Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Mermaid Kingdom


Rate this book
Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue

When Morgan's mom gets sick, it's hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn't as far away as she thought...

Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue

Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan's getting to know the real Adam, and he's actually pretty sweet...in a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?

5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue

With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She's not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend...and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can't imagine living without.

304 pages, Paperback

First published March 4, 2014

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Janet Gurtler

33 books655 followers
A Rita Award Finalist, Janet Gurtler's young adult books have been chosen for the JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION and as BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. Janet lives in Okotoks Alberta, Canada with her husband, son, a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce and a blonde golden retriever named Betty White.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,218 (28%)
4 stars
1,339 (31%)
3 stars
1,205 (27%)
2 stars
416 (9%)
1 star
129 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 592 reviews
Profile Image for Janet.
Author 33 books655 followers
June 1, 2016
I wrote it so I totally know what happens at the end. ;)
Profile Image for Janet.
Author 33 books655 followers
June 1, 2016
I love it. I am not impartial.
589 reviews1,031 followers
February 23, 2014
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Parts of me enjoyed this novel, and then there are parts of me that just could not shove away the flaws. This is my second novel by Janet Gurtler, so I guess I had expected more from her, as How I Lost You was quite brilliant. Yet all other things aside, 16 Things I Thought Were True presents readers with several important morals and themes which I believe is to why I still ended up liking it in the end.

Morgan was never the social one when it came to interacting with the other people around her. She thought that almost five thousand followers on Twitter would be enough to keep her company. However her life takes a big turn when her mother is sent rushing to the hospital, to find out that she has a heart condition. If she died, Morgan wouldn’t have a parent left—her dad had run off before Morgan was even born. So when her summer job’s boss and fellow co-worker offer to go on a road trip with her in search for her father, how could she not say yes?

My first problem with Gurtler’s latest was the logic of the main character. Your mother is extremely ill and fragile, and you decide to set off with two people you barely know to find your father that might slam the door in your face. Right. Morgan do tell how you drew that conclusion—‘cause I really have no idea. Morgan was still, however, a good choice of protagonist for this novel. She’s a jerk, impulsive and doesn’t really listen to what comes out her mouth half the time—not exactly the easy to like type. Nonetheless, throughout the book, she did grow onto me and I liked how the author handled her growth as an individual.

16 Things I Thought Were True had a lot going on for just a 300 paged novel. I do believe that it drags down the book as a whole because the author is trying to cram everything into this book. Her mother is in hospital then out of hospital within a matter of pages. The road trip did not last too long at all. Meeting her father felt so insignificant to what I had anticipated. Then there were themes and morals mixed in, which made me, feel that the book was somewhat shallow. Perhaps a longer novel or fewer ideas? Then the author would have the opportunity to go in depth with more of the fantastic plot lines she had. And that ending felt anticlimactic. There was a twist and I was just left there thinking: “….wait…huh?”

What I loved most about Gurtler’s latest is the friendships and Morgan’s way of finding who she was. The answer was in her face the entire time, but the journey was what shaped her more. Amy was honestly the sweetest. I was not a fan of her in the beginning, but her bubbly and excitable personality made it impossible to hate her. Adam was also a pretty likeable love interest and it was great how the romance did not take up the novel—if it did… TOTAL. DISASTER.

16 Things I Thought Were True was a brave new novel by Janet Gurtler that dealt with topics such as death, finding yourself, moving on by leaving the past behind,  lying and how it can come back and make you feel guilty and understanding that it’s completely alright to make mistakes—though remember to correct them in the end. Yes, it’s quite a bucket. But like I said, it's crowded with ideas and happenings.

~Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this copy!~

Profile Image for Valerie.
887 reviews383 followers
November 28, 2014
4 stars - This one captured my heart.

First Impression...

I've needed a change lately and a good YA sounds like the right choice. Besides, I was so interested in the twitter aspect of this story.

The Characters...

Overall, what I loved the most about all of the characters in this book was how real they felt. As a teacher, I often wonder at some of the YA characters I read about in books, wondering what school halls they came from. But these characters? They were real.

I loved that Morgan was obsessed with her chapstick and her twitter following. She was worried what others thought about her. She was worried about her mom. She wondered who her dad was. She made some silly decisions. She could be a brat sometimes. She was a teenager. I really enjoyed getting to know her and watching her go through some struggles that ultimately helped her grow-up.

