True Confessions of a Heartless Girl


Author: Martha Brooks

Published: 2002

About True Confessions of a Heartless Girl: On a rainy night, a 17-year-old girl arrives in a small prairie town.

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Review of True Confessions of a Heartless Girl

It's been a long day and all Lynda Bradley wants is to close up her cafe and go to bed. When a pick-up truck stops out front, she hopes the person inside will take the hint that she's closing and go away. Curiosity and politeness get the better of her though and she invites the driver inside.

"Look," she said, "I've got a real bad headache and the feeling that you are in some kind of trouble. So I'll just cut to the chase here and ask straight out. Are you? In some kind of trouble?"

The girl gave a little sickened movement of her head, a sudden slackening of her dry lower lip. Lynda knew right then that there was trouble. Knew it with a feeling that told her if she was smart she'd just let this kid get back in the truck and get swallowed up by the storm. Life would continue in the same old way. Then she thought back to the day that she herself had been in trouble, the day she first arrived back in town — three and a half years ago, during the misery of a February blizzard. Dolores took her in, her little boy, too. She didn't have to do that. Nobody had to do anything; it wasn't a requirement in this life that you burden yourself with somebody else's baggage. It wasn't necessary to lay yourself open for more trouble than you already owned.

Lynda drew in a long breath, looked at the bedraggled creature who had landed in her cafe and said with a terrible sinking feeling, "So why don't you tell me about it?"

...from page 15

The girl is seventeen-year-old Noreen Stall, who has just left her boyfriend and stolen his truck. Lynda lets her sleep on the couch for the night and unwittingly changes the lives of almost everyone she knows.

I'm not sure what makes a book a young adult book. Sometimes it's obvious: the story is shorter; the main character is young; there's often love or tragedy or teenage angst. But other times, I question the young adult designation. This book has all of those things but it seems to me that it would appeal to people of all ages, anyone who likes a good story about real people, told simply, with heart, and excellent writing.

Noreen is the centre of the story, the catalyst for change in the small town of Pembina Lake. She's a walking disaster and it seems like everything she tries to do goes wrong even though her intentions are mostly good. She's not even all that likeable for a good portion of the book but I couldn't help caring about her anyway.

The other characters are multi-dimensional and although it's obvious what's going to happen with them, and what should happen with them, one can't help but cheer for it to happen sooner. Also, I'm a sucker for unrequited love and this book has that in spades.

I often shy away from young adult books because, with teenagers of my own, do I really need to read about angst? But this is a good story. Ignore the young adult designation and read it.

Reviewed by Lynn Bornath.

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More Reviews

Dave Jenkinson, CM Magazine, 4 October 2002
"a definite 'crossover' book that merits a second (or third) copy being purchased for inclusion in the adult fiction collections of public libraries"
DrPat, BC Books, 28 January 2005
"I recommend it for readers of any age."
D Swizzle, Opinionated? Me?, 12 March 2010
"lovely fireplace read"
Angiegirl, Angieville, 22 January 2010
"It is exquisite and I love it."
Melissa Parcel, BookLoons Reviews
"You will grow to care about the interesting people"
Bookworm9, Young Adult Books Central
"personally I thought it was pretty awful"


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Added 29 March 2012.
Updated 07 September 2013.