The Almost Truth

Hardcover | April 16, 2014

byEileen Cook

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From the author of Unraveling Isobel and The Education of Hailey Kendrick, a smart, romantic novel about a teenage con artist who might be in over her head.

Sadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind also means leaving Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time.
     But when Sadie’s mother wipes out Sadie’s savings, her escape plan is suddenly gone. She needs to come up with a lot of cash—and fast—or she’ll be stuck in this town forever.
     With Brendan’s help, she devises a plan—the ultimate con—to get the money. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax…and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn't prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, suddenly it seems like she has a lot more than just money to lose....

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From the Publisher

From the author of Unraveling Isobel and The Education of Hailey Kendrick, a smart, romantic novel about a teenage con artist who might be in over her head. Sadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind ...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.9 inPublished:April 16, 2014Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442440198

ISBN - 13:9781442440197


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cute Contemporary Review first published on my blog Feeling a Little Bookish ( Wow, what can I say about this book? It was fantastic! I have been in the worst reading slump I have even been in since I can remember. It started in August and continued until this month and this is one of those books that reaffirmed that I indeed do LOVE to read. This book is about Sadie whose mother steals her college money from her. Sadie then has to think of a new scheme to try and get money to get away from all the chaos of her current life. She pairs with Brendan and comes up with a pretty intense scam which may or may not involve a story in which Sadie was kidnapped as a child. This scheme ends up opening doors that Sadie never really wanted opened in the first place and in the end she learns a ton about herself and her relationship not only with her parents but also with her partner in crime Brendan. I don't know what it was about this book that I loved. I don't think it's just one thing but a combination of many things. The writing sucks you in and is light at times but is also serious at other times. You can't help but feel for Sadie but at the same time you fall in love a bit with Brendan. He is a bit of a player but he has deep feelings for his best friend Sadie. I think that a part of my love for Sadie is the fact that I could totally relate to her. When I was a teen the one thing I wanted to do was get out of my small town and away from my family. This is something that I did but I never really stopped to think about how my decisions and my deep want to leave would affect the rest of my siblings and my good friends at the time. Long story short, I love love loved this book! I couldn't put it down and I would definitely recommend it if you need a fun contemporary with a great main character.
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from AWESOME STORYLINE. Eileen Cook always pleases me, and this was just another of her fantastic books, but not the best. There was many moments where I just felt so many emotions and I was so captivated. Sadie was a pretty good character who had a lot of potential and used it correctly. She was a rebel girl who reminded me of some sort of detective stuck in a chick-lit book. The romance wasn't really strong but the storyline definitely flowed well with it. It was kind of sad and tragic, like a Sarah Dessen story, and the romance just helped Sadie evolve from her shell. I found the story to be really good. I enjoyed it but I needed more romance and drama. Okayyy.
