What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Stars: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5)
I want to apologize first for taking forever to write this review. Life has caught up with me and I am desperately packing to move back to school in less than a week. Once I have a more consistent schedule, I promise posting will be much regular.
Now onto the review. I want to say I loved this book, I really do. But it didn’t thrill me as much as I had hoped it would. It was still a good book, Fitzpatrick did another splendid job, but something was just missing for me. I didn’t feel as enthralled with the story like I did for My Life Next Door. It took me quite a while to finish the book, considering I was really interested in the premise at the beginning. Maybe it’s because this novel didn’t has as big of a “wow” moment as MLND did. Maybe I’m just a cynic, who knows? I would definitely recommend this book to people who are looking for a good contemporary read.
Writing: I really liked Fitzpatrick’s writing. It was consistent throughout, and I think she voiced Gwen well. It was familiar, and although at times did seem slightly dry, I really enjoyed it. I found there to be more inconsistencies in the plot than the writing. I think Fitzpatrick did a good job, and made her writing welcoming, like an old friend. I do wish there had been a little bit more description at times, especially concerning some characters, but it was nice for the reader to also have the ability to make their own vision of what they looked like. I guess I should touch on this point now, as I was livid that Gwen was being slut-shamed by the swim team. I would just like to tell those boys to get a life and realize a woman’s body is hers and hers alone. I know
hope Fitzpatrick doesn’t condone slut-shaming, and I know that when an author writes something problematic, they usually don’t agree with such a statement. I just hope this is the case for Fitzpatrick.
Plot: I was fairly happy with the plot, and I thought it was quite interesting. It was nice to see it focus on things other than Gwen and Cass’s relationship. I loved seeing the perspective of a non-white, lower class girl and how her life contrasted with the rich kids that lived on the other side of the island. It was nice to have diversity in a white-dominated industry. I know I can’t speak for any people of colour, but I’m white and I’m sick of reading about white girls. The one thing that bothered me in the plot was that Gwen was supposed to be working at Mrs. Ellington’s every day and then she just didn’t? I don’t know if I somehow missed something, but I remember being very confused at one point because she was with Cass every day and not at work. I also enjoyed reading about Gwen and Cass’s relationship and how it evolved over the course of the book, as they learned to talk about their differences and what went wrong before. The only frustrating thing was that you don’t find out the really bad thing that happened before until about halfway through the novel, so you’re left guessing for a while.
Characters: I really loved the characters in the book. They were so diverse and different from each other. Nico was portrayed very accurately as a competitive teenage boy, and Gwen’s dad was an interesting addition due to his standoffish attitude. I loved Grandpa Ben the most I’d say, when it comes to minor characters. He was so entertaining, I wish I had a grandpa like him. I wanted to punch Harry Ellington in the face whenever he showed up in the plot. I’m only going to talk about Gwen and Cass in depth, since it really is their story.
Gwen: I liked Gwen, although she was very naive at one point to how she hurt others, and it’s not just about her. But I really liked how Fitzpatrick used this flaw to really develop Gwen as a character and show her growth, as she later realizes how much she has an impact on other people’s feelings. I think Fitzpatrick did a good job of capturing the angst of a 17 year old teenage girl who just wants to escape her situation. I also thought it was sweet to see how much family mattered to Gwen, especially with her cousin and brother, even if her parents weren’t a huge part of the story. Overall I liked her character, and I thought her character development was well done.
Cass: I liked Cass a lot. He wasn’t the typical white boy
mostly and he was a very genuine character. I have a feeling that if he was real he would be very similar to his character. I liked how he didn’t flaunt his money all the time and how he never saw that as an issue for a relationship, considering he and Gwen came from very different lifestyles and household incomes. I have to say that I don’t think he had as much character development as Gwen did, but he did have a small amount. Overall I thought he was pretty well rounded, and I loved him and Gwen together.
In conclusion, I enjoyed the book, but I can’t compare it to MLND, as they are quite different, and I will just disappoint myself if I do. I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a different contemporary read, as it does touch on some darker topics (I won’t reveal them as I don’t want to post any spoilers), but if you’re okay with that, then you should check this book out.