Post number twenty-six is for Virginia Euwer Wolff's True Believer, another required reading title for my YA Lit course. (Sidenote: I'm so glad I only have one more book to read for this course! It will be nice to read something of my own choosing again.) True Believer is also told in verse, and whereas Crank wouldn't have been nearly as great of a story if it hadn't been a verse novel, I definitely think True Believer could have been written in the normal way. For me personally the verses didn't add anything special to it.
Brief spoilers follow.
True Believer's main character is fifteen-year-old LaVaughn, who lives in a fairly rundown and dangerous part of town. She has a dream of going to college some day, and the counselor helps her out by moving her into a more difficult science class. During this same time, an old childhood friend, Jody, moves back home, and brings with him a very handsome face and the ability to make LaVaughn tongue-tied. She has dreams of her and Jody getting married and having kids some day (Jody also has aspirations of college), but Jody just treats her like a friend. Meanwhile, LaVaughn's other two friends, Annie and Myrtle, have joined a club called "Cross Your Legs for Jesus", which preaches abstinence. The club is also basically brainwashing the girls, though, and the heavy religion spewing from Myrtle and Annie starts to drive a wedge between the three girls. Myrtle and Annie also don't like Jody, which only causes more trouble. LaVaughn has a lab partner in Biology named Patrick who likes her, and she is basically rude to him and treats him pretty terribly. She also joins a Grammar club as an extracurricular activity in school, and some of the funniest moments come out of those meetings. The Grammar club was definitely a highlight.
One day she finds out a truth about Jody that sort of shatters her world, and the last half of the book is all about picking yourself up after a heartbreak and moving on. It's pretty inspirational, because LaVaughn is one of those kids that most people automatically pass over because of her background, but she's a spitfire and a "true believer" that things will all turn out alright.
I didn't find this book nearly as engaging as Crank. It was sort of slow and plodding in places, and I feel like the verse style (which utilized short, small sentences/sentence fragments) kind of bogged the narrative down. The story was okay – I enjoyed the ending a lot – and there were other enjoyable bits throughout, but it's not one that I would necessarily recommend. (Others in my class disagreed with this, though, so ymmv!)