Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley | Review

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Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley | ReviewThree Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley
Published by HarperTeen on 01.07.2020
Genres: Poetry
Pages: 480
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

This moving debut novel in verse about a teenage girl dealing with the aftermath of an accident that nearly takes her brother’s life is a stunning exploration of grief and the power of forgiveness.

The reminder is always there—a dent on the right side of Jonah’s forehead. The spot you’d press when you felt a headache coming on. The bullet tore away bone, the way dynamite blasts rock—leaving a soft crater.

Life changes forever for Liv when her older brother, Jonah, accidentally shoots himself with his best friend Clay’s father’s gun. Now Jonah needs round-the-clock care just to stay alive, and Liv seems to be the only person who can see that her brother is still there inside his broken body.

With Liv’s mom suing Clay’s family, there are divisions in the community that Liv knows she’s not supposed to cross. But Clay is her friend, too, and she refuses to turn away from him—just like she refuses to give up on Jonah.

(Last Updated On: June 12, 2022)
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Since I started my blog, I have read countless poetry books, most of them in the past two years or so. A lot of these books have been just straight poetry though, while only a handful of them were actually a story told through poetic verse. That’s why I was so excited to get the chance to read and review Betty Culley’s Three Things I Know Are True.

The Story is Intense

Essentially, Three Things I Know Are True follows a girl named Liv who is dealing with the aftermath of her brother Jonah’s accident. Jonah accidentally shot himself while at Clay’s house, who is Jonah and Liv’s friend and neighbor.

Ever since, he has not been the same. Jonah has to be constantly watched and monitored, with a rotation of nurses constantly going through the house at all hours of the day and night.

Jonah can no longer talk though does always seem a lot calmer whenever Liv is around. Liv misses talking with Clay, too, though she’s mostly stayed away from him for a while.

Nobody knows for sure what happened in that attic with Clay and Jonah, since they were the only two up there. This leads to a whole mystery that ultimately unfolds later during the trial in the book.

This is the kind of story that really you can’t stop thinking about. I can’t imagine not reading this in one sitting. I read it in a matter of hours because I just had to know what actually happened in the attic.

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The Characters Stick With You

I loved all the characters in this book. They were characters that I just could have kept reading about forever. Liv is very compelling and does anything that she can to make sure that her brother is cared for. She misses the person that he was dearly, and just wishes to know exactly what happened in the attic.

Clay also is a character that really stuck with me. Though he’s kind of an enigma for a little portion of the book, he’s an overall interesting character. I loved all the little moments that he and Liv had together. Ultimately, they did both lose someone close to them, and it’s hard to place blame in a situation like this.

I supported the subtle relationship that blossomed between the two of them throughout the book. I loved seeing where the title of the book came from too as I watched them interact!

Culley’s Writing Style is Beautiful

Like I mentioned before, I have a fondness for poetic verse. Culley’s writing style does not disappoint. She has such a way with words that I wish I had myself!

I’m for sure going to read anything else she publishes in the future. It was utterly engrossing, even though the overall tone of the book was a little bit on the darker and bittersweet side for the majority of the book.

My Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an amazing YA debut for 2020, definitely check out Betty Culley’s Three Things I Know Are True. I know for sure that it won’t disappoint you, and you’ll get through it super quickly because you won’t be able to put it down!

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