Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release date: April 15th, 2014
 Publisher: Dial (Penguin)
Series: No
Source: ARC from the publisher
Length: 416 pages
Rating: *happy sigh*


 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.

This boooooooooooook. I closed this book with a happy sigh and an aching tightness in my chest, equal parts enchanted and sad. What I Thought Was True was just what I was expecting from the author of My Life Next Door, a book I love to pieces. This book, set in the same town and world as MLND, captures the bittersweetness of summer. How it bridges the end of something with the beginning of something else, how it seems to symbolizes your past and your childhood but also the years to come. It's about how sometimes the things you thought you wanted aren't what you really want... or, they aren't all you wanted. It's about the complexities of life and getting your timing right.

What I Thought Was True made me happy and heartbroken and hopeful (and alliterative, apparently). I think the amazing thing about Fitzpatrick is how human all of her characters are, every single one of them. They’ve got flaws and fears and pointy edges and soft middles and I just adored reading about them. I pretty much had this look on my face the entire time:

Oh, and you might not know this by looking at the cover, but this book is so funny. Like, I knew Fitzpatrick could make me giggle (courtesy of George, my favorite Garrett), but man, there was actually snickering going on with WITWT. And most of that boils down to my total adoration of Gwen, our fully human, relatable, brilliant, awkward narrator. This girl is such a spaz and I just love her to bits. She’s in such a flux period of her life where she can’t understand herself at all, where she thinks she’s got the rest of the world and her own future figured out… but, obviously, all of that sort of unravels, and she has to figure out how things really are.

Gwen babbles. She stress bakes. She has a very sarcastic interior monologue. She's forthright and a feminist and totally insecure about herself and her reputation. This book is gloriously sex-positive, stressing how much of an individual choice it is, portraying the decisions and effects and consequences involved in such a mature way. All of Gwen's choices hurt or help her, and watching her sift through the difference is just... well, I've forgotten how to word, because really, Huntley Fitzpatrick does it so much better, so just go read the book, okay? Seriously, is she a wizard? HOW DO YOU MAKE ME FEEL ALL THESE THIIIIINGS?

And then there's the romance. THE ROMANCE. Cassidy Somers, newest addition to my stable of book boyfriends. Cass is just as real as Gwen (and also super darn funny--seriously, every time these two conversed I was laughing like crazy) (also swooning) (much, much swooning). He's polite to a fault, he's honest, and he's insecure, too--but he's sweet and kind and I want to wrap him up in my arms and squeeze him like a very normal human person would. Ummmm. Yeah. And the chemistry? The heat?

The romance is healthy and gorgeous and fraught with poor timing and misunderstandings. Cass is the rich WASP boy from the mainland, and Gwen is the half-Portuguese daughter of a cleaning woman with a "reputation". And on Seashell Island, the haves and the have-nots lead very different lives with very different futures. These two have nothing in common but... a mutual mistake, shall we say? In the beginning, I wasn't so sure about why we were being made to wait so long to learn their true back story, but I liked the way it slowly unfurled, and how you figured it out before you learned it. But I believed this couple and rooted for them and swooned over then and for sure moaned, "Noooooo!" At one particularly tragic roadblock to Happily Ever After.

(Oh, and the "twist"? I SO KNEW IT BUT I HOPED I WAS WRONG and nooooo so sad but so real to life but gahhhhhh wording is hard)

There's just so much going on in this book that I don't have time. They're a loving, lopsided, diverse family, class tensions, identity issues, sexual issues, first love, true love, the future, the past. So much. There's Gwen's beautiful relationship with her younger brother and with her same-age best-friend cousin, Nic, whom I also loved. There's Gwen's other best friend, Vivie, who's been in a relationship with Nic for nearly their whole lives. There's Gwen's Portuguese Grandpa Ben and my personal favorite secondary character, elderly Mrs. Ellington. The cast is rich and full of personality, and best of all, they made me laugh. They made me laugh and feel a lot.

It's safe to say that Fitzpatrick is one of my favorite authors now. I just love the way she writes and the way she never fails to spear her words right through my feels. I love her characters. And most of all, I love that her books are summer books with substance and swoons. (Man, I am killing it with the alliterations today.)

GO BUY THIS BOOK, OKAY? OKAY. THANKS. Sigh hi to Cass for me.


  1. OMG this makes me soooo excited! I loved mlnd and to hear this is even better is ahhhhh yay! and yay for new cute guys and diversity! already pre-ordered!

  2. I've never heard of this author, but she sounds like she really knows what she's doing! I love the idea of a summer romance with substance.

  3. I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS. It's been pre-ordered for months, and I can't wait for it to be in my hands! Sounds like an amazing follow-up to MLND, which I loved MADLY.

  4. Is it me or is Huntley Fitzpatrick churning out these novels at the speed of light??!!

  5. THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD. love that it might be even better than MLND!!

  6. Goodness me, YAY. I'm so glad this book lives up to MLND. I haven't even finished MLND yet and already I am DYING. I can't wait to read this one.


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