Adams was a cutie. The manager at work, he seemed like a jerk at first but then when Morgan needs him - even though he doesn't know her yet - he's there for her. And he keeps being there for her. As she struggles with her viral status on YouTube, her mothers health and the trip to find her dad, Adam is always there for her. He's not perfect. He proved that for sure. He's not some super gorgeous teen god but he's cute and he likes her. Oh and he's a good kisser.

Amy. I so loved Amy. She tell it how it is. Never beats around the bush, the girl will pee on the side of the road when she's got to go but she won't let you down. She doesn't embarrass easily and she's a great friend to Morgan and Adam. She took my by storm and I really enjoyed her.

The Story...

The story grabbed me and held me. I really haven't felt that stuck in a book feeling lately but this one did for me. I wasn't sure where things were going a lot of times. I guessed a couple little things right but there were some things that came out of left field and tugged at my heart. Such a great story full of growing up advice and a sweet romance that didn't dominate the meaningful story.

Could I Put it Down...

No. I read it straight through.

In The End...

This is a great YA story for more than YA. I hope lots and lots of YA do read it though. It's real. We all make mistakes but it's important to learn from them and move on. Be who you really are. Anyone who just wants a really good story, this one is for you.
Profile Image for Alexa.
351 reviews278 followers
October 24, 2011

My review can also be found on my blog Collections.

2.5 stars

I could relate to the main character Jasmine in a way. I understood why she felt like she never fit in because of her skin color and the way she looks. I know the feeling. But she pretty much annoyed me for the majority of the book. The secret she kept from her mother.... It made me wonder why she even bothered keeping it to herself, since she started taking out her frustrations on the one person she was trying to protect. Telling her mother that unlike her, she wasn't addicted to a color? And that she was a horrible mother? Whoa. Jasmine made unfair assumptions and was as judgmental as everyone else throughout the book. Even though she realizes this by the end and knows she has to change herself and become a stronger person, I can't say I ever went out of my way to root for her.

Another thing that bothered me was the fact that so many other issues were mentioned. There was the gay friend and the friend who was abused growing up and the boy who had a drug past. Every other character had a dead parent (cancer, drunk driving, etc) or a parent who wasn't in their lives. Yes, everyone has problems. But considering the book was already about prejudice and racism and forgiveness, it was too much. I guess I was suppose to feel sorry for the characters, but I honestly never felt much of anything for them. And then the dialogue from some of the characters made me cringe. Things like 'Once you go black, you never go back' and 'You know what they say about black men...' I've heard those jokes before. Who hasn't? It felt very forced. Like I was being reminded and convinced that the character was black. And I wasn't convinced. It didn't sound real or true to me. Just stereotypical things to say.

I liked that If I Tell brought up the issues of race and prejudice. However, I wasn't able to completely connect with the characters, and I think the book had a lot going on with the other issues I mentioned above. While I didn't enjoy If I Tell as much as I wanted to, I don't think it was a bad read at all. And I believe that if you're still interested in reading it you should go for it.
Profile Image for Brunette Librarian.
295 reviews23 followers
September 2, 2014
Check out the full review and more at
The Brunette Librarian's Blog

Morgan is having a bit of a hard summer. She’s got a job at the local theme park working with snacks, she’s not making any friends, and her Mom just had a heart attack. She doesn’t know who her dad is, never has really. Her twin brothers aren’t any help so Morgan can’t help but feel alone in world filled with people. However, her one lifeline is Twitter and this is going to be the summer she passes 5,000 followers. She knows once she passes that milestone, something amazing is bound to happen.

As Morgan’s mother lays on the hospital table, she begins to tell Morgan about her birth father. Having assumed he was dead, Morgan is surprised to find out that he is in fact still alive and living just across the border in Canada. A shy girl, Amy, who has become attached to Morgan, offers to drive her to finally meet her Dad. Her boss, and maybe crush at work, Adam offers to go too. As the three set off on an epic road trip, they question themselves, family, and what is really means to be a friend.

I was extremely impressed with how well written this is. I was drawn in from page one and couldn't set it down. Characters, setting, and story come together perfectly to create this fantastic blend.

