July 21, 2014

When to Hold On & When to Let Go

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Release Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Penguin | Dial
Pages: 416 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
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.

Brief Thoughts on What I Thought Was True
Hmm... I read My Life Next Door last year, and I had somewhat mixed feelings about it. I loved the romance, and I adored the Garrett family dynamics. Things were going great for the first 3/4 of the book, and then there's this BIG EVENT that just threw me off. Everything was ultimately resolved, but it made the pacing uneven (leisurely for the better part of the book and then suddenly racing to resolution at the end).

So, it was with a bit of trepidation that I picked up What I Thought Was True. I'd seen some really amazing reviews for it, as well as some lukewarm ones (just like I'd noticed with My Life Next Door). The writing was just what I would expect from Fitzpatrick - there's something so special about the way she tells a story. I loved the descriptions of the setting, and I felt that she set the mood really well. Family plays a big role in this story, too, which I loved. I often feel like family relationships are way too absent from YA, so I'm always pleased to find a great example of a character whose family plays an active role in their life.

Unfortunately, however, I had some big issues with the actual story. I felt like nothing happened for a majority of the book. Some of the drama with Gwen and Cass takes a while to be revealed, so it's not entirely clear why they have a complicated history. And again, the last quarter or so of the book just really frustrated me. So much finally happens, and a lot of it felt like unnecessary drama to me that ended up being resolved rather quickly. It is a character-driven story, which I do appreciate since I pay particular attention to characters when I'm reading, but I had a hard time really connecting to anything that was happening. I don't know if there were too many storylines or if certain elements just weren't quite developed enough for me. I 'm not really sure, and I certainly didn't hate this book. Fitzpatrick had me hooked because I enjoy her writing style, but I the story fell flat for me overall.

So Quotable
“That what you’ve always had doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll always get. That what you’ve always wanted isn’t what you’ll always want.”

6 comments:

  1. I had been looking forward to (eventually) getting around to reading What I Thought Was True but I think this will be one I'll definitely try from the library first. I read My Life Next Door last year too, and in my memory I loved it... but after you mentioned that big event I remembered how much that bugged me! Sounds like there are similar plot and pacing issues with What I Thought Was True. Fitzpatrick does a lot of things right but plot and pacing can really make or break a novel for me.

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  2. I totally agree with you there. I did enjoy My Life Next Door, but I had major problems with What I Thought Was True. I found myself really irritated and frustrated by Gwen's character, and I thought the majority of the relationships throughout the book were just very unrealistic. I don't think I'll be reading another one of Huntley Fitzpatrick's books, unfortunately.

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  3. This is pretty much how I felt about What I Thought Was True, too. I was left questioning what the point was and trying to dig my way out of all of the different story lines, which made me sad because I also really like Fitzpatrick's writing and her characters. I liked My Life Next Door more, but I also agree with you about the pacing in that one.

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  4. I loved My Life Next Door when I read it and I was initially really excited for this one but I've heard a lot of meh reviews on it. I don't know whether I'll end up reading this one now or not but I might. Maybe I'll check in the library first, like Kaitlyn said!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!

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  5. Oh dear, that's too bad ultimately didn't work out for you! You know, I think it's the worst when basically everything seems great and then really a single main aspect throws off your reading experience - in your situation, it sounds like you have issues with Fitzpatrick's plotting/pacing. I have noticed a few not-so-stellar reviews for My Life Next Door, so I was thinking about maybe reading What I Thought was True instead as my introduction to her works, but now I'm not sure. I think I still will give Fitzpatrick a try, but maybe with slightly lowered expectations.

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  6. I can totally see why you'd feel that way about What I Thought Was True! But, for me, I had the complete opposite reading experience, as I wound up really liking this story. I'm not sure if it was the writing, the characters or the timing that worked best for me -- but it really ended up being a contemporary I just devoured in about one sitting.

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