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.
When I heard that Huntley Fitzpatrick was finally coming out with another book I was ecstatic. I was a huge fan of her debut book My Life Next Door. She had a way about her writing style that was almost magical. And characters that were just easy to love. I’m happy to say that What I Thought Was True did not disappoint. I didn’t love it as much as MLND, but I really truly enjoyed reading her words and getting lost in her story once again.
What I Thought Was True is the story of Gwen Castle, a townie, a girl that is terrified of being stuck in her beach front town. She wants out, simple as that. But nothing is ever simple for Gwen, especially when rich boy Cassidy Somers is around constantly reminding Gwen of the winter she wants to forget. As the summer unfolds so do secrets and truths Gwen wants to ignore and can’t. Between her job, her friends, her family and Cass, Gwen is in for a summer that may not only change everyone around her, but how Gwen sees and feels things as well.
I must say that right off the bat I fell in love with two things the location and Cassidy Somers. If Huntley Fitzpatrick does anything right in her books, you know besides the amazing story and writing, it is writing a cute boy. To me Cass was everything Jase was in her debut and maybe even a little more. He had charm and swagger and manners and was just down right adorable. I loved him from the start and I loved his uncertain relationship with Gwen and their unfortunate back-story. I liked seeing Gwen and Cass go from point A to point B. The unsaid words, the stolen glances, the misunderstandings all worked and made them more enjoyable. You actually found yourself rooting for them even with all the back and forth which isn’t easy to do sometimes.
I also really liked some of the side stories happening. Gwen’s little brother Emory was precious and not at all an annoyance like some side characters can unfortunately be. He was in a lot of the books scenes but to me he added to them and didn’t take away from what was going on. And I liked the Nico and Vivian story too. It wasn’t too over powering and was included nicely. Since the book was very character driven, it was important for these small stories to fit in and to me Fitzpatrick did just that and did it well.
With all that said I had three small problems with this book which made me not love it as much as MLND. One, I felt like there was no real back story. As a reader I wanted to know from the start why Nico was living with Gwen and her family and why Gwen’s dad was no longer living with them. I just didn’t feel like that was explained enough and in the proper order. It took away from the story because I was trying to figure it out. Two, some things seemed unfinished. Like the story of Mrs. E and her son or Gwen’s grandmother and the summer when Gwen and Cass were 8. I just didn’t feel there was enough time devoted to explaining these things that were mentioned more casually. And three, this is solely just me because I’m from Boston, but the over explaining of the accent was killing me by the end. Like I said, just personal since I speak with said accent, but it was way over explained for my liking.
But even with those small issues I had, I really thoroughly enjoyed and loved What I Thought Was True. It was a great story about perceptions, what you want out of life and is it okay to let your guard down and go after something unexpected. Fitzpatrick blew me away with her first novel and definitely didn’t disappoint with her second. Look forward to lots more from this favorite author for sure.