16 Things I Thought Were True is a wonderful character study of teens and what they are going through right now. Life isn’t perfect but moments can be. Morgan begins the book disliking life. She doesn't have any friends that aren’t online, she’s had a terrible embarrassment that chased off her real friends so she’s alone. Friendship plays a key role in this story, both old and new and how they affect our lives.

Completely delightful, I loved 16 Things I Thought Were True. A great road trip story that has a little bit of everything. Bullying issues, friendships, family problems, insecurities, love, and happiness are all thrown in there to create one of the best Young Adult novels I’ve read in quite a while. Great characters and a heartwarming story show how gifted of a storyteller Janet Gurtler is.
Profile Image for Griff.
558 reviews
November 16, 2013
I was not expecting that ending!!!!...OMG... I need a tissue! Oh, Morgan. May we all have Amy's in our lives.
694 reviews16 followers
January 21, 2014
Sometimes I just want to dive into a YA contemporary read, a la Sarah Dessen, and nothing satisfies that urge quite like a road trip book. 16 Things I Thought Were True is a really easy, really good, and surprisingly touching read. It's not a long book, so it didn't take me long to plough through it - mainly because once I started I really didn't want to put it down. The 16 Things make for a good plot device - a way of splitting the book into bitesize chunks, hints that make you think about things, while not breaking up the storyline. The use of Twitter makes for a wonderfully modern read too, though there's a chance that it will age badly.
Gurtler's characters and writing were infinitely enjoyable. Amy in particular is an amazing creation. I wish we call all have someone like her in our lives.
I was enjoying the ride so much, I didn't want the book to end, and when it did, I have to admit I was in floods of tears.
16 Things I Thought Were True is a brilliant story for teens and adults alike, and I want everyone to read it!
Profile Image for Heather.
571 reviews
March 18, 2014
This was a great little contemporary. Memorable characters, charming, romantic, and a little heart-breaking. Review soon:)


If you follow this blog than you know that I love contemporary YA--it's definitely my favorite and most read genre. But until I read #16thingsithoughtweretrue, I had never read any books by Janet Gurtler. Well I aim to change that now because I very much enjoyed 16 Things...It was a great little book--a quick, absorbing read-it-an-afternoon book. And it surprised me in many ways too--you can tell from the above synopsis that there are some family issues going on with Morgan--her mom's health and her estranged dad--but there were more thing going on in Morgan's life--an embarrassing video gone viral, loss of her best friend, and a growing obsession with her Twitter readership.

There are also some lighter moments. A fun, albeit kind of brief, road trip. A co-worker that becomes a best friend. And falling for the guy she least likely expected to.

Things have been rough for Morgan the last few months. After her best friend posted a video of her dancing around in boys underwear to "I'm Sexy and I Know It", the viral video has been the talk of Morgan's school. She's no longer speaking to her friend and has instead turned to Twitter--where she is within range of reaching 5000 followers. True to teenager fashion, Morgan has her nose in her phone night and day, constantly tweeting her status and checking her counts. Even though she is a semi-outcast, Morgan takes a job at a local amusement park--she needs the money. But she doesn't talk to anyone really, she thinks everyone is talking about her, laughing at her, whispering things like "Did you see her in that video?"

The only person who seems to want to get to know her is this strange girl named Amy--and Morgan isn't exactly sure if she finds her attention flattering or annoying. But she's leaning more towards annoying. Not far into the story, Morgan's mom suffers a heart attack. After her douchebag, yet also kinda-cute-in-a-nerdy-way, manager gives her a ride to the hospital, Morgan learns some things from her mom about the father she has never met and was always told abandoned her after he found out her mom was pregnant.

I won't spoil the rest of the story but a road trip to meet this missing father does ensue and included a couple of unlikely allies.

So here are the best things about 16 Things... it's a great coming of age story with a flawed protagonist. Morgan is definitely a little lost and floundering. But she doesn't do a whole lot to help her cause. It takes her life getting shaken up even more to get her moving in the right direction. Next, I love that although this is a coming of age story it is one that includes Morgan's family in a big way. Her mom, her two older brothers and her dad all play substantial roles in the book--it's always good to see family, all types of families, playing big roles in YA. The romance aspect is sweet and realistic--but it's not the central focus--and that works well for this story that is really about Morgan coming to terms with certain things in her life.

