Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publication: April 15, 2014
By: Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers
Amazon | Goodreads
From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.
Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.
A magnetic, push-me-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.
I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book! My Life Next Door is one of my absolute favorite books and while What I Thought Was True does share some of the same characteristics as MLND; well-written, beautiful setting, multi-layered characters, witty banter and complex issues, it is very different.
I'll be honest, I started and stopped this book several times over the past few weeks. For whatever reason, I just couldn't get into it the way I wanted to, had hoped and expected to. It wasn't until I was sitting on my bathroom floor at 1:00a.m. (so as not to wake the husband up), having just finished the entire 408 pages straight through that I realized WHY I struggled to get into it...
I didn't like Gwen. I'm not even sure I can pinpoint exactly what it was that made me not like her. She's strong willed, snarky, hard working and fiercely protective of her family, all qualities I generally like in MCs, but... I don't think we would be friends in real life. (Which is totally okay.)
Cass was a really good guy! Funny, cute, and loyal, almost to a fault, but it was his patience with Gwen that won me over. Gwen assumes the worst of him (repeatedly) despite knowing EXACTLY how that feels, but Cass doesn't give up. Instead, he chooses to see the best in her and tries to get Gwen to do the same.
There are a lot of adults present in this story which was refreshing, even if some of them shocked and infuriated me at times. (I'm looking at you Gwen's parents.) But the most intriguing thing about What I Thought Was True (for me) was the honest look it took at the emotional side of sex.
Having "just sex" versus being in love, using sex as a weapon, and the physical consequences were discussed, but these characters found themselves in situations because of choices they made, and it was SO NICE to see them take responsibility for that. Forgiveness was another key element as well as hope. And that Epilogue was perfect!
Thank you fellow YABC Editor, Kim for passing this one on to me!