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True BelieverReview - True Believer
by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Listening Library, 2009
Review by Amy Ridley
Jun 30th 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 27)

Fifteen year old LaVaughn is studying hard to get good grades so she can get into college. Her mother constantly reminds her that she should not get sidetracked from her studies by boys the way some of her friends have. LaVaughn wants to make sure that she stays focused so all her mom’s hard work to be able to afford college is not wasted. The one thing that could derail all of her hard-work is the arrival of her childhood friend Jody, who never looked this gorgeous before he moved away. He is very dedicated to his swimming so that he can get an athletic scholarship but LaVaughn plans on making sure he is dedicated to her as well. She assumes that her being his official girlfriend is the next step after they attend the school dance together. What she sees in Jody’s apartment one day causes her so much grief that it threatens her future plans.

Annie and Myrtle, LaVaughn’s friends from childhood have joined a church group that she has no interest in. She finds the group’s beliefs judgmental and rigid. They do not allow people to make mistakes and LaVaughn feels that she knows what is best for herself. Her refusal to join the groups puts a tremendous strain on her friendship with them but she really believes in the choices she is making for herself.

Her mother has always told her to not get caught up with boys and their tricks so it is especially hard for LaVaughn to watch her mother start dating a new man that LaVaughn senses is trying a little to hard to move his relationship along with her mother. It shows LaVaughn that issues with boys is something she will have to deal with no matter what her age is. She is able to analyze the relationships that the women around her are having with men but she is unable to see her own relationship with Jody through those same eyes.

The complete shock and disbelief that LaVaughn feels when she discovers Jody’s secret is something that most readers will related to. She sees him as being perfect in every way and therefore perfect for her so when it becomes clear that that may not be the case, she doesn’t know if she should blame herself or Jody. She becomes so distracted by what she saw in his apartment, it starts to affect all aspects of her life.

Heather Alicia Simms gives each character a distinct voice which makes the listener able to easily identify which character is speaking. She does a nice job conveying the emotion that LaVaughn feels when she discovers Jody’s secret. It is clear to the listener that her mother is a strong presence in her life and takes the role of single parent seriously.

This audio book is appropriate for ages twelve and up. There are some sexual references.

 

© 2009 Amy Ridley

 

Amy Ridley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University.


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