Review | What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

From the acclaimed author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.

Gwen Castle has never so badly wanted to say good-bye to her island home till now: the summer her Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, takes a job there as the local yard boy. 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-you-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.

3.5 cupcakes
What I Thought Was True was quite different from My Life Next Door (which I absolutely adored!). Instead of being plot driven and filled with sweet romance, What I Thought Was True is much slower-paced and introspective. It relies on flashbacks and dialogue more than action, making it a bit hard to get into at first. The many references to “that summer” and deliberate withholding of information from the reader were quite off-putting for a contemporary novel, and the big reveal wasn’t as shocking as this prolonged build-up seemed to warrant.

All that being said, What I Thought Was True was rather refreshing in a lot of ways. It dealt with sex in a positive way and explored the negative connotations that society associates with female sexuality. All of the relationships were intricately designed, and family, friendships, and romantic relationships were given equal importance. I loved how healthy the romantic relationship was: there were open and honest discussions about its pace and where it was headed, and both parties respected one another’s boundaries.

Overall, What I Thought Was True touched on a lot of important topics, but its length and pacing issues made it difficult to fully enjoy.

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  • I loved My Life Next Door for those very reasons: the fully constructed characters, all their interactions (not just romantic ones), and the healthy relationship that develops in which they actually talk things out. Not sure I could handle another YA romance until a year has passed, as it’s a genre I usually dislike.* But it’s good to know that Fitzpatrick can be trusted to give us good characters and thoughtful discussions with whatever she writes.

    * Though if she writes a follow up to My Life Next Door about Tim and Nan and their lives I’ll be first in line to buy it.

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