And lastly, the secondary character of Amy really, really shines in this book--and sorta steals the show. She develops into this really interesting compelling character in this book--I was so surprised by her role by book's end because it turned out to be nothing like I expected. I won't say anymore than that but I think a lot of readers are really going to fall for this character.

That's not to say that I didn't love Morgan--I did--but for different reasons. She's a very realistic character--everyone in this book is--you see Morgan's positives and negatives. But you definitely want to cheer her on and see her come out on top. I think my favorite scene with Morgan has to be near the end--when she fully embraces who she is and what she's done in her past. When she realizes that her actions don't always define her.

I think that #16thingsithoughtweretrue is a fantastic young adult book--it teaches some pretty great life lessons and does it in an entertaining and engaging way. I'm off to discover my next Janet Gurtler book.

Profile Image for Ashley - Book Labyrinth.
1,251 reviews308 followers
October 12, 2011
When I finished this novel I thought to myself “How come more people didn’t tell me how awesome Janet Gurtler’s writing is?!”. She totally has my favourite type of contemporary voice, a la Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, and Deb Caletti. And those three are some of my favourite contemp writers, so that is a massive compliment.

‘If I Tell’ originally intrigued me, but its concept didn’t necessarily appeal to me. I mean, the girl sees her Mom’s boyfriend kissing her best friend?! It sounds pretty sketchy. And, well, it is sketchy, but it’s also not exactly what it seems. I think you can view the whole book based on the “it's not all black and white” theme, one which occurs on two levels. First there’s Jasmine (Jaz) grappling with knowing people and figuring out that people aren’t always what they seem. Then secondly there are literal black and white issues, with Jaz trying to deal with her mixed race heritage in a small town where people who are black and people who are white just don’t mix.

Jaz’s identity issues made up a much larger portion of the book than I would have guessed based on the description, but I was very intrigued by the whole scenario. I went to an incredibly racially diverse high school, so it was hard for me to understand why Jaz’s classmates, and even people throughout the town, made such a huge deal out of her being half black and half white. Jaz’s journey to understanding and appreciating her heritage as well as gaining self-esteem was at times difficult to read about, but it was beautifully done.

This book just feels like a perfect example of contemporary YA because it has a little bit of everything. There’s friendship (how cool was Ashley? I loved seeing a character with my name who wasn’t a bitchy cheerleader or ditzy fashionista), romance (Jackson! seriously cute), family, identity issues, and a specific plot point (should Jaz tell?) to wrap the whole thing together. I enjoyed this book so much, and I really felt for Jaz throughout the whole novel. If you’re a fan of contemporary YA, Janet Gurtler is definitely an author to keep an eye on.
Profile Image for Aly.
259 reviews19 followers
March 20, 2014
I have been waiting to read #16 Things I Thought Were True since BEA when I heard that Janet had another book in the works. To say that I'm a huge fan of Janet Gurtler is an understatement. I'm in awe of the way that Janet just gets and create the teen world. She understands their problems and all her stories are filled with problems that aren't exclusive to teens, it's not a teenage story, it's a story that features a teen and I love how she does that. It's like magic.

#16 Things I Thought Were True is no different. When Morgan's mother get's sick and faced with her own mortality, she finally tells Morgan who her father is. Morgan can't let go of the idea of meeting her father and confronting him for abandoning her and her mother. Together with her seemingly uptight boss and a friend from work, they set off on a road trip to finding Morgan's dad.

My favorite part about #16 Things is that I thought I knew where the story was going. I had this vision of my head. This, this, and this would happen. End of story. I was okay with it though because although it might've been predicable, I thought the story would live through its characterization. Then I read and, bam, plot twist, I'm crying and I'm kind of a wreck. So if you think that you're getting another ordinary contemporary read you're wrong.

Yes, it's a little predicable, but there's no way that you can predict what's going to happen in the end.

It's so amazing and once again Janet doesn't disappoint. #16 Things I Thought Were True is such an honest story. It's some kind of indescribable wonderful. All the little things and big things come together in just the right way.

e-ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley.
Profile Image for Boyanna.
311 reviews93 followers
July 11, 2014
This one had the enthusiasm of a dying slug (i don't know its level of enthusiasm but i imagine is non-existing!). There were happenings in this book but the events felt like someone was reciting a groceries list in lazy voice.
This is a classic case of a zombie book*, it lacks a soul and i couldn't get immersed in to it no matter how much i tried.