Date published: 2014-03-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome book by Eileen Cook The Almost Truth was such an awesome book!! It is definitely one of my favorites from Eileen Cook. I absolutely love the cover!! Since reading the summary I was intrigued with the plot about a young con-artist and how she wants to improve her life and go to the college of her dreams. Eileen Cook is a great writer who can grab your attention with a good plot and lovable characters. Sadie is anything but perfect in her life, growing up on a trailer park resort island. Growing up her father has been in and out of prison, and Sadie has accepted her fate and made the best of it. As her determination to leave to follow her dream college at Berkley, California as a way to start a new life. She has money saved up by working some cons, which aren't big ones that get her caught. The surprise that her mother then drains her bank account and now she has no college money to leave, and in order to leave. Sadie comes up with one of the biggest cons in order to make the money quick and gets the help of her best friend Brendan to help. I loved all the characters especially Sadie because she is like any other teenager who wants to get away from her parents, has a sense of humor and is living a hard life. She is nothing like her father, she does the cons for a reason and does it in a morally way. She has a drive which makes her decide to leave the island. I liked her as a characters because she grows during the con and at times she feels close to this character who she is impersonating, so she does get confused and feels lost, but in the end still is determined to her goal. The romance in the novel wasn't the main topic, but it did give me the great feeling that she did end up with the right guy because he is so loveable. It was emotional and the plot adds up to the end because those twists and turns give The Almost Truth meaning. I really loved this books and the ending was great! It had everything that I liked in a YA contemporary. Definitely pick this one up!!
Date published: 2013-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Fave Novel by Eileen Cook Yet! Haven't we all fantasized at some point that we could lead a different life and be another person? After her mother completely clears out her bank account, Sadie forms an ambitious plan to earn back her college money in a short period of time which involves the disappearance of a rich girl named Ava McKenna who went missing 15 years ago. However, the more Sadie learns about the missing girl and their similarities, the more she begins to believe in her own con and spun lies... I really liked Sadie as a protagonist! She's flawed and makes immoral decisions, but she's well-meaning and only trying to escape her trailer park life through the only solution she thinks she has available. Sadie's father has been in and out of jail her whole life and her Mom hasn't really bothered with any real mothering since Sadie was a little girl, so she's used to being independent and taking caring of herself. Oh Brendan, how I loved your moments with Sadie and wished for more. Brendan and Sadie have been best friends ever since they were children, and have always looked out for one another. She may try to deny his feelings for her, but you can tell just how much he truly cares for despite his player reputation. He's the voice of reason in the novel, and while he tries to help Sadie pull off the con, he also doesn't want to see her lose herself in the process. Sadie may want to forget her past and reinvent herself when she leaves for college, but Brendan has always accepted her for who she is, never judging her far from perfect family. The Almost Truth is Eileen Cook's best novel yet! Surprisingly unpredictable, The Almost Truth is far from being an average coming-of-tale tale and I would highly recommend the novel to fans of YA contemporary fiction in a heartbeat. I seriously didn't want the book to come to an end! You can also read this review at:
Date published: 2013-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Romance, cons, twisty plots? Yes, please. You'd think you'd dislike a character who shows herself to be, from the first page of the book, a con artist, but in the case of Sadie, it's impossible not to like her. She comes by her skills quite honestly: she's the daughter of a swindler who spends more time in jail than out of it. But Sadie's a con artist with a dream and a (somewhat of a) conscience and she's about to go straight. Until she finds out her college money has been stolen (by her mother!) and everything she's worked for is gone. Maybe one last con, a really big one, will get her what she needs, but as she digs deeper to pull off the heist, she uncovers secrets about herself and her family that threaten to blow her world apart. I loved Sadie's voice in this book - Eileen Cook's characters never disappoint, but Sadie was particularly fun to read about. This plot twists and turns kept me guessing until the end, making this a real page-turner. And there's romance, rounding out the awesomeness.
Date published: 2013-01-17

