Title: What I Thought Was True

Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick ♥ @HuntleyFitz

Expected Publication:
April 15, 2014

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Pages: 416

Genre(s): Young Adult ♥ Contemporary ♥ Romance

Source: borrowed ARC

Summary from 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.

Average Goodreads rating (as of 03/17/2014): 3.79

  • Christina thought this novel was so realistically perfect. It goes on her top shelf.

**Special Note:** My KP, Stacee, from the wonderfully fabulous Adventures of a Book Junkie, let me borrow her ARC of this title. All quotes and opinions will be of this version and not from the published edition (which you should totally go and buy).

♥ Initial Thoughts and Rating: I’m giving this an actual rating of 4.5 stars, but I loved all the characters too much to lower it to only 4. That’s one thing about Huntley Fitzpatrick, she gives good character. Whether you end up loving or hating them or stuck halfway on the metaphorical fence about how you feel about them, the point will always be that she will make you feel. She brings each character to life, giving them unique personalities with flaws and quirks, and she makes it seem so effortless. And you all know about my need for character connection in books, and this author and What I Thought Was True brings it in spades.

♥ The Lowdown: Gwen Castle is your typical teen girl with a loving, dedicated family, good friends, and a few secrets and mistakes swept under the rug. She resides in Seashell Island, a tiny island town that’s a paradise for vacationers in the summer, but is starting to feel more and more like a prison to her. Like any other girl on the brink of adulthood with the future wide open, she’s hoping to escape the same fate that’s befallen all of the generations before– the ones that found their feet permanently planted in the sandy shore–and leave the island, its snooty summer occupants, and all its crap-paying occupations far behind. But no one leaves the island unless they have a means, so she’ll be making a good start on this by breaking away from working at her dad’s restaurant for the summer and watching an wealthier elderly lady named Mrs. Ellington.

Cassidy Summers, pretty rich boy, one of Gwen’s greatest mistakes, and current black sheep of his family, decided to cross the bridge from Stony Bay and “slum it up ” as the yard boy for the little seaside town. Due to both of their new occupations, and because life likes to see Gwen squirm, their paths keep crossing and throwing them together. As they spend more time together, the mutual attraction continues to build. But even if their chemistry is right, an event in their past can keep them from moving forward unless they let go of old hurts and get down to the real truths of what really happened. 

While Gwen could count on a lot of things: her cousin, Nic, to be training religiously for the Coast Guard Academy, for her Grandfather to spout random Portuguese at her, being the third wheel of her best friend’s romantic duo, for her mom to still do her dad’s laundry even though they’re divorced and live in separate homes, and for Emory, her little brother, to be toting around his favorite stuffed animal, Hideout the stuffed hermit crab, this particular summer is about to throw her one hell of a curveball. Combine Cass’s arrival on her island with all the other issues that arise and shake her foundation, Gwen is about to undergo a journey that will test her beliefs about life, family, and love and change them irrevocably. What she thought was true doesn’t even come close to the reality. (See what I did there? Heee.)

“That what you’ve always had doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll always get. That what you’ve always wanted isn’t what you’ll always want.”
quote taken from the What I Thought Was True ARC on pg. 393

♥ My Thoughts: I can tell you right now, if you go into this novel with certain expectations after loving her first novel, My Life Next Door (You can find my flailing, I-heart-this-so-much review of it here.), then you’ll probably walk away a little miffed, in my opinion. Because let’s all be honest, that book was amazing and you’ll be hard-pressed to find another exactly like it, even if this particular novel is written by the same author. So, for me, I tried to put Jase and Sam’s swoony relationship and their story completely out of my mind. I wanted this novel to be what it’s supposed to be: a standalone- a novel only comparable to itself. I think I was able to be objective, and that’s why I ended up loving this as much as I did.

For the safety of all spoiler-phobes in the bookisphere, I won’t go into any details on the plot and sub-plots of this book at the risk of giving away the smallest hint of this story because there’s so much mystery in how exactly Cass became Gwen’s biggest mistake. I will say a few things in regards to this book, though. One, though it was frustrating at times, I appreciated the way Fitzpatrick allowed little bits of info to trickle in about how things came to be between Cass and Gwen. It kept me turning the pages and trying to puzzle out all the pieces to this enigmatic push-and-pull relationship these two had going on. Secondly, there’s a richness in tone and atmosphere that the author writes with that pulls you completely into the book- feeling all the emotions, a sense of breathing in the lush setting, and living alongside these amazing characters. And they are so so so very amazing. Each one of the characters, no matter how big or small their roles are in the overall story, come alive on every single page and the connection I built with every one of them was almost instantaneous.

But if I’m going to applaud Fitzpatrick for anything, it’s for her ability to spotlight so many real issues, ones that are affecting teens and young adults and older adults alike. She shows the dynamics and functionality- or the even dysfunctional side- of family despite (or even in spite) of social stature. She tackles how all special needs and illnesses or disabilities don’t come with labels or a diagnosis or a simple cure, and sometimes you need to stop trying to figure how why they’re different or how to fix them and love them because of their differences. She highlights the trickiness of love- first or second, new or old- and how regardless of age, it’s still hard to navigate without trust and communication. However, what I found really refreshing was how she made it okay for Gwen to want a physical connection, to enjoy sex, especially when being safe about it. But more importantly, she elaborated on the difference of “hooking up” and having sex when it means more, when it’s worth more to the two people involved. It also shows how easily sex can complicate relationships/friendships/connections. (Please note, for all those people getting their panties in a bunch about sex being mentioned in a YA book even though it’s always handled seriously and with safety, there aren’t explicit scenes in this book. Everything is really tame.) It also touches briefly on the gray areas of morals and how easy it is to sway between right and wrong.

♥ Swoons: Yes, there are definitely swoons in this book. Cass has an easy charm about himself and he teaches Emory how to swim and is so good with him and And AND… swoon city!!!. (But again note, if you go into this expecting the same sweet swoony words and actions of Jase Garrett, you will be sorely disappointed. Cass Somers is swoony in his own right, but the swoons were completely different than the ones Jase gave us in Fitzpatrick’s debut novel.)

♥ Swoony Teaser: 

“Steady. I’m mapping you,” he says, close to my ear, moving his touch to my jawline, then along my lips to the little groove above them.
–quote taken from the What I Thought Was True ARC on pg. 347

♥ Verdict: Yes, a million times over yes! You should absolutely read this book when it is published. Huntley Fitzpatrick continues to wow me with her characters and the way she tells their tales with a tangible realness, so she’ll continue to be one of my favorite authors ever. I can’t wait until my own pre-ordered copy comes in so that I can dive back into this complex book about love, loss, family, and forgiveness complete with a lush background that makes me crave the ocean.

♥  A very special thanks to Stacee for letting me borrow her copy. Make sure you go check out her blog because she’s my most favorite person ever to see what awesome authorly adventure she’s been on recently.

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