*(there aren't actual zombies inside, this book is a zombie, it drags its tired legs around looking for brains to eat...)
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews747 followers
April 3, 2014
16 Things I Thought Were True was really different to what I was expecting. I think things happened way too quickly for my liking that before I could even get a grip with what was going on, we were thrown into the next incident. Also I didn’t get the chance to form a connection with our MC Morgan either, she’d been having a tough time with a video of her being leaked by her former best friend of her dancing in boys shorts. Morgan had practically become the laughing stock, she couldn’t go anywhere without someone sniggering behind her back, or bringing up what had happened. I was fully on Morgan’s side, as she had just made that video when she and her best friend were messing around, she didn’t expect everyone to see it. Then to make matters worse, Morgan’s mum ends up being rushed to the hospital with a heart problem. Morgan’s never been so scared in her life, Morgan has twin brothers in Josh and Jake to look after her, but her mum is all that she has parent-wise, her dad walked out on her before she was born. Morgan’s mum is convinced she is going to die from a small operation, so encourages Morgan to find her dad. Morgan doesn’t want to leave her mum during such a crucial time, but every time Morgan has even tried to mention her dad, her mum just shuts her down, so with her mum actually totally behind Morgan doing this, Morgan decides to go and find her dad.

With the entire backlash she is receiving for her video, Morgan doesn’t really have anyone to go with her to Canada to find her dad. But then she finds two unexpected friends in Amy and Alex. I absolutely adored Amy, she reminded me of myself at times with her ability to talk non-stop. And although I could see how things would go with Alex and Morgan, I wasn’t really behind it, or more especially care for it. And what really bugged me was how unrealistic this road trip to see Morgan’s dad became. Morgan literally had a couple of conversations with Alex and Amy and then all of a sudden Amy had volunteered to drive her there and Alex to accompany them. And even though this road trip was meant to be a one of a kind experience of discovery and making connections, I just didn’t get this vibe from this road trip.

I really had the hope that I would be able to make a better connection with the characters or story but unfortunately this was not the case. The whole meeting with Morgan’s dad wasn’t an emotional one as I expected and ended way too quickly for my liking. And then we had two bombshells at the end where the heck did they come from? I’ve had luck with Gurtler’s books in the past, but this book just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Julia.
33 reviews
April 22, 2014

This book took me only four to five hours to read, it was that good. I have a few authors that just write so well that I guess I consider them gods of sorts. All I can say is, the author of #16thingsithoughtweretrue is definitely one of them. I really had only one sort of problem with this book. Well, maybe two. The first problem was, conflicts got resolved to easily, like almost missing the ferry and the tire. Also, although it gave the book a surprise kick-but ending, I don't think Amy should have died. In my opinion(which I guess doesn't really mean much) she should have killed off the mother in the beginning, then Morgan would have had a kind of emotional drive to push her to keep going. This is just kind of nit-picky, but even though Morgan was going to find her long lost father and it was really scary, I don't think she should have cried so much. Of course, I've never experienced something like that so what do I know.

Now, for the good things!! There were a lot of good things going on in this book, for example, the beginning of the trio's road trip was hilarious, and so was Morgan's attachment to twitter. I also think the Morgan/Adam hook-up at the middle of the end was much needed and kind of adorable. I really loved all of those little details, like the way the hostel looked and the ferry rides. I pretty much loved almost the whole thing!!

You are probably wondering why I gave this book five stars when my good things paragraph is considerably shorter than my problem paragraph. That would be because I liked pretty much the whole book, and only had a few problems that I had needed to be explained. Do not worry, I'm not a crazy person when it comes to books
Profile Image for Evie.
711 reviews924 followers
April 13, 2014
There is no denying the fact that Janet Gurtler writes quality contemporary fiction. Her novels are thought-provoking, emotionally affecting and deeply insightful. They're also honest, relatable and often times completely heartbreaking. At the same time, they're captivating and powerful enough to engage even the most reluctant of readers. I have read and loved all of her previous books, but #16thingsIthoughtweretrue is by far my favorite one. There's just something about it - whether it's the summer atmosphere, the poignant and emotional plot line, or the fantastic chemistry between the characters - that made me fell in love with it.

