild Rice Soup. Don’t know what the fluff that is, but go off, I guess
- My favorite food it sushi!! It’s so good, oh my goodness