Extra Content

Read from the Book

The Almost Truth chapter one You know it isn’t going to be a good day when you have to choose between food and proper hygiene. “Can you take the milk off the bill?” I asked the cashier. My cell phone began to ring. I dug around in my bag for it. “You don’t want it anymore?” The cashier tapped her impossibly long fingernails on the register with one eyebrow raised. “That’s right. I don’t want the milk,” I repeated. This wasn’t true. I wanted the milk. Eating dry cereal for a week was going to suck. Not to mention having so little dairy in my diet that I would likely end up with a raging case of osteoarthritis when I was old. But until my mom got paid on Friday, there were limited funds in the house, and there’s no way I was going without deodorant. I finally found my phone buried at the very bottom of my bag and yanked it out. “Sadie, it’s Brendan.” I didn’t need him to tell me his name. Brendan has this habit of yelling into his cell as if it were a tin can on a string. “Hey,” I said. I looked at the new total on the register. Shit. “Can you take the toothpaste off too?” We’d have to squeeze a few more days out of the old tube. Now in addition to having brittle bones, I could be toothless. My future was looking brighter and brighter all the time. The woman in line behind me gave an exasperated sigh. Screw her. She was probably one of those people who always makes you wait while they count out the exact change from their Coach wallet. I turned around. Great, it was Rebecca Samson and her mom. Their cart was piled high with groceries, including that expensive cheese made by yaks that costs something like twenty dollars for an ounce. “Gosh, Sadie, do you need to borrow a couple dollars?” Rebecca asked, fighting to keep a smirk off her face. Her mom might have also been trying to smirk, but her face was so Botoxed she was incapable of expression. “Hey! Is that Blow Job Becky I hear? What are you doing hanging with the cheerleader from hell?” Brendan bellowed. His voice carried out of my phone like he was on speaker. Rebecca’s face froze as hard as her mother’s. “The total’s twenty-two fifteen. How does that work for you?” The cashier tapped her fingernails again. “Hang on, I’m at the store,” I said to Brendan. I plunked my phone down on the conveyor belt and pulled some cash out of my bag. I made sure to spread the two twenty-dollar bills out in a fan shape so they could be clearly seen by the cashier and Blow Job Becky, too. The cashier snapped her gum when she saw the money. No doubt she wondered why I had nickeled and dimed my bill when I had forty bucks. She handed over my change. I palmed the ten-dollar bill she gave me and, with my thumbnail, pulled a folded five-dollar bill from under my watchband. I made a show of counting the bills. “I’m sorry. I think you didn’t give me enough change.” I held out the two fives, a couple ones, and eighty-five cents. The cashier screwed up her face. “I swore I gave you a ten. Sorry.” She pulled another five out of the drawer and handed it to me. “No problem.” I tucked the money into my bag and took the groceries from her. An extra five bucks was going to come in handy. I could use it to buy milk, but I had more immediate needs than staving off osteoarthritis. I smiled at Rebecca and her Botoxed mom and stepped outside. As soon as the automatic doors closed behind me, it felt like I was slapped in the face with the hot, wet air. It might sound good in theory, but summer sort of sucks unless you can spend it sitting by the ocean with a fruity drink. Spending it in a parking lot with your T-shirt damp and sticking to you isn’t that much fun. “Sorry about that, you caught me in the middle of something,” I said into the phone. I leaned against the warm cinder-block wall. A small kid was standing near me, staring at the pony ride next to the row of gum-ball machines. I tried to ignore him, but he looked like someone had shot his puppy. I sighed and handed him a quarter. He broke into a smile and climbed up on the mechanical horse, leaned forward, and fed the machine the coin. Ah, when joy could be purchased for less than a buck. “Are you still running that wrong change con for five bucks?” Brendan said. “I keep telling you to up the ante. If you cashed in a hundred-dollar bill, you could easily clear twenty bucks.” “Twenty bucks is more likely to get noticed,” I pointed out. “Not to mention if I start flashing hundred-dollar bills around town, that’s going to seem weird.” “So you’re doing the small con just to be careful? Are you trying to tell me it has nothing to do with the fact that if the short is less than five dollars, then the cashier doesn’t have to pay it out of their own pocket?” I dragged my sneaker on the cement. “Being a cashier at the Save-on-Food Mart is punishment enough. She doesn’t need to cover me.” Brendan laughed. “Your ethics are getting in the way of the big score, but hey, it’s your choice. What are you up to tonight? I was thinking we could go over to Seattle and grab dinner.” I snorted, knowing full well Brendan’s idea of grabbing dinner. “You buying or is the restaurant?” I asked. “Now why in the world would I pay?” Brendan wasn’t teasing. He actually was incapable of understanding why he should have to pay for anything when he was clever enough to steal it without getting caught. “While stealing a meal with you sounds like an attractive option, I’m going to have to say no.” “For a con artist you have a highly overinflated sense of morals,” Brendan said. “Especially when dinner is on the line. We could go for Japanese if you want.” “Don’t call me that. Besides, you hate Japanese.” “Yet