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True Letters from a Fictional Life (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

What a ride this was! I've honestly been waiting for a book to come around where I felt so instantly drawn to main character because I truly saw myself. Reading this book really, really brought me back to my 16 year old age and finding that first love. We can all think back on that and remember that nothing every quite felt like that again-- nothing will be more special, regardless of how it ended (if it did). It was even more amazing to see a YA book accomplish complete realistic circumstances at realistic times. This is a story of not only James coming to peace with himself, his sexuality, and his future, but also a story of his entire circle of friends and family coming to peace with James. Not a day goes by where I don't think about basically all the books I've ever read (not that it's been a whole, whole lot) but this is one I will think about and always find myself smiling.

-- Josh

— From Josh H. Staff Picks


“Just the right touch of humor, mystery, drama, and romance should earn this a place on every teen bookshelf.” Kirkus (starred review)

This heartfelt debut novel from Kenneth Logan, reminiscent of Love Letters to the Dead and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, explores a muddy landscape of truth and lies and lays bare the sometimes painful but often hopeful work of writing one’s own authentic story.

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student, and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world—letters he never intends to send—he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s his friend, a boy, who lingers in his thoughts.

James’s secret letters are his safe space—but his truth can’t stay hidden for long. Will he come clean to his parents, his teammates, and himself, or is he destined to live a life of fiction?

About the Author

Kenneth Logan grew up in New Jersey and taught high school English in Vermont and San Francisco. He lives in Brooklyn. You can visit him online at

Praise For…

“A funny and realistic coming-out tale… The rounded characters deal with betrayal and honesty and love and near tragedy in ways teen readers, gay or straight, will recognize. Just the right touch of humor, mystery, drama, and romance should earn this a place on every teen bookshelf.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“We need stories that give courage to kids struggling to be honest with themselves and others about who they are. Logan tells one that will give you hope and make you laugh.”
— Robbie Rogers, LA Galaxy midfielder, former midfielder for the US National Soccer Team

“James and his friends have deep, meaningful, complex bonds... Logan’s look at a boy reconciling his private and public selves is well written and affecting.”
— School Library Journal

“Logan handles his material exceptionally well, building suspense as he dramatizes both the downside of being in the closet and the realistic complications of coming out, while creating, in James, an unusually thoughtful and sympathetic character... [a] satisfying debut.”

“A wonderful book that will encourage young readers to seek authenticity and stand up for their true selves… LGBT teens, as well as straight, will recognize much of their lives in this story. Highly recommended.”
— Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

“Logan tackles the complexities of coming out thoughtfully, presenting realistic (and not always fully supportive) responses to James’s revelation.”
Publishers Weekly

“[James’] painful, funny experiences with family, love, and friends will resonate with many teens.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062380258
ISBN-10: 0062380257
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Pages: 336
Language: English