Deep Down True, with Giveaway

by 5 Minutes for Books

I liked the novel Deep Down True before I even read it. That’s right — I was liking it before I even read one page of the novel.

Author Juliette Fay prefaced the book with her acknowledgments, thanking those in her junior high school who were the rare combination of nice and popular and naming the friends who never betrayed her. She goes on to say that “Adolescents are an interesting bunch, prone to acts of both great generosity and great ferocity, and you never know which is coming at you till it’s in your face.”

Although junior high wasn’t a horrible time for me, I can relate. It was a learning and growing time. I began figuring out who I was. I learned (the hard way) who I could trust and who I couldn’t. I hurt others and I got hurt. I wasn’t one of the popular kids, but I had friends, and I was basically happy with who I was.

Deep Down True is a story about recently divorced Dana Stellgarten. Her kids are about the same age as mine — an almost 12-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy, which drew me in right away. When her 16-year-old niece has a falling out with her mom, she ends up in the household as well, providing both stability and some additional drama.

Dana is the kind of person who has always taken things as they come. She’s always been nice. She’s always been there for her kids and others. But when her ex-husband tells her he’s not going to be able to make his full support payments, she has to start thinking about herself when she gets a part-time job, and though it’s hard at first, I think she kind of likes it.

When she has to focus on herself and meeting the needs of her family, she also seems to become a real person again. Like her middle-school aged daughter, she finds herself wondering who she can really trust, who brings out the best in her, and who might be better to avoid. The novel begins with Dana feeling pretty one-dimensional — all mom all the time, but when her kids go off for a week with their dad, she has some time to just be, and it really benefits her.

This is a fairly light novel that deals with some heavy (yet unfortunately commonplace) issues such as teen rebellion, eating disorders, mean girls, insecurity, divorce, betrayal and forgiveness.

I loved Dana and the kids and especially her full-of-personality niece Alder and the kind man who gives her a job when she needs one. I laughed and shook my head in agreement and in disbelief over and over again while reading.

Deep Down True grabbed me with the acknowledgment page and didn’t let go until I read the last page.

We have one copy to give away (U.S. addresses only). Just leave a comment if you’d like to win, and we’ll announce the winner here in the weekly 5 Minutes for Books column on February 7.

Like books?? Check out our current giveaways. Subscribe to our 5 Minutes for Books feed. Follow us @5M4B on Twitter.

Book blogger Jennifer Donovan is so appreciative of those in her life who know what it is to be “deep down true,” which include friends, her kids, her husband and so many more. She blogs about other things she appreciates at Snapshot.

Email Author    |    Website About 5 Minutes for Books

5 Minutes for Books is the 5 Minutes for Mom sister site devoted to reviewing books for adults -- fiction, memoir, and nonfiction -- and kids of all ages. Managed by Jennifer Donovan, other contributors are Dawn, Lauren, Nancy, and Elizabeth. Follow us @5M4B on twitter and subscribe to our feed or like us on Facebook so you don't miss a thing!

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shondra January 24, 2011 at 12:10 am

Wow…what a great review. Sounds like a book I’d love to read. Thanks for this giveaway.


2 stacie January 24, 2011 at 7:11 am

@smw2485 i would love to win


3 Julie January 24, 2011 at 8:07 am

This books sounds great – I’m always looking for a new author to read.


4 Sandra K321 January 24, 2011 at 8:49 am

Sounds like a good “snuggle up on the couch with a blanket on a cold night” book.


5 cindy January 24, 2011 at 9:18 am

This looks like a great book!!!!


6 debbie January 24, 2011 at 9:59 am

I would love to read it, it sounds really good.


7 Elizabeth January 24, 2011 at 10:25 am

I would absolutely love that!


8 Amy January 24, 2011 at 10:53 am

Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the opportunity to win!


9 Katrina January 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I would love to win! I’m always looking for new, wonderful books to read.


10 Erica Rivera January 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Sounds like a great book. @EnjChichi333


11 Nadine B January 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Would love to read this book


12 Dani January 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Sounds like a good read!


13 Cory January 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Thanks for the chance.
mychancetowin at gmail dot com


14 Laura January 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Sounds Like an awesome book would love to read it and also pass it on so that my friends could read it as well. Hoping I win this book would be a blessing if not will have to see where I can purchase it so that I can read and share it with my friends.


