What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

DIAL BOOKS | Hardcover, 407 pages
April 15th, 2014
Young Adult | Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

“That we’re like picnic baskets. Useful, even kind of nice to have when it’s hot and you’re hungry. But who wants a picnic when summer’s over?” – Chapter 22, page 238

That sentiment is pretty much why I’m wary of reading summer romances; it’s the inevitability of an ending, the distance and the work involved in keeping the relationship going once the summer is over. While there was an ambiguous implication to what the future holds for these kids, there’s an obstacle that was equally challenging. It’s the old story of rich boy and poor girl; her uncertain future against his destined lot in life. Their places in the society, and the unspoken taboo that they’re not supposed to be together.

Gwen Castle has lived on the island all her life; borne out of a poor family, all she’s ever known is the need to work and help out. Cassidy Somers is the boy across the bridge from a wealthy family; while their paths wouldn’t normally cross, they’ve known each other long enough to be in each other’s periphery. But something happened between them in the Spring; something that Gwen hasn’t really told anyone. She knows she would work hard to keep out of his way, but when she finds out he’s taken the job as the island’s yard boy as punishment from his father, her world just got smaller.

Much of the not-so-good reviews for this book conveyed of a disappointment with the revelation of Gwen and Cass’ past. Some say, the author made a mountain of a molehill. I would like to disagree. I’m faced with a problem of whether or not I should divulge. It’s hard to dispute this because it is a major component in the plot, and would essentially be a huge spoiler for those who hasn’t read it yet. Just know that I understand why Gwen reacted the way she did, and can see why she hid that secret. I’d imagined I would’ve done the same myself; especially if Cass has been that unattainable guy that I’ve coveted all my young life. I think her issue stems more from embarrassment than anything. Especially when she’s trying to dispel a notorious reputation. Because of her tendency to make bad decisions in the past, and the overall outlook for girls like her in their small community, she was trying to break out of a mould.

Ms. Fitzpatrick has a propensity for realism; and it’s even more pronounced in this book. Gwen’s life exhausted me; she worked tirelessly, and without complaints. The love and care she has for her family – especially to her younger brother was so precious. The author also has a gift for portraying a closely-knitted family, which is something of a novelty in this genre. Gwen’s is definitely not nuclear, but it’s wonderful just the same. Is it also weird that I want to say there is something sexy about these kids? Am I allowed to say that? Because, really, Gwen and Cass has that sensuality about them.

There are secondary characters here that enriched this novel; some of them quirky, some frustrated me, and some of them made this story even more incredible.

What I Thought was True is a story about two people who wanted to break free from expectations. It is also about family, and how people would come and go in your life, but they’re the ones who will stick by your side. Ms. Fitzpatrick knows how to build a romance from the rubble of a shady past; awkward at first, honest in general, and sweet nonetheless.

  • It feels like all I want to read during the summer are contemporaries, but I also find myself getting tired of them pretty quickly. BUT, between your review and a bit of what I’ve read on Goodreads, it sounds like this one is different, and I’m definitely going to give it a try. 🙂

  • I have been dying to get my little hands on this book. I absolutely loved My Life Next Door (tell me you’ve read that book), and I have been longing for another novel by Fitzpatrick. I find that I am not worried about the hang ups some have been having regarding this book.

    Thanks for the review!

    • Lol! Yes, I’ve read MLND. Love, love. I hope you’ll enjoy this one. I can’t wait to read what you think. 🙂

  • I really enjoyed My Life Next Door but I’ve seen some negative reviews for this one. I’m not sure I’d click with Gwen and I’m having trouble with YA reads in general so I’m still not sure that I’d pick this up. Wonderful review, Joy! 🙂

    • I did notice how you’ve been reading a lot of adult fiction lately (good for you!). I sometimes go through the same thing myself. So yes, this might not suit your preferences nowadays. 🙂

  • I agree with you regarding summer romances, they give you nice, fluffy feelings during but there’s that impending expiration date of the relationship. That mystery regarding the main characters’ past is definitely intruiging! I kind of want spoilers..but I don’t. Hmmmm, I think I’ll out this on my wishlist and discover it myself.

    • Oh I’m the opposite. I like reading them but I dread the ending. Summer romances tend to equate to imminent doom. Lol.

      I hope you’ll enjoy this one!

  • “Ms. Fitzpatrick has a propensity for realism” Agreed. Huntley FItzpatrick’s writing is kind of magical and I love it. Even having the problems that I did with this book (as you know from reading my review) I still really enjoyed it and would recommend it. She just gives readers so much, her stories are so well-rounded and full, and real and emotional. She’s great.

    • Oh absolutely! I know I couldn’t get enough – even after the four-hundred some odd pages that I’ve just read. And I agree, she’s an awesome author.

  • I really enjoyed this one too. I didn’t think it was a “mountain out of a molehill” thing. I always like books where the characters have a past history that creates awkwardness. Yes, this was a different kind of book than MLND, but I might have enjoyed this even more!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

    • Most thought the revelation to be anti-climactic, but like you, I didn’t think so as well. I think I enjoyed both her books equally. 😉

  • Great great review Joy! I’m really looking forward to reading this one, it looks great 🙂 I think the plot sounds great and the cover is hooking me to read it!

