Published April 2014 by Dial Books|410 pages
Where I Got It: It’s the hardcover from Barnes And Noble!
Genre: YA Contemporary
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.
What I Thought:
After loving My Life Next Door, I was really looking foward to What I Thought Was True. I was expecting to love it, but sadly, I’m wavering being it being okay, and liking it.
Fitzpatrick does sleepy, coastal beach town really well. She also does the class divides really well. She does a great job at writing a novel set during the summer, by the beach. My Life Next Door had these things, and What I Thought Was True (WITWT) had these elements. I think it might be her thing, and she does it well.
But I thought the story was slightly confusing. Everything between Cass and Gwen still makes no sense to me. You know something happened between them, and she keeps thinking about the summer when they were 8. All you get is snippets scattered throughout the book, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what on earth happened between them for her to initially have a lot of issues with him spending the summer in Seashell. I honestly felt like I was missing something, because she kept referring to past mistakes that you saw in bits and pieces. And so I felt really disconnected from the story, because I had no idea what she was referring to most of the time.
You do get little flashbacks, but they felt really random and out of the blue, because there was no way to differentiate the flashbacks from what was presently going on.
To further add to the confusion, I could never figure out what was going on with her family. It seemed like her parents were married, but living in different houses. She lives with her grandpa, her cousin, her younger brother and her mom, but I could never figure out what was going on with her parents- her dad has a house, and it’s clear they have financial issues, and have to pool their resources for when it’s not tourist season. But it’s never clearly explained what’s going on with her parents. And as for her cousin Nico, it’s quite a few chapters in before you learn that Nico is living with them because his parents suck.
Overall, the story felt really disjointed because things are hinted at but never explained outright. Instead, you get things in snippets and flashbacks, and I kept waiting for a big revelation that never came.
I didn’t really get the romance. It was not really there, and Cass and Gwen just didn’t work for me as a potential couple. I’m not sure how I feel about Gwen as a character- she was funny at times, but she didn’t seem to learn from her mistakes. Then again, she’s young, and maybe it’s just not clicking for her.
Let’s Rate It:
I’m really torn on my feelings about What I Thought Was True. On the one hand, it was really disjointed and I spent a lot of the book confused about what was going on. At the same time, I liked that class divides and sleepy, coastal touristy beach town during the summer really shone. What I Thought Was True gets 3 stars– I did bump it a star, even if I’m hesitant to do so because Fitzpatrick does the sleepy East Coast beach town so well.