Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Most people picking up What I Thought Was True have already read Huntley Fitzpatrick's debut novel, My Life Next Door. The deciding factor in picking this one up first was that the Contemporary Lovers Read-a-long group was reading it this month and I hoped to participate in the liveshow. As it turns out, I can't participate anyways. I guess none of this seems to have any value yet, but if this post goes as planned, it should later!

What I Thought Was True is one of those books that I know I read at the right time. For personal reasons... but also because I came out of City of Heavenly Fire a while ago and didn't think I could find another book where I'd be able to sit down and actually read it without thinking about another book or getting bored and wanting to put it down.

I'm happy to report that this got me out of a book hangover just fine. It also managed to tell me a couple of things I needed to hear at this point in my life.

This Young Adult novel is told in Gwen Castle's POV in the summer before her senior year; the summer after her year of a few mistakes boys. She's the daughter of Mike, the restaurant owner, and Lucia, the house-cleaner. She lives with her mom, little brother, grandpa, and cousin in a one-story, two-bedroom house on Seashell island. The biggest divide on the island is of the people that live on the island, and those who own big summer houses on the island. Gwen has lived her whole life on the island, working almost everyday of her life to try and help her mother pay the bills.

Cass Somers has never worked a day in his life until this summer.

This summer, Gwen is trying to get over Cass Somers.

At first I didn't really understand the title, but there are many secrets to be uncovered throughout this book, and Gwen is just trying to understand what is true and false; so the title is actually quite fitting.

Despite most of the characters being a year younger than me, I could relate to them pretty well in terms of wanting something more for their future. You see this theme a lot in YA novels, but I've never seen it executed in a Chick Lit book. That's where this novel really stands out.

Huntley Fitzpatrick has a particular way of writing that took some getting used to. When I first started reading this novel, all I could think was "what is with all the commas?" I eventually got used to the lack of conjunctions once I was about 30% in.

Something about this novel was very slow. I felt like there was too much time pondering and not enough time actually doing anything. I guess this is what contemporaries are like, but it just felt super slow to me at the beginning. Especially because it takes forever to find out what Gwen's problem is and figure out who each character is. I found it really slow at the end as well; too drawn out and full of unneeded road blocks. I felt like some of the conflict was unnecessary to the theme and just made me want the book to end.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed What I Thought Was True (hence the four stars), and I'd recommend it to anyone who loves a good, fluffy romance/contemporary. However, I'll be going into My Life Next Door with high expectations. As you read earlier, most people have read Fitzpatrick's first novel already and enjoyed that one much more, so I hope to be more satisfied with it.

What do I plan on reading/reviewing next? We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. (I was happy to find out that E actually stands for Emily and I finally have an author with the same name as me on my shelf.) As for that review (depending on how my expectations are met), it will most likely go on my YouTube channel!