Monday, September 11, 2017

ARC Review: Odd and True by Cat WInters

Title: Odd and True
Written by: Cat Winters
Published: September 12, 2017 by Amulet Books (Abrams)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

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 supposedly 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.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at ALA and via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

I read my first Cat Winters book last year and loved it. Since the I have been wanting to read more of her books. So when I saw this one at ALA I of course picked up a copy. And I loved it. It was a great historical fiction with a supernatural and mystery flair to it.

I like my historical fiction to take real historical events and add fictional people to it. That's what this book does. The setting of the book was atmospheric and engaging. Cat Winter's does this era so well and absolutely allows the reader to immerse themselves in the historical setting. It takes us to the early 20th century and explored plenty of different themes of the time for young women. For the most part however I would say that these elements were subtle. I appreciated that it didn't try to hard to explain and explore what things were like for women who didn't fit into the social conventions. But it still did just that.

I think maybe this was because much of the focus of the book was actually focused on the Jersey Devil or Leeds Devil as it was know. It took on a great historical fantasy feel as it involved mythology and fantastical creatures. And even though this was the bulk of the plot it too wasn't too overwhelming either. It gave it all this realistic feel that the Devil and all the other monsters were in fact possible. I honestly didn't think they were going to be. I don't want to say too much but I loved the way they handled this. It made for a good balance between history and mythology which I really appreciated.

But that wasn't the only aspect to the plot of this book. There was also I really subtle mystery. It wasn't anything that you really try to solve, it was just one more thing about the book that kept me reading. It added a lot of atmosphere and interest to the book. This was one of those narratives where you get past and present to learn how the characters got to be where they were and how they are the way they are. It all unfolded in an interesting way but this was also my main criticism. We have multiple perspectives and multiple settings and time periods which made things a little hard to keep straight. I liked the way it unfolded but I wish there was more of a distinct feel between each section.

What made up for that however were the characters. The real heart of this book was in the relationship between the sisters. I loved the relationship for Od and Tru. They had so much respect and love for one another. They very easily could have had a protector and protected relationship but it goes deeper than that. Yes, Od takes care of Tru but in the end they realize that they need each other to be at their best and I loved that. It was just another great theme about the book.

But the characters in general were really likable and complex. Cat Winters does a great job in developing strong female characters. And you can look at this book and think that we are talking kickass female heroines chopping off heads and taking names but that is not what you will find in this book. Instead you will find intelligent and strong-willed women who don't allow their weaknesses to get the best of them. In this book we alternate perspectives between Od and Tru and I liked that. It gave the book and characters a lot of depth. And honestly I really liked both Od and Tru. I thought it would be for different reasons but in the end they both had kind of tragic backstories and were stronger for it. I liked them both so much that I can't say which one I liked more and that's not very common for me. But the author really did a great job with the writing complex and likable characters.

All in all Odd & True was a good historical fiction novel. It had an engaging historical setting, plenty of mystery and fantasy to create a great atmosphere, and complex and likable characters. I really enjoyed it.

I give Odd and True by Cat Winters 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. I would definitely recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoyed and think it is a good fall read for people who aren't necessarily fans of horror. Although I think it's far from Cat's most complex work. If you are looking for a YA historical fantasy check this one out.

Have you read Odd and True? What did you think? leave me a comment with your thoughts.Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Usually I don't like historical fiction that has fantasy or paranormal elements. I like to keep those genres seperated but I don't think I'd dislike this book. It sounds pretty great!

  2. Ohh, I don't normally like books that switch to multiple POVs and have different timelines but I do really like the sound of the characters in this one! I love strong female characters and Odd and True sound awesome. I might pick this one up when I get the chance!

    Awesome review!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!