Friday, June 6, 2014

Book Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Title: What I Thought Was True
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Source: Bought
Page Count: 416 pages
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
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.

My Thoughts

Upon finishing this book, I had intensely mixed feelings about this book. Don't get me wrong, What I Thought Was True was a good read, but I had many problems with it. I had high hopes for Huntley Fitzpatrick's second novel, since I absolutely fell in love with her debut novel My Life Next Door, and to say this book met my expectations is a bit of an understatement. 

One thing about What I Thought was True that was a bit problematic was that it took way too long for things to happen, and for the "problem" to be brought up. We know, as soon as we start, that Gwen has a past with Cassidy Somers, but what happened? And you're left wondering for a huge part of the book, and you don't find out until you're well into the story. When readers find out about "what happened," a lot of them said "that's it? THAT'S what happened?" We were left in suspense, big time, and we were left to think it was going to be something huge, like the climax in My Life Next Door, but the shock reveal was a big let down to most people - but not to me, because I completely forgot there was even supposed to be a huge shock.

Another thing I still can't get over: the ending. The reveal in the ending completely rubbed me the wrong way (I won't spoil it for you, but if you read the book - you know exactly what I'm talking about). The conflict there was just completely wrong and that's the main reason why I can't like the book the way I want to. My blood still boils when I think about it. Not to mention it was done really fast. The pacing of the whole book was off - super slow beginning, fast ending.

Despite the bad pacing, this book touches on some heavy stuff and I liked how Huntley Fitzpatrick went about it. She doesn't dance around the topic of sex, nor does she make it seem like a big deal. Sex in the novel was touched upon the way it should be - as a normal part of life. Gwen stigmatized herself as "not the kind of girl" who gets walked to the door because, essentially, she sees herself as a slut - a good time for the rich kinds to enjoy during the summer. But I love Fitzpatrick for squashing that stigma down, saying that you can have a regular sex life and be the girl who gets walked to the door - because you can be both! Society teaches us that we're either a good girl or a sex craved slut, and yay for authors who bash that and teach young readers that it's okay to want to have sex!

Cassidy and Gwen's relationship throughout the whole book made me squeal witch so much glee! You can tell, from the get go, that Cass really likes Gwen and he's such a great character! Nothing was cuter then when Gwen started stammering because she was nervous around him, and Cass just being the sweet southern guy that he is! Throughout the book, I just wanted to smoosh their face together and say "now, kiss!" because goodness gracious, they are so cute together, my heart just melted.

My heart really goes out to this because, despite all the things I didn't like about it, I really could relate to it. My family is Brazilian (just like Gwen), and my mother is also a house cleaner. I was never ashamed of my mother being a house cleaner, I always thought it was pretty cool. Yet we never had a lot of money to spend of frivolous thing, we always had to save up. Any extra money I made growing up always went to my parents and while reading What I Thought Was True, I couldn't help but feel attached to Gwen and her family (her, her mom, Nico) because her family is my family and it was strangely odd and heartwarming seeing myself being represented this way.

Despite all the odds, What I Thought Was True was a good novel. Huntley Fitzpatrick never walks of egg shells when dealing with a harsh topic and that makes her a great author. Huntley Fitzpatrick has easily become one author that I truly enjoy and I cannot wait for more books from her!

Quotes I like

“I finally get that sometimes we hold on to something - a person, a resentment, a regret, an idea of who we are - because we don't know what to reach for next. That what we've done before is what we have to do again. That there are only re-dos and no do-overs. And maybe ... maybe I know better than that.”

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