Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

16 April, 2014 Reviews 6 comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley FitzpatrickWhat I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Series: Standalone
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers on April 15th 2014
Pages: 416
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

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.

From Goodreads

What I Thought Was True is lovely, just lovely. It’s like a warm, fluffy blanket I want to wrap myself up in and snuggle with all day. If solidly written, adorable contemporary romances featuring sassy female leads are your thing, you should probably drop everything and go get your hands on a copy. The characters are fabulously relate-able, the scene-setting is subtle but pervasive and the plot is grounded and real. It’s a winner all around and I wish it had hands so I could give it the high five it so richly deserves.

Harry and Hermione high five

Gwen is fantastic, she’s smart and holds her own while still being realistic and flawed in ways I (mostly) sympathize with. She flips back and forth between cool and awkward in a continual and deeply familiar cycle. Sometimes she’s totally out of her element, sometimes she manages to get in a well-targeted zinger. She’s an everygirl in the broadest sense of the word. She worries about the future, her family, her friends. She wants the people she loves to be happy and also do what’s right for her, even if she doesn’t know exactly what that is yet. She isn’t prefect, she has a tendency to leap to conclusions and stubbornly plant her feet and stay there, but overall I would be her friend in a heartbeat.

Huntley Fitzpatrick is amazing when it comes to submerging you in her stories, they are instantly real and vibrant in a way few authors pull off. From the first chapter I had a clear picture of Gwen in my head and by page 63 I wanted to elbow my way into her tight-knit best friend trio and was full-on in lust with Cass, her smooth and charming on the outside, squashy and marshmallowy on the inside boy-of-significance (not a boyfriend, but a person of interest) (person of interest in a literal way, not a suspect-in-a-homicide kind of way) (love interest, if we’re being technical).

Also worth mentioning: Mrs. Ellington, the old woman Gwen spends her summer mentoring. Mrs. E (I call her Mrs. E because we’re tight like that) is so fabulously badass if she were real I’d be banging on her door right now demanding she adopt me. I can only hope that when I’m 80 I have a circle of friends like Mrs E and her crew who sit around and make the 17 year old companion girl read the sexy bits of erotica out loud multiple times while we try and figure out whether or not they are logistically possible.

Sassy high five

You want to know what my absolute most favorite thing about this book was? (Obviously you do because you are here reading this), how thoughtfully and realistically this book addressed sex. In my experience with YA, sex is generally either not mentioned, not something the characters are doing or it’s a significant and/or culminating plot point of a book/ship/character arc. In What I Thought Was True sex is kind of just there as part of the characters’ experience, they aren’t necessarily having it, but it’s a thing that happens. It’s both significant and merely part of the wallpaper of their lives and I appreciated the all-encompassing approach. It was a lot more relate-able and familiar for me than many of the other contemporaries I’ve read (to be fair, contemporary is a genre I’ve only recently begun reading more of).

There are also casual references to using condoms and being on the pill as though it’s not only big deal, but probably a smart thing to do if you are or plan to be sexually active and HALLEFUCKINGLUIAH. You know what turns me on? Realistic and frank acknowledgements of sex and the teenage experience with a subtle emphasis placed on being safe and smart.

Tina Fey self five

 

My second favorite thing was the ship. Not only is Cass adorable and sweet and generally all around wonderful, but their relationship dynamic is on point, which is not to say perfect. I like that Fitzpatrick takes the time to show that liking someone and figuring out a relationship can be hard on both parties. I also love that there’s a subtle, glorious twist on traditional, gender-based relationship dynamics. When it comes to the physical stuff, Gwen is the one making the first move and owning the situation whereas Cass tends to be the one opening up on the emotional side. It’s so smoothly done and true to character that I didn’t even consider the significance of what was happening until thinking about it later.

Amy and Tina high five

Bravo, Huntley Fitzpatrick, bravo. I flat out adored What I Thought Was True, there is no way I’m doing this book justice, but trust me, it’s amazing and you want to read it.

Meg Morley

Meg Morley

Co-bloggery at Cuddlebuggery
Meg is an all-around book nerd who just really wants to talk about books, preferably with other people but by herself will do. Find her on Goodreads.
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6 Responses to “Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick”

    • Meg Morley

      Thank you! I really liked My Life Next Door and then this one blew me away. That may just be a personal thing because I was relating right and left but I would say if you are already a Huntley fan, you will not be disappointed.

  1. Lisa (Fic Talk)
    Twitter:

    Oh Meg, I so cannot wait to get to this one. Will be reading it this weekend for sure. I utterly loved MLND and I felt that Fitzpatrick did the same as mentioned above when it came to the sex as an issue… there just wasn’t any issue. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before in YA. It just so seamlessly wove itself into everyday life, as it should. Most YA either make it out to be a bad thing/impossible thing/and the like but not with this author!

    Great review! All the parts that you enjoyed seems like I would enjoy them, too!
    Lisa (Fic Talk) recently posted…Comment on Release Day Launch: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout by LisaMy Profile

  2. Paola Carolina

    Awesome review, Meg! 🙂 I just got this from the library and I can’t wait to read it! I’ll have to wait until finals are over (absolute torture) but I’m sure I’ll devour it in a day once I have some free time.

  3. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Ooooh, a full five stars from the much discriminating Meg Morley! Fancy pants, this book is wearing. Obviously. Book pants. They’re legless, but you know they are pants by their fanciness.

    Ahem.

    Mrs. E is the BEST. She’s so fantastic and, yes, if I live to be that old, I better be chilling on the beach with old you and old Gillian and old Ellis discussing totally inappropro things because we have absolutely zero fucks to give. Also, we will SO do that with erotica.

    I was so impressed that Fitzpatrick made me ship this ship. She’s an evil genius. And by evil I mean probably the sweetest person. Whatever. That’s pretty close, right?
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Review: Red by Alison CherryMy Profile

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