Title: Odd & True
Author: Cat Winters
Review: The opening to Odd & True was great we meet the sisters Oddette and Trudchen (who refer to each other as Od & Tru – hence the title) growing up with their aunt and uncle. Oddette tells Tru many fairy tales and legends often including members of their own family, telling her they were magic until their Aunt Vik sends Oddette away leaving Tru to fend for herself and with a bum leg from polio it is very hard. The story is told from different perspectives and also jumps backwards and forwards in time so I was a little worried I would just confused with the story.
Years after Aunt Vik sent Oddette away she returns on Tru’s 15th birthday to tell her all the stories she told her as a child are true and she wants Tru to join her in hunting the creatures that have become attracted to her. Tru is very sceptical of her sisters’ stories but goes along with it for Oddette’s sake. When we switch to Oddette’s perspective we see that her life growing up especially after the birth of her sister wasn’t great; it was even neglectful at times and the only person she has to turn to is her uncle Magnus with whom she has a very special bond. Magnus is the one who tells Oddette of magic and her mothers’ monster hunting adventures, he is the one that gets Oddette to believe and she now has to convince her sister to believe as well.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel we see Oddette desperately trying to get Tru to come with her especially after she learns what Tru has been seeing in the tea leaves but her sister refuses. Tru doesn’t want to leave her aunt alone and she is also afraid because she feels she isn’t as brave or confident as Oddette and therefore isn’t worthy of the same happiness’s that Oddette has. As Oddette is preparing to leave again because her aunt won’t allow her to stay for reasons that Tru doesn’t completely understand that Tru’s internal conflict can be seen clearly. She doesn’t want her sister to leave again but she doesn’t want to leave the security of her aunt’s home either but in the end she is forced to choose and she chooses Oddette. She doesn’t do this because she wants to but because she feels a sense of loyalty and service towards her sister.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel we jump back and forth between the two sisters’ perspectives but also backwards and forwards through time and we see that Tru has been living in a bubble for years and I have a feeling she is going to have a very rude awakening to the real world and the world of monsters. As the sisters begin their journey to find the monsters hunting Tru but Oddette also agrees to make a quick stop at their mothers’ home along the way to prove to Tru was doesn’t have many memories of their parents that she is still alive and still loves Tru. After seeing the way Oddette was treated as a child I was really worried for Trudchen and whether she would react well if she is rejected by her mother as a young woman rather than a child.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel we see that Oddette learned the truth of her family very young and it has warped her perception of her childhood forever but it is the very same truth that she and everyone else constantly sheltered Tru from. Now that Tru is a young inquisitive woman she is beginning to ask questions and gets incredibly frustrated when people refuses to give her straight answers. There seems to be a lot of conflict between the sisters in the early stages of their quest, this is mainly due to the fact that Tru feels her life has been very sheltered while her sister has been able to explore the world, learn new things and even fall in love things that Tru has never had the chance to do. While Tru had been sheltered Oddette has been exposed to things that no child should. They learn that the monster they are hunting could be the Leeds devil which excites Oddette. Tru meanwhile tries to squeeze as much information as she can out of her sister but it seems that Oddette is harbouring some secrets of her own.
As we cross into the second half of the novel Tru isn’t only reading the tea leaves but having strange dreams about the monster and it involves a bit from Oddette’s past; Cy who she never wants to see again although she won’t reveal the reason why. We see the extent of Oddette’s past and why she has a bad relationship with Cy and it may also reveal the reason she was sent away from Tru years before. The girls also face a lot of prejudice, the men hunted the Devil seem to think it can be caught with traps and bullets so when Oddette tells them different they don’t want to listen. Not even Tru’s ability to read tea leaves and her visions helps sway the men on allowing them to help but the girls aren’t giving up yet, they will embrace on their own hunt for the Leeds Devil before it hurts someone close to them.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel I was having to stop reading every couple of chapters because I was crying so much especially for Oddette who has suffered so much heart break in her life and it wasn’t shaping up to be any better for her now that Cy is back in the picture. While I wanted this novel to be happy and light like most YA novels but this kept tugging on my heartstrings in the most cruel way at times. I was beginning to believe that all the monster talk and adventures the sisters have had over the years has only been a cover to hide their tragic lives. I was surprised when Tru starts to take control for the first time in her life she refuses to listen and go along with what everyone else is telling her. She demands to be told the truth and not to be treated like someone who will break at the first sign of trouble, but when Od refuses her wishes still she goes to hunt the Devil alone with only the tools that once belonged to her mother as protection.
As we cross into the final section of the novel we see how far Tru has come and the real reason Oddette went to take her from their aunt. We also discover the reason Oddette has been travelling the country for year and what she is looking for. In the end the truth is revealed and the sisters can move on with their lives in the way they were destined to. The epilogue really broke my heart but in a good way and it also leaves a nice opening for a sequel should Winters write on.
Overall, I really enjoyed Odd & True. This is the first Cat Winters book I have read despite owning quite a few and I will definitely be picking them up very soon as should everyone else. Odd & True isn’t your average monster hunting novel; it will make you laugh, make you cry and everything in between.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by Abrams & Chronicle
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