This Much is True - Katherine Owen
This Much Is True is a very character and plot driven story. There were some subplots as well. This is not a typical NA novel where it is a light and fluffy read. There are many layers that adds depth and realistic quality. It spreads out over the span of four years, and in that time a lot goes on in all of the characters lives-- good and bad. By the end of it, you've been taken on a long, emotionally draining journey. Lincoln (aka Linc for short) is expected an early draft into Major League Baseball upon graduating from Stanford. Tally is steps away from being a professional ballet dancer. The story alternates POVs between Linc and Tally. To readers dismay, it's mostly Tally's. We get to see how their lives pan out when they are separated and when they are together. They are both devoted to baseball and ballet, just not so picture perfect. With that, entitles a lot of decisions, sacrifice, struggles and hardships.

Linc and Tally's paths cross for the first time in midst of a car accident that took Tally's sisters life. Linc saved Tally from the wreck. Which is where the story begins. The second time is at a party that their friends drag them to. They both attend as a means of distraction from what's going on in their lives. Linc recognizes Tally who is the girl he saved from that car accident. However, Tally doesn't remember Linc. She doesn't know the face of the mystery man that saved her from the accident is him. Linc is hellbent on getting to know her officially. Wanting to be anyone else, she lies about her identity. Thus begins the start of their snowball of lies. Their lies, either to protect themselves or each other, become the epitome of their problems throughout the story. Lies have a thing of catching up to you, and Tally learns this first hand. While her twin Holly was the good, relationship type, Tally is a one night stand type. So she decides for a quick romp with Linc that night. Little did she know is that it will go beyond physical. They are intensely drawn together by an inexplicable pull they want every answers to.

There are far and few kisses, or even encounters, and one night together within the four years that takes place, but the connection between them is so palpable, that makes too much of those to be unnecessary. It's easy to tell that they truly are meant to be together. Their chemistry and bond are deeply rooted, and they are not always it's best caretakers. It starts with all the lies Tally tells Lincoln at the party. So many obstacles appear in their way, it seems like the universe is against them. They both live different lives that lead to different futures. At the start of both of their careers, they are on opposite coasts. Tally's pursuing ballet on the east coast, while Linc is on the west coast for the major leagues. They are off and on constantly, which makes their dynamic spotty. At times, dating other people. There is a lot of back and forth indecision, schemes, manipulations, deceit, betrayal, lies that snowball, things come up or plans change every time they get their chance within their grasp, only to have it taken from them again. They make decisions and sacrifices that end up tearing the pair further apart and leads to regret. It's like a modern-day star-crossed love tale. Fate has a knack for timing and playtime, even if you don't believe in it. Tragic romance is the best way to describe them. They endure so much. It's a wonder if they will ever manage reconciliation.

The characters were infuriating at times, but that's to be expected. It makes for a great story though. People in real life can have a tendency to be infuriating and evoke emotions like there is no tomorrow; everyone is different. For a prima ballerina, Tally is one troublemaker. She's hurting over the loss of her sister, and comparing herself to her. Don't peg her as a lost cause though. Lincoln lets his family plan his life out for him, makes decisions of his future for him. I felt for him in that part. There are other things about him that made me see red (okay, maybe not to that extreme). He's honestly a compassionate guy. And his love for Tally, though, is so deep and real. Couple of the secondary characters made me want to pull my hair out at times, but they mean well. And the secondary characters Marla, Sasha and Jack are fully involved in Tally's life as is in the book. They are extremely supportive and stick by her side through thick and thin. They represent true friends, and this story delivers in that part. Others, however, do not mean well. I'm not even going into detail with the whole Rob (Holly's boyfriend) debacle, because I will never stop until a full-blown rant is produced. Same goes for Nika (friend of Linc) and Allaire (Tally's scheming dance teacher). Needless to say, they drove me crazy. But don't let that scare you-- this book is an intriguing read.

With all the stuff going on in their lives, not only is it character and plot driven, but it's very emotionally driven as well. It's emotionally heavy and draining as you read. It's like watching a sitcom, minus the cheesiness and snoozefest. There is a lot of angst to endure and resolve.

I like that the story didn't revolve around Lincoln and Tally as a couple in a cheesy teeny-bopper way, because their tale is no easy feat. It's clear that they are meant for each other, but it focuses on the foundation of plot and character development too. The struggles each of them face individually and as a whole. I applaud the characters for never staying down when they've been kicked, and staying strong through all of their hardships (even though I mentally slapped them a number of times).

Owens has a way to keep you on pins and needles. I found myself holding my breath a few times without even realizing it. She has a way of doing a 180 on your head that keeps readers invested. And it's interesting how things unfold too. It's not quite in the way you expect. Owens has a knack for keen and solid writing, and it shows really well.

I like that the storyline is complex, but not so much so that the plot or readers get lost. That is so important, and some authors who try to throw one too many things in their story, it makes a reader disinterested and stop from reading. Owens is thoughtfully careful when writing, and I truly appreciated that. Masochistic readers will understand and thrive in the complexity of it, flaws and all. Readers indulge in it whether they are or not. It's too intriguing to pass up.

As for the ending, it was abrupt and a bit anticlimactic. I felt that there wasn't much of a closure. No, there is no cliffhanger (Thank God!). Yes, there is an HEA, but not enough to take a sigh of relief when things finally fall into place all at once. Don't get me wrong, I love HEA's as much as anybody, but I was hoping for an epilogue to nail a solid end to such a complex story as this. One thing remains true -- being together is all they truly wanted all along.