The Truants by Kate Weinberg

Posted On 15 August 2019

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TruantsWow.  I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down.  I want more.  I was hooked.  HOOKED.  Yes, I’m shouting.

I realise that I have a certain type of book that automatically appeals to me and all sense of reason flies out the window when I see that ‘type’.  Well, two types, fairytale retellings, particularly if they’re about Beauty and the Beast, and campus style books that involve obsession, cliques and mysteries.  So, when I read the description for The Truants I simply had to have it and boy did it knock my socks off.

I can imagine that this will be likened to Donna Tartt’s Secret History and in certain respects that wouldn’t be an unfair comparison but I felt that this stood on it’s own two feet and tells a different style of story completely.  There is an underlying mystery to this that involves the main character turning detective when the object of her obsession dies.

Jess Walker is about to embark on a new path.  She’s attending University and signed up for a course run by someone she idolises.  A woman who is something of an enigma, a master storyteller and such a strong personality that she seems to hypnotise everyone simply by walking into a room – Lorna, beautiful, beguiling, bewitching.  Jess is thrilled to be signed up to Lorna’s course, this is ‘it’, the thing that will change her life for the better.  Jess has always been something of a wallflower, she blends in, never the centre of attention and rarely the eye catching outgoing one.  University is a fresh start for her, a chance to turn over a new leaf and when she makes friends with Georgia, beautiful, bubbly, slightly wicked and something of a force of nature she sets foot on a path that will inevitably lead to upset.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the plot, this doesn’t solely focus on life on campus although that does play a large part, we also travel further afield when the mystery elements of the story become more prominent.  Instead I’m going to go into full tilt gushing about what really worked well for me.

Firstly, the writing.  It’s difficult to believe that this is a debut novel for Kate Weinberg.  The writing is beautiful.  It’s reminiscent of DuMaurier’s elegance and ability to conjure a scene with remarkable clarity.  Simply put, this was a pleasure to read and even if the plot had been less stimulating I think I still would have devoured these pages with relish.

Secondly, I loved that part of the story uses Agatha Christie as a focus, not just her books but also her own story and in particular the period in her own life that has always been something of a mystery.  I really enjoyed this element to the tale and in fact it’s given me a nudge to go and read some more of Christie’s books.  Much like Christie there are elements to the story that feel a little fantastical but I would say that you have to just go for it and enjoy the story for what it is.

Finally, the characters.  Jess is so well written, as is Georgia.  Both very different, in looks, in background and in personality.  Their friendship is tested to the limits.  In a way they both become victims to the two very strong personalities who are pulling their strings behind the scenes.  This is a story with ever increasing tension, a story where you think you know where everything is going and to some extents that’s true but it’s also quite cleverly deceptive.  There’s a nod to the murder mystery, red herrings and false trails amongst all the student drama and more than that a search for the perfect crime hidden in between the passion and betrayals.

In terms of criticisms.  Nothing really jumps to mind, other than, as already mentioned, there are a few moments where belief needs to be suspended slightly, I’m not entirely sure that all of this would withstand close scrutiny but I was having too good a time reading to stop and pay really close attention.

Overall, in case you were in any doubt, I thoroughly enjoyed this.  It absolutely lived up to the promise and in fact was even better than I’d hoped for.  The Truants is my new catnip and Kate Weinberg is an author I will be watching out for.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Rating 5*



16 Responses to “The Truants by Kate Weinberg”

  1. Tammy

    Wow! I swear this wasn’t really on my radar, except I remember you highlighting it earlier. I must read this immediately!!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s very much my type of read – but I loved the writing style – so impressive and a debut!
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Strong, well-written characters and a fascinating story with a touch (or maybe more than that?) of mystery: this sounds like a great combination for an intriguing read…
    Thanks for sharing!!!! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I just really loved it, the writing, the story, the nods to Christie.
      Lynn 😀

  3. sjhigbee

    What a fabulous review, Lynn – and I do love that cover! Thank you for sharing.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thank you Sarah – I did thoroughly enjoy this one – but it is very much my type of read.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Barb @ Booker T's Farm

    Wow, your review sold me. I remember seeing this one and honestly, it’s screaming “winter read” to me, probably because it sounds so atmospheric, so I will definitely be grabbing it the winter! Can you believe I’ve never read a Christie book? Maybe I need to remedy that too!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I can believe it to be honest -they’re good mysteries though, cliched but good. I should read more.
      Lynn 😀

  5. bkfrgr

    Well if you’re going to hook me with things I’m very interested in (Donna Tartt’s SH, Agatha Christie’s personal mystery, Agatha Christie in general, college books … all the things!) then I’m just going to have to go get my hands on this, darn it! 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s the type of book that I really enjoy so I do recognise there might be a slight bias. College campus, cliques, obsession, literary references, similar style to DuMaurier and a scattering of red herrings. It just really worked for me and has made me want to go and revisit some Christie as a result.

      • bkfrgr

        Oh my goodness, same. I don’t even know what appeals to me so much about colleges and cliques etc, but I really do love stories like this. 🙂

  6. waytoofantasy

    “fairytale retellings, particularly if they’re about Beauty and the Beast” I’m right there with you, lol.
    This one isn’t my kind of thing, but it does look really interesting. And I have to say, I’m in love with that cover. I might check it out at some point!

  7. Friday Face Off : “I wandered lonely as a cloud” | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] simple to find a yellow cover.  I’ve gone for a very recent read that I really enjoyed.  The Truants by Kate Weinberg.  Only two covers for this one and I think they both make an […]

  8. August : My Month in Review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Truants by Kate Weinberg […]

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    […] The Truants by Kate Weinberg […]

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