June 4, 2014

Latest Read: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publication date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)

My Thoughts
If it’s written by Huntley Fitzpatrick, I will read it. That’s how big of an impression My Life Next Door made on me. I can still gush about Jase's swoon factor (which is super high!), the relatability of Sam and the perfect depiction of their teenage first love romance. So, as you can imagine my expectations for What I Thought Were True were extremely high. Which is why this review is so hard for me to write.

Gwen Castle is a girl trying to move on from past mistakes but lives in a small town called Sea Shell where people make it difficult to forget them. She's focusing on the important things though - her new summer job acting as elderly lady's companion, her dysfunctional but lovable family and ignoring the boys who earned her the not-so-great reputation in the first place. This focus is interrupted when she finds out the new yard boy in town is none other than Cassidy Somers. Cassidy is a popular jock at school who lives across the bridge in Stony Bay, which also puts him in a whole other class altogether. In other words, rich and likely to go places instead of being stuck in a small town forever. It's a classic tale of two people born into a certain mold but who want to be different.

Given this is my second Fitzpatrick book, it's clear to me that this lady knows how to write characters, relationships and complicated family dynamics. Even when I don't necessarily relate to each person or I wish we had learned a little more about them, they all seemed alive and real to me. Gwen is a good example of this. It's never really clear why she pushes things physically with guys or why she's so closed off (daddy issues?) but in the end, what stood out the most to me was how she doesn't allow her reputation to break her. She's blunt and can take anything thrown at her. Which makes her interactions with Cassidy so enjoyable. Because he pretty much never knows what she may say or do around him.

Cassidy is actually a nice guy despite the crowd he runs with and I thought his patience and persistence towards Gwen said a lot about him and his feelings for her. I liked their relationship and in a lot of ways, it was realistically portrayed. Like how hard it is the communicate, the physical part. But sometimes it seemed like these two characters were always trying so hard to not make out (or more), that we didn't get enough of them just getting to know each other. My favorite scene of theirs was when Cassidy met Gwen's family and she was mortified by how crazy they were acting. They talked, they laughed and it made me laugh. It was moments like those that really made me root for their relationship.

Now it would be easy to just focus on the romance but there are a lot of relationships throughout the entire book! There's Gwen and her best friend, who happens to be in serious, long-term relationship with Gwen's cousin Nic. Who is like a brother to Gwen (and reminded me of one of my guy cousins). Then there's Gwen's little brother who struggles with an un-named mental handicap and becomes close to Cassidy. Plus Gwen's whole family is just complicated. Cassidy and his best friend are complicated. Gwen's job and the woman she works for plays an interesting role in the book too. There's a lot and every bit of it was interesting. But I do wonder if it's because of all these little sub-plots that the pacing felt uneven, underdeveloped and at times unfocused. I felt invested in everything to a certain degree but I can't say I fully connected as much as I expected to.

Do I recommend?
I think Huntley Fitzpatrick is an amazing writer so I definitely recommend her books. My Life Next Door is still my favorite but I still think this is worth checking out too!

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I still haven't read this one, even though I pre-ordered it and everything! I'm a little nervous, I'll admit, given than so many people had reservations about this novel. Still, because of my love for My Life Next Door, I feel like I owe it to Fitzpatrick to read another of her novels! Plus, I am at least expecting to love the way things are written in this novel. Glad to see that there were some positives even though you didn't connect with this one as much!

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