1976, summer, love triangles, and beach houses. I was hooked as soon as I read the description for this book. I used to always read teen ’70s and ’80s paperbacks at the pool when I was a teenager and the plot of this book takes me back to all those summer reads. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume is one of my all time favorite books and I always reread it in the summer. Be True to Me instantly reminded me of Summer Sisters and I’ll read just about any book that is remotely similar to that one. Be True to Me checked all my boxes.
Sunken Haven is a summer destination for wealthy families where nothing outside of the island matters. Jean’s family has been part of Sunken Haven since the first houses went up and her big sister is island royalty. Fritz, usually seen as an outsider, has been spending the last few summers with her best friend Julia and Julia’s family in Sunken Haven. Jean and Fritz went head to head last summer for the Junior Tennis Cup and now they’re competing for the affections of a new guy on Sunken Haven.
I loved the juxtaposition of the two girls’ perspectives throughout the story with one POV picking up where the other left off. This is such a classic, teen summer romance with sweeping, unending summer days and late nights. Jean and Fritz had their own distinct voices, as well as their own experiences with Gil, the long lost family member of one of Sunken Haven’s most well known families, turned hot hunk of the island. Griffin perfectly captured Jean’s determination and desperation to be Gil’s girl and Fritz’ swoony, falling in love state of mind. Griffin’s writing made me root for both girls to find what they needed.
This book takes a darker turn that I didn’t see coming but the story feels fully fleshed out and the turn feels genuine. I was completely invested in the plot and couldn’t put it down. Overall this is a fantastic summer read about friendship, first loves, and regret. Griffin created such a believable ’70s summer getaway neighborhood where teens had the room to roam free. Read this one on your end of summer vacations and enjoy the love triangle in all its glory.
I had the privilege of meeting Adele at the American Library Association Annual Conference in June. She was giving out the coolest swag ever (the awesome Be True to Me patch, which I have on my desk until I put it on my jean jacket) and I was so happy to have the chance to tell her how much I loved Be True to Me. And to tell her that it reminded me of so many of my favorite songs from the 70s!
Like Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters, Be True to Me made me want to listen to 70s music. Carly Simon is one of my personal favorite musicians and her songs are always a perfect backdrop for summer romances. Go ahead and read this hot, summer book and enjoy the music that pairs so well with it.