15 Vilmarys January 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I’d love to win this! Thank you :)


16 Carol Wong January 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

This book sounds so great. I thinkwe need more books like this one. Please ente me in thiscontest.



17 Martha January 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I would love to read this book! I work at a library and we could use these type of books!


18 Karen January 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Sounds like a great book, thanks!


19 edj January 24, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Sign me up.


20 Terri January 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Sounds like a great book. Keeping my fingers crossed…


21 april yedinak January 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm

This sounds like something I would enjoy!


22 Ruthie B January 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Wonderful review…makes me want to read it!



23 Linda Kish January 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com


24 Barbara Manatee January 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I’m always looking for a new, good book! thanks for the reviews!


25 Web January 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm

My girlfriend recently convinced me to start reading fiction again. From your blog this sounds like a very good book. One of my resolutions is to add more variety to what I read so I think I will give this one a try.


26 Kelly Massman January 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Sure, I’d love to win! Thanks!


27 Tammy Gordon January 25, 2011 at 4:48 am

Would love to win this. :)


28 Terra Heck January 25, 2011 at 4:57 am

I’d like to read this book. Thanks.


29 Shari January 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

Sounds like a book both my mom and I would enjoy!


30 Christina January 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I have a tween at home who has just started experiencing being the odd one out, or not getting invited to everything they used to be invited to. We would both love to read this book.


31 BRenda Rupp January 25, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Please enter me in the contest!
I’m a subscriber of the blog.
I liked your article on facebook.



32 Maureen January 26, 2011 at 1:35 am

Sounds like a great book – would love to read it. Thanks, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)


33 Some Lucky Dog January 26, 2011 at 1:36 am

I’d love to win and give thisa read!
someluckydog at gmail dot com


34 Staci A January 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm

It sounds like a great book. I’d love to read it!


35 Tia January 26, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I would like to win.


36 Jessica T January 26, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Sounds like a great read!


37 Beth C January 27, 2011 at 9:31 am

Please enter me for this book. Thanks!


38 Jessica H January 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Sounds like a good book. It seems particularly appealing to me since my parents are getting divorced, and I have siblings in elementary, middle and high school.


39 Daniel M January 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I’d like to win, sounds interesting


40 nan January 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm

thanks for the chance
nannypanpan at


41 Dawn N. January 28, 2011 at 1:31 am

Awesome review! I wouldn’t want to revisit my adolescence for ANYTHING!! *sigh* But, I’d love to win this book!


42 BarbK January 29, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Sounds like a great book. Nice to read on a cold winters night. Thank you.


43 Natalia January 31, 2011 at 12:12 am

Thanks for this review, sounds interesting.


44 John January 31, 2011 at 12:13 am

Great giveaway, thank you!


45 riTa January 31, 2011 at 9:34 am

Sounds like it deals with some of the same issues we face in our extended family. YES, please add my name to the giveaway.


46 Tammy W January 31, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Sounds like a great book. I am a working mom of five with a stepdaughter… hmm.


47 Tonya January 31, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I’ve read a couple of reviews of this book and it sounds really good.


48 katklaw777 February 2, 2011 at 8:38 am

Big time snow as Blizzard 2011 hits my town.
Time to curl up and read a good book, thanks.


49 Christina February 3, 2011 at 11:12 am

I love your review – this sounds really, really interesting.


50 Jill February 3, 2011 at 9:53 pm

This sounds like something both me and my mother-in-law could get into.


51 Julie mom of 7 February 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm

What a good review , somthing that I can relate to with girls in both Middle & High school.
Would like to win :)


52 brandy February 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I would love to read this book, I had heard great reviews about it.


53 Tiffany D. February 7, 2011 at 12:57 am

I have had this on my wish for some time now. I would love to win a copy! Thanks for the chance :)


54 Christine W February 7, 2011 at 1:43 am

As a middle and high school teacher for 24 years, this sounds like a book that I would really like to read. This is a difficult time for students of this age.


55 Ann B February 7, 2011 at 6:51 am

This sounds like a book you read, reflect on, and pass it on to someone else who can learn from it!


56 Liz February 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I need something good to read!


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