Something for Sunday evening.
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Title: What I Thought Was True
Release date: 15th of April 2014
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Dial
Pages: 416 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
The eagerly anticipated follow-up to My Life Next Door is a magnetic, push-me-pull-me summer romance for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.
Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her idyllic 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.
Huntley Fitzpatrick delivers another enticing summer read full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions, and a romance that will make every reader swoon.
This was in a way a really unusual book, because many of the clichés I would expect from a typical rich-boy-poor-girl romance weren’t there and I was caught off guard in a pleasant way. For example, I was anxiously waiting till the parents or even friends would mix themselves in the relationship and the typical he’s-too-good-for-you-or-she-isn’t-on-your-level rubbish would start being thrown all around. Or, how there is this final confrontation where the guy has to reject the ideals of his rich upbringing and make a choice in a grand gesture that he would give anything up for the girl he loves. Refreshingly, no such melodrama happened here. It was all considerably realistically handled and portrayed.
The lack of familiar scenarios wasn’t the only aspect that made this story somewhat unusual in the best of ways. The way the topics of sexuality and having sex was handled in the case of Gwen was unique and not really on the same page compared to other YA books. It wasn’t scandalous or abnormal that Gwen enjoyed sex and, well, did it with some people the reader wouldn’t necessarily approve or understand. There was, of course, different levels of condemning from people around her, but she herself didn’t make a number of it and I liked that about her. Also, in general, sex wasn’t just the representation of love in this book, the story highlighted various reasons behind having sex – it was interesting to read about it in a YA book.
The book was also different in a sense that there were crucial parts of the complicated history between Gwen and Cassidy hidden from the reader and not laid out right away. Due to that I couldn’t really figure out either of them or what their motives or relationship status was. Bit by bit their past rift was revealed and while the mystery was somewhat interesting to see unfold, the not knowing also bothered and confused me a bit.
The secondary relationship of Nico and Viv had interesting issues, but wow, I didn’t expect that from the end. What a blow in the face for one of them.
I wasn’t that happy about the fact that most conflicts in the book could have been completely avoided and were textbook definitions of miscommunication and misunderstandings. It kind of annoyed me that they would have been so easily resolved if people would just talk.
Gwen was an overall ok heroine, I liked her somewhat free spirit in the socially confined position she was stuck in and her attitude towards her relationship with guys. I also liked her devotion to her broken and colorful family (and memorable it definitely was, plus, it was great to see parents and family so intertwined to the story in a YA romance). In all other aspects I found her a bit bland.
I thought Cassidy was a likeable hero. The fact that his wealth and family background wasn’t flaunted all the time and he actually blended in with the other workers and felt quite natural in his role as a yard boy was a nice change from books where the rich guys usually ooze money and class in every sentence written. He came across as this simple, easygoing, pleasant, good-natured, helpful and very patient (regarding Gwen) cute boy-next-door.
This book surprised me in various ways, I was expecting something on the standard line due to the topics explored, but the result was something completely different. So I have a quite high opinion of this story and will definitely check out other books from the author, if for nothing else, to see how she makes other possible typical storylines her own and gives them a new viewpoint.