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.
Huntley Fitzpatrick grew up dreamy and distracted in coastal Connecticut, attended Concord Academy and Yale. She flourished in a family of bookworms where everyone always had their nose in a book. She kept an exhaustively thorough journal which frightened her boyfriends but has proved very useful in her career as a writer. Her debut contemporary Romance, MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, was published in June of 2012 by Penguin-Dial for Young Readers. Now she laughs with and eavesdrops on her six children who provide her with perspective and material. She is represented by the amazing Christina Hogrebe of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What I Thought Was True is my second Huntley Fitzpatrick book, and to say I had high hopes for this book would be an understatement. I mean, you all know my love and adoration for My Life Next Door right? Let me just get this out of the way… You need to go into this book as you should each and every book… not letting previous books by the author influence your expectations of the characters and events that are about to happen. ( I mean, unless it’s a series LOL)
What I Thought Was True was an amazing read for me. Which of course means this is going to be a hard review for me to write.
Gwen Castle spends her days working hard and imagining the day that she will be able to escape the island she lives on. Her blue collar family spends their days toiling in the family restaurant and cleaning houses for those a bit more fortunate than her and the summers are their busiest times. But you also find out pretty quick that Gwen has a few secrets of her own… and they involve rich boy Cassidy Somers. She was sure, with him living across the bridge in Stony Bay, that she wouldn’t have to worry much about him, but he chooses this summer to get a job as the island ‘yard boy’ and no matter what she does, they can’t seem to avoid each other.
From the get go, you know that something horrible happened between them, but I wasn’t at all prepared for what it actually was.
But Ms. Fitzpatrick creates some amazing characters in this story. From Gwen, who you can’t help but feel a bit of sisterhood with, to Cass who has all the charm and charisma you would expect, to her determined cousin Nic and his girlfriend Vivien… they all play integral parts in this amazing story and I promise they will jump off the page and into your heart.
There are so many layers to this story that for me to try and explain them all would make this review incredibly long, but I’ll touch on a few things that you will find here …
Fitzpatrick explores first love and how it’s not always exactly as we expect it to be. Gwen and Cass definitely have their struggles, but when you as the reader get the full story, it’s easy to see why. These two are young, and they struggle with miscommunication and shitty friends and rumors and parents and feelings of low self-worth. But we also get a second story about first love… not just with our main characters but this one is about our secondary characters of Nic and Vivien.
She also gives us a story filled with the complex dynamics of family and the expectations that they have on you and how that can affect decisions. Gwen doesn’t have what some would call a typical household. Her parents are no longer together, yet her mother does her father’s laundry and her grandfather lives with her and her younger brother and her cousin Nic. It makes for an interesting story and some unique interactions. Add in the fact that her brother has special needs and this also impacts everyone and everything adding just one more layer to an already complex story.
There is also something to be said for a boy with dimples. If you’re looking for swoon, you’re definitely going to find some here. As I said above, Cass is charming and charismatic and he knows how to throw Gwen off with just a smile. Throw in swimming lessons with her little brother and I was swooning right along with her.
What do you think, Gwen? Want to come check out my form?”
He flashes the dimples at me.
Oh dear Lord.
I wrinkle my nose, toss my hair back. “I couldn’t care less about your form.”
“Right,” Cass says. “I can tell.”
But Cass isn’t all confidence…
”Does this ability to map things mean you never get lost?”
“I get lost.” He said firmly. “Like now, I can’t tell what you’re thinking. About me.”
If you’re looking for a light summer read… this isn’t it. Instead, what you’ll find are strong, intriguing characters with depth and layers. A story that encompasses so much more than just falling in love… one that touches on heavy topics and family issues, feelings of shame and the divide between those who have more than enough and those that are barely scraping by. A story of forgiveness and moving on and a story about being at that pivotal point in life where you’re not quite a child, but you’re definitely not quite an adult.
I should stop now right?
If you haven’t already, make sure you put this book on your ‘to be read’ list. Who am I kidding, if you read MLND you already have it there, but those of you who don’t… do it now. And then go read My Life Next Door!
Thank you to my lovely sister Erin for allowing me to read the copy that she won from Huntley Fitzpatrick.
And Ms. Fitzpatrick…
To say I was more than a little excited to have won a copy of What I Thought Was True from Huntley Fitzpatrick would be a major understatement…considering I never win anything…and it was Huntley Fitzpatrick’s next book! So when I got the email stating I won a copy I immediately began watching the mail so that once I had it in my hands, I would be able to crack it open (gently) and start reading the lovely words that Fitzpatrick writes. Once I did, I was unable to put it down and the best way for me to sum up this story is to say that Fitzpatrick brings this story to life by creating real characters and you may know this, but this story shows that things won’t always turn out as planned and people aren’t always as you expected.
Gwen Castle comes from a blue collar family that isn’t necessarily typical. She lives on an island and is absolutely looking forward to the day when she can leave but in the meantime, she works for her dad at the family restaurant and helps out at home with her special needs brother whenever possible. Gwen’s parents are divorced but they still get along, her cousin and her grandfather both live with Gwen and her mom which keeps things interesting.
Since the island is a beach community, Gwen decides to get a different job for the summer so that she can make some money and hopefully avoid the one person she dreads running into, Cassidy Somers. When Cassidy decides to “slum it” as a yard boy for the island community, Gwen realizes just how impossible that will be.
Cass is swoony and charming – I am just going to put it out there. He has dimples and isn’t afraid to say what needs to be said and gives Gwen’s little brother, Emory, swimming lessons. I can’t share everything but here are some glimpses…
And this part…
Like Gwen, Cass has things going on in his life that clearly have an impact on him. He was kicked out of school and refused to throw his best friend, Spencer, under the bus even though his parents wanted him to just so he could go back to school. He is currently the black sheep of his family because of what happened and although he isn’t happy about it, he isn’t jumping to do anything that will change the circumstances.
From the beginning, it is clear something happened between Gwen and Cass since she considers him her “biggest mistake” but you don’t find out what it really is until about 55% in…I only know this because of my status update. Through a lot of miscommunication and other assumptions, both of them come to realize that things aren’t always what you think (see how that fits 🙂 ).
This book explores first love – the ups and downs and figuring out what life is really about. Fitzpatrick does this not only through the main characters but also a number of secondary characters which include Gwen’s cousin Nic, her best friend Vivien, and even Mrs. Ellington.
If you are looking for a great story that shows the complexity of real life and gives you some great characters, this should be the next book you pick up. I applaud Huntley Fitzpatrick for creating another great story that will pull you in and not allow you to put the book down until you get to the very end.
Thank you to Huntley Fitzpatrick for the early copy!