another good reason I shouldn’t have to pay for it.” I rolled my eyes. If you wanted to get technical about it, I was a con artist. I’d learned the tricks of the trade from my dad. Then I taught what I knew to Brendan, who happened to have some sort of freakish natural ability in the area. He was like a con genius savant. However, unlike Brendan, who just loved getting away with something, I preferred to see it as a means to an end, an end that was finally coming to a close. “I can’t go to dinner, I’ve got stuff to do tonight.” “Like what?” Most people would take a polite brush-off and move on. Brendan was not most people. “I have stuff to get ready for school.” “You’re not going away to college for months. C’mon, a night in the city would be fun.” I knew down to the exact day (sixty-four, counting today) how soon I would be leaving Bowton Island for college. If I were better at math, I would be counting down the hours in my head. “I want to do some packing,” I said. The truth was, it wouldn’t take me that long to pack. My bedroom was the size of a closet. Even if I took the time to fold each item of my clothing into a tiny origami crane, there’d be no need to start now. The problem was spending time with Brendan felt weird lately. We’d known each other since we were kids, and on an island where 90 percent of the residents measured their wealth in terms of millions, and those of us in the remaining 10 percent measured it by having enough to buy groceries, we were automatic allies. Brendan had been my best friend as long as I could remember. Brendan was the one who’d realized that the pranks I’d taught him could be used to pull cons to raise cash. He helped me figure out what I needed to do to escape my life. I would always owe him for that. The problem was, he didn’t want me to leave. Or at least he didn’t want me to leave without him, but where I was going there would be no room for him. I was planning to make over my entire life, and that meant leaving the old me behind. Then there was the uncomfortable realization that Brendan maybe wasn’t thinking of me as just his best friend anymore. There’d been a few awkward moments where I’d caught him staring at me, and at graduation I’d thought he might try to kiss me. And not in a “wow, we’re great friends and we survived high school” kind of way. “Maybe we could do it another time?” I asked. “Fine, but you can’t blow me off forever,” Brendan grumped. “I’m not blowing you off. I’m tired, that’s all.” “Then get some sleep and we’ll do it tomorrow night. No excuses.” Brendan clicked off before I could say anything else. I tossed my cell back into my bag. I pulled out the ten-dollar bill I’d dropped in there after palming it and stuck it in my wallet. Taking a five at a time wasn’t adding up fast, but combined with the money from my part-time job at the hotel, it did add up. Brendan could tease me if he wanted, but I knew that while larger cons might pay off better, they also came with much bigger risks. My dad was a living, breathing example of that. For as long as I could remember, he had been in jail more often than he’d been out. I suspected the correctional officers knew him better than I did. One year when he was on probation, they sent him a birthday card. For Brendan, the point was the con, not the cash. As soon as the money came in, it went right back out. I’d been stockpiling mine. In three and a half weeks I would put most of it down to hold my place at Berkeley. I was going to college, and I planned to leave all of this behind me. The doors to the grocery swooshed open and Rebecca and her mom came out. Her mom pushed their cart past me as if I didn’t even exist. I suspected she saw me like the help, best ignored unless she needed something. Rebecca glanced over at my Old Navy T-shirt and my cutoff shorts. Somehow she managed to look cool and unfazed by the heat. It was like being really rich also made her immune to humidity and the need to sweat. “Nice outfit,” she said, her smirk in full force. “Aw, that would hurt my feelings if I cared about your opinion,” I said. This was a concept Rebecca had never fully grasped. She felt everyone should want her love and approval. She was also open to ass kissing. It really chafed her fanny that I didn’t care what she thought of me. It must have made her job as the popular mean girl so much less enjoyable when what she said didn’t bother me. She was also apparently unaware of the fact that high school was now over, making her the queen bee of nothing. I noticed a glint of silver on her perfectly pressed polo shirt. “Is that your cheerleading pin?” I asked. Rebecca fingered the silver megaphone. “It’s my captain’s pin.” I couldn’t decide if it was merely sad or full-on pathetic that she was still wearing it postgraduation. Rebecca was going to grow up to be one of those overly skinny women who hang out at the country club bitching about how their husbands are never around, how their maids don’t scrub the toilets to their satisfaction, and how high school was the best time of their lives. Personally, I was planning on my life getting better from this point forward. I picked up my bag of groceries. “You have a good rest of the summer,” I called over my shoulder at her as I walked away. Being nice to Rebecca would screw with her head more than any sarcastic comeback. I tucked my bag into the basket attached to the back of my scooter. Rebecca might mock my secondhand clothes and Brendan might make fun of my five-dollar cons, but in sixty-four days none of it would matter. Unlike Rebecca, I didn’t plan to look back on high school with fondness. I didn’t plan to look back on it at all.