DiscoverYoung Adult

The Truth about Justyce


Loved it! 😍

An engaging story of self-discovery and first love with a 90s grunge soundtrack.

The desire to break-free isn’t unusual. Especially if you’ve grown up in a small town; living under the microscopic glare of local residents with very little escaping their attention or their judgement. In The Truth About Justyce, the main character, Cassie Walker finds herself in just such a predicament . Growing up with two alcoholic parents has made Cassie’s life very difficult. But when their destructive behavior culminates in her mother’s death and her father’s incarceration, Cassie becomes desperate to leave her small Tennessean town, in search of a new life just about anywhere else. In her desperation, Cassie steals the ID of a deceased woman, changes her name to Justyce, and hitchhikes a ride, hell bent on getting out of dodge. Unfortunately, that ride leads to tragedy when the speeding vehicle crashes, killing the driver and landing Cassie (now Justyce) in a Cleveland hospital. She is eventually released to care of a well meaning couple, and decides to stay put in Ohio, at least for the time being. Over the course of her recovery, Justyce makes friendships, finds a job, sketches in her spare time, and of course, falls in love. 

Dylan Campbell is a 16 year old aspiring singer-songwriter. He has already achieved some notoriety (due in part to his own traumatic past), but he’s ready to take his musical career to the next level. When friends introduce him to the new girl in town, Justyce, the chemistry between them is immediate. In spite of pending romance, the hallmark of any good love story is conflict. And in this case, conflicts abound. Post-traumatic stress, bad influences, a burgeoning addiction, and a jealous ex, all threaten Justyce’s chance at happiness and stability. But it’s the potential exposure of her real identity that poses the greatest threat of all.

The Truth About Justyce delves into the complexities of first love from the perspective of two individuals who have endured their share of disappointments and tragedies. I loved that the story takes place in the 1990s, and I appreciated how the music of that time was interwoven with the story. Grunge music primarily makes up the soundtrack to this narrative. But my hip-hop-lovin’ heart did back-flips over a Biggie Smalls reference. The only recurring sticking point for me was how the 2 year age difference between the couple seemed enormous, considering one is a working “adult” and the other is a high school student. Overall, however, it was an entertaining read. I greatly sympathized with Cassie’s/Justyce’s struggles. Even though the way she went about things was questionable (wrong, even), I truly admired her determination to make a better life for herself.


Reviewed by

I've always enjoyed reading and discussing books. It's my favorite past-time. Fun Fact: I never leave the house without a book. If you were to search my bag you'd find one or two selections in there at any given time. But please don't do that. It's highly invasive. Or at least ask beforehand.

The Truth About Justyce

About the author

Deanna R. Adams is an award-winning writer, speaker, and author of eight books, fiction and nonfiction. The Truth about Justyce, third in her Peggy Sue series, is her first young adult crossover novel. Books include Rock ‘n Roll and the Cleveland Connection, and others. See view profile

Published on August 15, 2020

Published by SoulMate Publishing

70000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Young Adult

Reviewed by