The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler
Publishing Date: March 26, 2015
Pages: 320 pages
Young Adult Contemporary
The Premise: The story follows Jess who pretends that everything in her life is fine. When really, she's made some big mistakes like betraying her bestfriend, drinking when she shouldn't and hanging out with people she shouldn't. One day when things get quite out of hand, her father takes away her phone privileges and makes her spend the summer "volunteering" at a local soup kitchen. There she meets staff members like Wilf who she finds an unlikely friend in and Flynn. Although to the outside world and to the people of the local soup kitchen Jess and her life appears basically perfect, it really isn't. There was an accident that occurred with her mom and things with her family have never been right and Jess has felt quite alone, until she meets Flynn.
My overall thoughts and review: This is my first time reading something by Janet Gurtler and I can already see myself adding her books to my shopping cart on Chapters/Indigo. This book was a wonderful YA contemporary read that had characters that demonstrated significant growth and really had the reader rooting for them towards the end of the book. I really enjoy it when authors create characters that "are-not-all-they-seem-to-be-but-in-fact-are-more" - Jess was not exactly likeable in the beginning of the book and I kept cringing at the beginning scenes wanting to shake her and tell her to smarten up! I'm glad for those beginning scenes with Nance because it only serves to prove how much Jess has grown. This book's central storyline is the love story between Flynn and Jess which developed at a nice pace and was quite cute. It reminded me of Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook because it tackles the two lovers from opposite sides of the train tracks. I also loved the relationship that Jess had with Flynn's younger brother, who is all kinds of adorable! Although the main storyline is the love story that I mentioned, the book deals a lot with families and how different they can be beneath the surface. It also has a lot to deal with friendships and I think the central message of the book is to fight for what you love, but also do what is best for you. The book really speaks to making healthy friendships and relationships and striving to keep those and to know when certain people are just not good for you. And lastly to accept that those who may seem unlikely in being good for you, turn out being so. I really enjoyed this read by Gurtler and I can't wait to read more from her in the future! I would definitely recommend this to fans of Sarah Dessen, Morgan Matson and Rainbow Rowell!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Raincoast Books for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.