Morgan is a delightfully vibrant heroine. She can be sweet and caring, but she can also act like a spoiled little princess sometimes. She worries about everything - from the more serious things, like issues surrounding her family life, to silly stuff, like her Twitter following and how she's perceived by people around her. She's a typical teenage girl and I think Janet Gurtler did a marvellous job fleshing out her personality. She was an entertaining character to follow - with all her flaws and quirky habits - and I quickly found myself emotionally invested in her story.

As far as secondary characters are concerned, I really loved Adam. Well, I liked all the secondary characters to be honest, but Adam was definitely the most intriguing one of them all. Full of surprises, he is not who Morgan originally thought he was and their interactions are one the highlights of the story.

I think what I love the most about Gurtler's books, and #16thingsithoughtweretrue in particular, is the easy-to-digest, conversational tone. Her writing is simply devourable, making her books unputdownable one-afternoon type of reads. So often YA contemporary books - and especially those dealing with difficult issues and more serious topics - are too heavy, too angsty, or too depressing. Gurtler's books, on the other hand, are perfectly balanced, blending together lighter and darker undertones, offering both something fun and something more sophisticated. Something that stays with you long after you turn the last page.

#16thingsithoughtweretrue is many things. It's a fun and entertaining road-trip story. It's a deep and insightful journey to self-discovery. It's a tale of love, friendship, family bonds, mistakes, and what it means to be a modern-day, technology-obsessed teenage girl. All in all, it's a compulsively readable book with a great story line, interesting characters, and memorable and relevant life lessons.
Profile Image for jesse.
987 reviews100 followers
October 8, 2011


1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or
ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

[ dict ]

A half white, half black teen finds herself in a conflicted situation when she sees her pregnant mom's boyfriend hooking up with another woman. Responsibility falls into her hands. Keep the lie or face the facts and confront the truth? As Jaz decides to keep this dirty little secret, her relationship with those around her gets more and more strained.

IF I TELL addresses racism, mobbing, teen pregnancy, single-parent upbringing, postnatal depression and breaking the unwritten rule.

This is a book for colored people. Or just people unjustly discriminated through no fault of their own. I'd even go so far, as to say that it's for all the people (/slash assholes) out there, who've ever said something nasty to someone with a skin color different to their own. Racist remarks are always hard to handle. Even if the racist in question isn't attacking you personally, it doesn't make it ok or less bad.

Discrimination. Racism. Stories like these can never get too old. That's the sad thing. They're timeless.
Profile Image for Kristina Weber.
209 reviews8 followers
February 6, 2015
This book is very timely, and current, too- I just read an informal high school poll, and it seems that Facebook is on its way out with them- they are using Twitter and Snapchat more than anything. And they are over sharing. I also saw real research on social media and its effect on real human interaction, and it is pretty scary. So, I love that this book tackles those things.

Janet Gurtler is being compared to Sarah Dessen, and I think that's pretty accurate- especially with some of Dessen's older, edgier stuff. My eighth graders have loved If I tell, and I think they might like this one even better.
Profile Image for Demi (Breaking Bookshelves).
104 reviews4 followers
October 23, 2011
More reviews on Breaking Bookshelves.
eBook from Netgalley.

If I Tell by Janet Gurtler is a story of stereotypes, of discrimination and stigma, of a secret and a lapse in judgement. It is a novel about Jasmine (Jaz) Evans, a “mistake” – a half-white, half-black mutt. She has a young mother, a father who does not want her, and she lives in a town so small and so ignorant that fitting in has not come easy. She sees herself as the stain her classmates have so eloquently told her she was. Yet, she sticks it out. She survives the taunts, the silent treatments, and life seems to be going okay with her mom’s new boyfriend.

However, what happens when she sees her may-soon-to-be stepdad, Simon, locking lips with her best friend? Where does the trust go? How can she forgive them? Better question, is she capable of forgiving them?

If I Tell is a frustrating story to say the least. The characters, the plot, the setting is all so believable that it becomes irksome. There’s something about If I Tell that makes me like it though. That makes me somewhat feel for the characters. I don’t know what word to use to describe this feeling of teetering between liking it and not. I do like it, I really do, but it leaves me feeling a little…meh (cue meh hand gesture).