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

  • Hah, we had pretty much the exact opposite reactions to this book–I actually really enjoy summer romances (as bittersweet as they can be), and I ended up feeling more mixed about this than most of my friends. I’m glad you loved it though, and I’m still looking forward to reading MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. Everyone raves.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • OMG. Miss Wendy! How have you not read MLND yet? Yes, you must remedy that situation, stat! I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one, though. It did start pretty slow, and the eventual reveal was kind of anti-climactic for most, but I truly enjoyed this one. Perhaps I’m biased? I love this author. Lol!

  • I am so excited to read this one! Both the realism and the romance sound great. I loved the family in My Life Next Door, so I’m hoping this one will be just as cool. Amazing review 🙂

    • If you were a fan of the family dynamics in MLND, then you’ll definitely appreciate what Gwen has in this book!

  • Gwen really does sound like an amazingly strong, independent character. I love that this book shows closely-knitted families, because as of late, I noticed they are dwindling in MG and YA stories (I know dysfunctional families are becoming more and more abundant in our society, but perhaps showing one that is full of love and care would breed even more love and care in the hearts of our readers? That’s a step to a brighter future, I say!). Plus, the two characters’ plights, with their own set of drama and problems, seem intriguing and compelling. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • I was just saying how there seems to be an unrealistic trend in YA wherein, teenagers are left floundering at an age where parents guidance is vital. Gwen’s family is different for sure. She lives with her mom, grandad, cousin and a younger brother with a learning disability. In the meantime, her dad is sort of in the picture as well but not living in the same house. Regardless, though, their presence is most welcomed in Gwen’s life.

      Thanks for your input, Faye. Appreciate it!

  • Ahhhh!! My copy just came in the mail yesterday! I can’t even WAIT to start it!! I’m in the middle of approximately 5 books right now (yeah, I’m a little crazy like that) so I’ll have to wait a bit longer, but I just know I’m going to love it. <3 So happy to see you enjoyed it!! 🙂

    • Hahhaha! I’m in the middle of a lot of books, too. So yeah, I understand. I hope you’ll enjoy!

  • This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to get around to reading. The realism and characters seem like they would be right up my alley

  • This is on my pile. I can’t WAIT to read it!

  • I’m so happy you enjoyed this one. I’ve been seeing mixed reviews, but I really want to love it!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • Thanks, Nicole. And I hope you will, too. 🙂

  • It’s great to find an author who is reallt good at making things realistic. Like that you can totally understand everything that happens. Thanks for the lovely review lady!

    • Thanks, Melliane. And Huntley does make a good case for her characters. I know some readers didn’t quite understand it, but I was a bit more generous. 🙂

  • I really wasn’t interested in reading this book because of all the hype. But I don’t see why not! It sounds really cute! So glad you liked it! Wonderful review.

    • Oh I know right? Everyone was so excited to read this book! But the reviews that came afterwards was a tad disappointing! I hope you’ll like it, anyway. 🙂

  • I bought this book but I put off reading it because of all the mixed reviews, but I might pick it up soon. You and I share similar tastes when it comes to books, so I will most probably understand where Gwen is coming from.
    I’m so glad you were able to enjoy this book, Joy.
    Beautiful review!

    • I’ll be sure to watch out for your review. I know we share most opinions on books so I’m interested to see what you think of this. 🙂

  • Wow…. I did not expect this book to be that deep and mysterious (Based on the cover, it looks so whimsical and sweet) I am definitely intrigued now, i’ve added this on GR and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. You sure know how to make someone excited 😉

    Very wonderful review. you sure made me excited 😉

    • Lol. Thanks, Jules. I hope you won’t be disappointed to find out what that secret is. Because I know, some readers have expressed dismay when they found out.

  • Christy

    1. I like summer romances because I like the ripping of the heart at the end. I’m sick.

    2. I need to read this just to find out what the issue is.

    3. Lol – the kids are sexy seems so wrong, but I know what you mean.

    • I know right? Maybe if these kids were in a New Adult book, then it wouldn’t be so bad. Lol.

  • Alise (Readers in Wonderland)

    Great review! I’ve been wanting to read this one and now I will for sure, you’ve sold me on this one. All the characters sound amazing. I haven’t read many reviews of this one so I don’t know about their pasts but if it was dealt with well it shouldn’t be a problem!

    • Thanks, Alise. I think it’s more advisable sometimes to ignore book reviews than it is to read them. I know had I listened to what everyone have been saying about this, I probably would have forgo reading this. Hope you like it!

  • Zoe

    This sounds absolutely wonderful! I absolutely love the sound of the romance and the writing. It’s so nice to hear that family is an important theme in this one, as that’s not as common as I feel it should be in YA. Thanks so much for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review Joy! <3

    • Yes! Huntley seems to know how important it is to have a great family dynamics in a book where teenagers are involved. I mean, come on! Do all teenagers go about their lives without parents’ guidance?

      Thanks, Zoe!

  • I have the same problem with summer romances. But this sounds nice and sweet. I really want to read it! Great review, Joy!

    • Thanks, Beth. I hope you’ll enjoy this one. 🙂

  • starryeyedjen29

    Lovely review…I’m hoping to get to this one very soon…the HC is already collecting dust on my shelf and that just won’t do, especially since I liked her first book so well.

    • I hope you’ll enjoy it, Jen. I know there’s such a conflicting reactions for this book but I think it’s more to do with comparisons to the author’s first book.

  • I love this review it is the first one that I have read that really explains things and now I want to read this one. I loved her debut novel and was so sad to see all the harsh reviews for this when it first came out.

    • I know! I felt the same way when I read the initial reviews for this book. I didn’t let that deter me tho. I’m such a fan of Ms. Fitzpatrick, so I really hope you’ll give this one a chance.