Only the Good Die Young by Douglas Trueman

Book Reviews


Only the Good Die Young
Douglas Trueman
Published: 26th July, 2014


Rebecca Lockhart moved to Vancouver to start a new life. What she found felt more like the end.

Raised with Victorian values and classically trained as a pianist, seventeen-year-old Rebecca takes solace in the prose of Jane Austen and the music of Debussy. But when a virtuoso guitar player exposes her to the free spirit of rock and roll, Rebecca’s outlook on the world begins to change. She dares to take risks her old self couldn’t imagine.

Hallway rumors of her new behavior reach the high school office, and Rebecca comes face-to-face with the vice-principal – Catherine Lockhart, her mother. Desperate to remain in mom’s good graces, she lies. Before she can blink, Rebecca is caught in a web of deceit that envelopes her entire life. If she reveals the truth, she and her mother will have to face an unspeakable secret from their past. If she doesn’t, a fellow student could be sentenced to prison.

Only the Good Die Young is a coming-of-age story for the teenager in all of us, laced with the dry, deadpan humor of a shy girl struggling to find her way.

Content warning: Very none descript sexual interactions; off the page sex; mentions of stalking, abuse, and rape

What I liked: I really liked Rebecca. Even though she was very judgmental of the people around her, Modern and Postmodern music, and made some decisions which landed her in trouble and lied about things I understood her as a character, as a flawed person. Rebecca was raised learning how to play the piano and music from before the Modern Era music, so she prefers the sounds of Bach and Mozart to anything her fellow students listen to. Especially when it comes to rock n’ roll. Rebecca has a strained relationship with her mother for several reasons, mainly because she was uprooted from where she grew up and placed as far away as her mother could get while remaining in the same country.  Not to mention the fact that the biggest secret her mother tries to keep from her Rebecca already knows, which leads to more complications for the two. I liked that because it shows how things can really be between family because of secrets that affect both parties involved. It felt real.

What I didn’t like: What she ends up lying about to her mother. She could have easily denied what Kyle (the guitar player) says and said something else entirely that happened which would have not been as bad as what she lied about. There’s also the inconsistency of Alex’s hair color, in the opening scene of the book. She’s described as a blond but when the story rewinds to the beginning of how everything happened she has black hair (which can be described as brunette since natural black hair is really just incredibly dark brown hair). Then when the scene happens chronologically she still has black hair.

Overall Review: Rebecca can be a very judgmental character, possibly due to how she was raised and the values she was raised with. Nevertheless, this a powerful book about what can happen to a person who feels as if they have to be perfect and carries around bitter resentment because of an incident that neither her or her mother speaks about. Rebecca is flawed in all the right ways making her have a depth to herself that I hadn’t expected when I started this story. While she tries to do what she believes is right in some places, in other instances she can be cruel to people or make bad decisions that affect others more than she realizes when she first lies in a long string of lies. The songs also referenced by Kyle are actually, considerably more important than just passing songs referenced. They played their own role in revealing the story.

Recommend?: Yes! This was an excellent read and I really enjoyed it!

Goodreads: 3.7/5 Amazon: 4.2/5 Barnes&Noble: 4.7/5


My Rating: 4.5/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 4.5
Idea: 4.7
Story: 4.3
Characters: 4.5


2 responses to “Only the Good Die Young by Douglas Trueman

  1. Hey! Thanks for the amazing review of my book. I agree that Rebecca is judgmental and a tad cruel; had the book gone longer she would have softened a great deal.

    You’re right about the inconsistency in Alex’s hair color. I went through the manuscript after someone else mentioned it and as far as I know, they’re all fixed in the versions that are posted online.

    Also, thank you very much for noticing what I was trying to accomplish via the book’s musical content. I originally used the lyrics for all of the songs I cited, but was told that would open me up to potential copyright lawsuits, so I had to delete them. It was heartbreaking. But I think the book still works without them.


    Doug Trueman


    • You’re welcome! I’m glad I got to read it! Personally, I like Rebecca as she is. Cruel and judgmental she may be, but there are people like that and it gives her a bit of uniqueness to herself.

      I’ve had my copy for about a little over two months now, so that could explain why it still contains that little mishap.

      I thought it worked, I see plenty of books where lyrics are put in and in a sense depending on the book and how it was done it felt like it interrupted the story and this book worked really well without them!

      Thanks for writing this story! 🙂


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