Sorry for the delay in our reviews. Holidays, Erica’s b-day, post New Year lag, and the fact that we weren’t reading the same book at the same time all led to the delay. But we are back! 2019!
And what a book to start with: Verity by Colleen Hoover.
For those of you who have read our previous review of Colleen Hoover’s All Your Perfects, you might expect another book of hers to be full of drama, tension, and love. And it is…but it’s also full of dead-rabbit-on-your-doorstep craziness.
I used to think Colleen was so sweet. She is very nice in person. Kind smile. Thoughtful words. Sure, she gives people scary dolls. But I laughed at those because I thought it was so out of character for her. Plus, who doesn’t have a little psycho in them?
She’s been playing us! Straight up playing us. She’s twisted! She has a dark side!
I think Asa in Too Late started it. That and her opposites-attract-friendship with Tarryn Fisher. I feel like we are in the Upside Down after reading this book! Misdirection. Shady foreshadowing that yielded nothing. Shady foreshadowing that couldn’t be true but was.
Verity revolves around a struggling author, Lowen, who is given a chance to help finish the series of a famous author after the author has a terrible accident.
For me, one of the reasons I’m comfortable sacrificing the status of my man card to read Colleen’s books is that she has always had an amazing way of writing sincere, engaging dialogue. Additionally, she creates realistic character relationships—not just romantic, but father-son, third-party-main-character, etc. This all still exists in Verity and is a major reason the book is as good as it is.
But here’s what makes it even better for me…
When I finished the book, I picked my jaw up off the floor, placed my Kindle on my chest, and found myself reflecting on the story (always a sign of a good book). I remember feeling like I liked it and had my understanding of the book’s ending. The book was dark and different. I may have had to watch 30 minutes of cartoons afterwards, but I still enjoyed it. Just for fun, I joined the Verity Discussion Group on Facebook.
I got so lost reading posts that at one point I thought I must have read a different book! And suddenly, it was all out the window. Everything I thought I knew I began questioning.
Now it feels like one of those childhood books where you Choose Your Own Adventure. Except it’s more Choose Your Own Ending Interpretation. There are even teams in this group, like Twilight’s Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. But not with people—with endings! (Please don’t tell anyone I know those two Twilight terms).
Since we try to keep these book reviews spoiler-free, I won’t add any more. But as I am writing this, Erica is finishing the book; her jaw is opening, so I think she is nearing the end. I can’t wait to see if she has a similar experience or not.
At the end of the day, this book checks all the boxes for me:
- Interesting Story
- Great Dialogue
- Intriguing Characters
- More Showing than Telling
- BONUS: Twists and Turns
Go read it. Then come back here and tell me what you think.
Also, plot twist secret from Colleen: Verity is actually an acronym. It stands for Viciously Eerie and Really fuckIng Twisted, Yo!
Okay, I may not understand what an acronym is, but I think I made my point.
Say what? What did I just read? Colleen, are you reading this review? WHAT DID I JUST READ??? Matt is his own little (sorry for calling you little, Matt) Verity Discussion Group. I finished reading and immediately we started talking about who did what to whom when and where and in which situation. Was that confusing? GOOD. Matt has been Mr. Devil’s Advocate. I’ll think one thing and he’ll say, “But what about when this happened?” He’s driving me bananas. But alas, moving on…the book…
THE BOOK! The first word that comes to mind is COMPLEX. The characters, the events, the mystery, the ending—it was all complex. Not a my-brain-hurts kind of complex. More of a I’m-questioning-everything-including-why-I-have-ten-toes kind of complex. I walked into this story thinking I was going to be scared shitless. I had heard from people that they struggled sleeping, and figured they were just being dramatic. Not so, my friends! I went to sleep last night thinking about the book to the point where my dreams were affected. This book is truly disturbing—and I mean that as a compliment. If you’re not disturbed after reading this, then you are sick in the head. Or maybe you just have an active imagination and darkness is your happy place. In any event, prepare to be jostled. Expect the unexpected. Actually, I take that back. Don’t expect anything. Read it and enjoy the ride and prepare to be entertained. Also, pick it up when you have five or so hours because you are not going to want to put this baby down.
IS THAT REALLY WHAT VERITY STANDS FOR, MATT? Holy shit… Why are pants called “pairs?” Why do dogs have tails? Why is sugar so life-fulfilling? Why does Marie Kondo say we should only have 30 books? WHAT IS THIS LIFE?? Don’t expect to find any of these answers in Verity, but do anticipate having your socks knocked off. The hype is real, y’all, and it’s so deserved.
Clearly, this book messed with Erica as much as it did with me. So many question marks in her review! It’s like Exclamation-Point Ethan from Caroline Kepnes’s You, but now Emphatic-Question-Mark Erica. I love it! Proof of what Verity can do.
Erica mentioned something that I’d like to highlight. In my personal opinion, I would not call this a scary clown-in-the-gutter book. It is a suspenseful thriller with dark twists and turns, but it’s not scary—and that is coming from someone who does not like scary books or movies. Verity is unlike anything I’ve read of Colleen’s, which I find cool—she clearly stretched herself in writing it. But I want to make clear this isn’t a horror book.
If you do pick up this book and finish it, go find the Verity Discussion Group on Facebook. I know we’ve mentioned it a few times, but the reason I am ending with that here is because I think there is a post that might be interesting to read once you’ve read that last line. It is from Colleen and is dated December 12, 2018. It provides a lot of her thought process on approaching this book. Sharing any of it might be getting me into spoiler-land, so I will leave it there. The post starts with “Answers? Not really.”
Verity will make you question what you read, challenge your assumptions about the characters, and leave you with your own interpretation of some events. For authors, writing this way has to be difficult, especially when some readers like everything wrapped up at the end. I am usually one of those readers. However, in Verity, Colleen has created a perfect balance that is well worth the read.
To purchase a copy of or read a synopsis for Colleen Hoover’s Verity, click here.