Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Reading Level: Young Adult, 14+
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
Source: Gifted from Gillian
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Before I begin this review I just want to applaud that cover. I know Huntley Fitzpatrick fought hard to have a normal girl on that cover and I absolutely adore her for it. And now, for the review.

I wanted to love this one, and I did. But I didn't like it as much as MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. I had trouble getting into the book in the very beginning. Part of this can probably be attributed to the fact that I turned to this book to get me out of a reading slump. The other part of this is because I just couldn't get into it. I think this is because Fitzpatrick has us wait a long time before she explains to us why Gwen is the way she is. We can figure out the general gist of it, but the details and everything aren't revealed for a while. This frustrated me because I didn't know how I should feel about Gwen. Furthermore, when I finally figured out what happened, I was mad that Gwen blamed so much on Cass when it was very obviously Spence's fault. She hurt herself because she chose to play the blame game with the wrong boy. Talk about frustrating. She totally pushed her soul mate away in a moment of freaking out.

Gwen really is easy to love. She's a hard worker and although she is from the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak, she aspires to go to an Ivy League school. Despite her broken family, I still adore them. Her father is a very tough guy who still needs help with his laundry. I think I love him because his masculine ways remind me of my own father. Her mother is a dreamer who is constantly getting lost in steamy romance novels. Her grandfather is a crazy, lovable old Portuguese man that likes to illegally fish. Her younger brother, Em, is simply Em. He is not autistic, but he is something, though there is no way to describe him aside from unique. I absolutely adored him. And then there's Nico, her cousin and best friend, who I enjoy as well. He aspires to be in the Coast Guard.

Then there's Vivie who lives across the street. She and Nico are in love and have been since they were little. I disliked her from the beginning. I found her to be hypocritical and the huge plot twist involving her was something I picked up on earlier in the book, which made it all the more annoying to me when everyone freaked out later. Really, some characters are so oblivious to what is going on right under their noses. I think the fact that Gwen's "rock" annoyed me so much detracted from my love of this book.

And then there are the rich boys. I adore Cass simply because despite his upbringing, he's not a snob. As Em says, he is Superman and he is one of my favorite love interests ever. His best friend, Spence Channing, is a rich snob who should never be given the time of day. I never liked him and I thought he was a real jerk. Whenever he was in a scene, I found myself putting the book down for a few seconds because I found him to be so vile. However, such strong emotions elicited from characters is a positive sign in an author's ability to make us connect to characters.

I loved Gwen's exploration of the island and her life on the island. I loved her story and the underlying themes of sex. The fact that sex is not just sex and it should mean something was hugely important in this book. There was no slut-shaming and instead there was regretful discoveries and do-overs. In other words, I loved the overall plot. Fitzpatrick found a way to take a modern problem and make the readers connect to it wholeheartedly. Though slightly heavier then her first book, she is still one of my favorite contemporary authors.

I highly recommend this one to anyone, but I still believe her debut was slightly better. I'm very curious to see what she has in store for us next. No matter what, I know there will be a ton of laughs.

Warning: There is sex, talk of sex, a little bit of cussing, and underage drinking. 

4 stars



  1. I loved My Life Next Door and I'm so excited for this one!! Head amazing things about it. Huntley Fitzpatrick is really one of the best YA contemporary writers!

  2. I don't read a ton of contemporary stories, but there are some that just cause a spark to ignite in me and blow me away. Those few are the reason that I am still willing to try this genre. My Life Next Door is one of those contemp's that blew me away, and I fell hard for the story, the characters, and this author. I will read whatever story comes out of her awesome mind, so this one is definitely on my TBR. It sounds like such a great story. I can see that the things that bothered you will bother me too, but it sounds like the book is well worth the annoyances. Another great review! Don't reading slumps suck?! Ugh! I hope that you are fighting your way out of that funk!