Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Summary: “17-year-old 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 to her island’s summer population. Gwen dreams of getting off the island, and a summer job working for one of the elderly residents might just be her ticket to the good life. But what will it mean for Gwen’s now life? Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to come to terms with what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—and figure out what really is.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
What I Thought Was True, in all honesty, is a fluffy summer read. And the one thing most of you know about me by now is that I do not enjoy fluffy summer reads. I try, but usually I need something deeper and more influential when it comes to contemporaries. When it comes down to it, this is my fault for picking up a book with little expectations because it was cheap at the used book store.
I do not regret reading this book because it was enjoyable for the most part, but I don’t think my life is any different because of it. The deepest message from this is that 1-the best boys are the ones who care and 2-rich people assume poor people steal. Both are important messages, I won’t deny it, but they were surface messages–nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering. Plus, they weren’t shown through action, they came up a few times in conversation. I often prefer showing instead of telling (like all the high school English teachers I’ve ever had). Though, this is a preference I have, and not something that’s certain for everyone.
As for the characters, we have Gwen, who does some fairly questionable things, such as making out with her boyfriend when she should be watching an elderly woman. Personally, that would not be the decision I would make, but you do you, Gwen. Cassidy, however, I do have a bit of a soft spot for. I’m not quite sure why he’s still friends with that guy (the one whose name has left my memory) because he’s not exactly nice and he treated Gwen horribly. Ditch the negative energies in your lives, guys, it’ll be worth it. Nic and his girlfriend (Gwen’s best friend, whose name I also cannot remember, oops) were adorable and I do kind of love that they showed the troubles of teenage relationships. However, I found this took too much of a sideline that it felt tacked on and confusing. The family aspect was rather interesting, but her father played a confusing negative role. I wasn’t sure why this was and it was never really clarified. He just seemed really angry at essentially nothing and it came out of nowhere. Did I miss something?
In the end, this book was also far too long. Contemporaries shouldn’t breach 350 pages, really, because the author runs out of material. A lot of this could have been trimmed down to make it a much simpler and sweet novel. It started to drag a lot toward the end, especially when I couldn’t tell what was a flashback and what was present time.
Lastly, Huntley Fitzpatricks’s writing felt somewhat immature at times, such as when she wrote “didja” instead of “did you” to give more dialect to the speech. Maybe this is just me, but I can’t stand when authors try to make the dialogue more phonetic. It doesn’t flow and just looks awkward.
I think, to be fair, that I am not made for romance novels. I cringe at Hallmark movies and laugh when teenagers (even though I’m one myself) think their love will last forever. I’m too much of a realist for fluff. Thus, I recommend not taking my opinion on this book as the sure thing because chances are, if you like romance, you’ll like this.