Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.
In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic States, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.
Cat Winters has grown to become one of my favorite YA authors because of her lyrical style of writing, and the wonderful way she combines historical fiction with the supernatural. Although Odd & True was not at all what I expected, I think it might be her best novel yet!
The story is told from both sisters’ perspectives—Tru’s in 1909, and Od’s farther in the past during the two years she was away. I thought this was going to be a book about hunting monsters, but it’s really about Tru and Od coming to terms with the tragedies in their pasts and coming to facing reality, as long buried family secrets come to light. As they cope with all this, there’s a lot of sadness, but the love and support these sisters share is so pure and beautiful, that it’s obvious that in the end they will pull through.
The story is more family drama than thriller, but it does have a hint of the paranormal in the last third of the book. I found this to be a quick page-turner, because I loved both Tru and Od, and also because of the intrigue surrounding their family. Their battle with the Leeds Devil is a nice touch especially as the events surrounding it are based upon actual events. The ending is absolutely perfect as everything comes full circle and I found myself tearing up a bit reading the last few pages.
With Odd & True, Cat Winters has definitively proven what a creative writer she is. This is a story about hardship, loss, family secrets, monsters and myths. But most of all, it’s a beautiful story of two sisters who overcome the setbacks in their lives because of the love they have for each other. I highly recommend this for older teens and adults who enjoy historical fiction with character-driven plots, that are infused with traces paranormal elements.