The Truth About Jack by Jody Gehrman
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC on April 14, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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Dakota McCloud has just been accepted into a prestigious art school. Soon she'll leave behind the artists' colony where she grew up―hippie dad, tofu since birth, yurt―and join her boyfriend and best friend on the East Coast. It was the plan…until Dakota finds out her boyfriend and best friend hooked up behind her back.
Hurt and viciously betrayed, Dakota pours out her heart on a piece of paper, places it in a bottle, and hurls it into the ocean. But it doesn't quite go where she expects…
Jack Sauvage finds the bottle washed up on the shore and responds to Dakota's letter. Except what if his straight-laced life doesn’t jive with the free-spirited girl he’s only seen from afar? As Jack creates a persona he believes she’ll love, they slowly fall for each other with each new letter. Now Jack is trying to find a way to make this delicate, on-paper romance happen in real life…without revealing his deception.
Getting accepted in the Rhode Island School of Design is just what Dakota McCloud needed after spending a year without her best friend and boyfriend, who both traveled to the other side of the country for college. After the two she trusted the most hook up one night without her knowledge, she feels broken and betrayed by an email she receives months later on how it’s meant to be. She begins rethinking everything, including going to college and the people she holds most dear. When she cast all her cares into the sea and receives a response, her thoughts only get more jumbled.
After his best friend committed suicide, Jack Sauvage didn’t think it’d be possible to let anyone else in. That is until he sees Dakota at Café Vida and can’t resist getting to know her. Suddenly, their lives are intertwined in more ways than one, and old and new secrets separate them from truly understanding each other. Can this couple make it work, or will finding out the truth disconnect them for good?
When I received an e-book copy of The Truth About Jack from NetGalley, it turned out to be nothing like I had expected. From the first page, I found myself enthralled by Dakota’s carefree town, Luna Cove, and Jack’s claustrophobic life. Jack grew up on a Californian vineyard, completely different than the life Dakota had, but they shared similar troubles. Their similarities amongst such different lifestyles added an interesting component to the journey they shared.
Dakota had a free spirit, an artist with a connection and dedication to her art. She and Jack shared the same passion for their chosen art but came about them in different fashions. Either way, their shared interests created a fierce connection.
Their blossoming relationship was exciting to watch unfold. As the story progressed, I found myself on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how the conflict would arise. Each of them had their own unique voice that looked at both sides of the spectrum.
I did not expect the Message in a Bottle twist in the story, but I loved what it added to the characters’ journey. Who hasn’t wanted to throw his or her troubles out to sea at least once? Dakota did that, and got a response she could never have imagined. It had a Nicholas Sparks feel with younger characters and a different type of self-discovery. The letters they wrote to one another were heartfelt and beautiful, containing raw emotion and openness from both writers. The choices that each one of them made played a consequential role in the people that they would become in the next few years. Not only was it a story of growth, but one of finding true love and friendship when such a luxury had only soured in the end.
From the start I knew this would be a book that should be added to any Contemporary YA fan’s To-Be-Read pile. It’s a light, heartfelt story that will have you desiring mysterious letters and lounging on the beach, while dreaming of exotic travels and new romance.