(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Penguin on April 15th 2014
Genres: Family, General, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
The eagerly anticipated follow-up to My Life Next Door is a magnetic, push-me-pull-me summer romance for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her idyllic 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 delivers another enticing summer read full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions, and a romance that will make every reader swoon.
“Like the ocean, no one owns the sky.”
Gwen Castle lives on Seashell Island, a tourist attraction most commonly inhabited by the rich community across the bridge. Her summers aren’t usually spent on the beach, though, rather serving tables at her father’s small restaurant or helping her mother take care of her little brother when her mom’s too busy cleaning houses all day. This summer is going to be different; she has a high-paying job that doesn’t require nearly as much labor as her past summer jobs, and she’ll be able to save more money for college and get off the island. There’s a slight catch: Cassidy Somers is also working on the island this summer, and she starts constantly running into her worst mistake ever. Or is he?
Huntley Fitzpatrick’s first book, My Life Next Door, was one of the best Contemporary YA Romance novels that I’ve ever read. Since I loved her first book so much, I didn’t expect things to be much different when I delved into What I Thought Was True. Sadly, I was mistaken and didn’t nearly enjoy this book as much as I had her other book. There were certain things about this book that kept me entertained, but also plenty of moments when I found myself bored. However, her characters and story line were completely different than her other novel, proving that she is an extremely flexible author.
“’Maybe expecting good to end badly is what Gwen Castle does.’”
One of the things that I had the most difficulty getting over was the main character—I didn’t like her most of the time. I don’t know if that was intended, but there were more moments when she irked me than when I found her likeable. By the end of the novel I thought she was okay, but this book (paperback) is over four hundred pages, and three fourths of those she throws a gigantic pity party. I do believe that her experience and self-hatred were a part of her growth, so I tried to enjoy the story and ignore her self-depreciation.
Cass made this story worthwhile. Fitzpatrick did something that is not too common in some books about bad choices—at least the ones that I’ve read. For instance, Gwen was the one with such a bad reputation, one she rightfully earned. Even her best friend made comments about not understanding her sometimes when she underwent that time in her life. Cass, although not innocent himself, had a pretty clean reputation before he met Gwen. He helped her see herself through eyes that didn’t judge her by her past mistakes and helped her grow. He didn’t always know what to say, and half of the time he didn’t do anything right, but that made me like him even more.
“…I finally get that sometimes we hold on to something—a person, a resentment, a regret, and idea of who we are—because we don’t know what to reach for next.”
The islanders were interesting people. I enjoyed reading a book written from the inside looking out, because the narrator, Gwen, saw things so much differently than if the book had been told by Cass.
I had a love-hate relationship with this book. I had to finish it because I couldn’t stand not knowing what would happen between the characters, but it took me a little longer to finish it than it did her other book. That being said, there were still many deep, provoking thoughts in the novel, and it’s worth a read if you’re a Huntley Fitzpatrick fan.