Well, I guess we could start off with the thing(s) I really liked. Jackson. I LOVE HIM. I emphasize the word love. He is now one of my fictional crushes. In my head, he is my definition of hot. HOT. All capitals. He does not sparkle (as far as I can tell), he is not moody and troubled (currently), but he is indeed a bad-boy type. Jackson is the bad boy most girls want – he’s got a past, he’s a little a-hole-y, but he’s also soft and squishy inside. He’s got this charm, and laid-back feel to him that I really love. He’s also incredibly forgiving and open-minded. I was mirroring Jaz’s reactions to him every time he popped up in the novel. I literally grinned like an idiot whenever he was mentioned. Like Jaz said, he’s beautiful inside, where it counts.

Another thing I liked was how realistically the story was portrayed. The characters are authentic and heartfelt, and so that means they are also extremely frustrating. Jaz irritated me to no end. When her close friend Ashley (whom I love and need to find a twin of in real life) told her to snap out of it, I practically screamed out “YES! YOU TELL HER!” This does not mean I dislike Jaz, though. It only means she irritated me with her selfishness. However, I also like how she develops near the end – the small step she takes to growing up.

As for the writing, it’s alright. I felt like there were many mistakes, but I could ignore them. I think I have the eARC so it makes sense. Another thing I don’t like though, was how sometimes the book didn’t hold my attention like I wanted it to. I was pulled in at some parts, and then let go off at others. This is pretty much the reason why this novel took me so long to read. Or maybe it was just my mood.

Another thing I particularly disliked was the ending. And what I mean by the ending is literally the very last page. I am not a fan of how my copy ended because It seemed so cut off and unfinished. It gave me a bland, and hardly memorable impression. Everything before the ending was great, the resolution. It was going somewhere, but then it just ended abruptly. Maybe it was the words chosen, but I felt so unsatisfied with the ending. I think that’s what gave me the “meh” feeling…the ending. But I guess, like any other book, If I Tell has its highs and lows. I may dislike certain descriptions/situations, but I enjoyed the easy flow of the dialogue. However much I may or may not like something about this novel, I’m glad it was a story that was put to paper. It just shows that there are still people who feel the effects of discrimination and stigma. I liked that this story was more than about that though, that it had a lot to do with growing up and making mistakes. I liked how it shed light on forgiveness, and the struggles that come with the journey through it.

Janet Gurtler is no doubt a talented author. Although I may not have loved this novel, I am still interested in reading other books by her. I can’t really say if this is a light and fluffy read or not because the topics dealt with are far from light. At the same time, the way the story is executed is not heavy enough to weigh down the average reader. I guess I would recommend this to anyone who likes a dose of reality in their diet, something a little angst-y but also incredibly cute.

Anyway, thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for the galley!
Profile Image for Jenni Arndt.
438 reviews331 followers
February 24, 2014
As a Canadian I am always quick to jump behind any Canadian authors that I can find. Sometimes hastily getting a book based on those grounds has bitten me in the butt but I have come to know that getting a Janet Gurtler book (who is not only a Canadian, but a fellow Albertan) is always a safe bet. #16thingsithoughtweretrue did not disappoint. While it wasn’t a perfect novel, it managed to bring out all the feels from me and had me ugly crying for the last few chapters.

Morgan doesn’t come across as the most likeable character in the beginning of the novel. She is very standoffish and likes to get lost in a virtual world on her phone rather than have one on one contact with real people. It becomes apparent early on that she was at one time a much more personable person but was wronged by her best friend Lexie when she put a video of Morgan dancing in men’s underwear to LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It online. The video quickly went viral and had people laughing at Morgan wherever she went in the town of Tadita. I liked reading a novel about how a viral video had affected someone, it’s a very important issue these days with everything that is on the news about high school and the forms of bullying that go on online. I think the person Morgan had become in the aftermath of that was very realistic. She had this hard shell that she had put up to protect herself from the taunting and from possibly being hurt again but we are never left to believe that she is that cold on the inside because her emotions are palpable throughout the novel.

Helping bring this light side of Morgan to light is everything that is going on in her family life. Right at the beginning of the novel her mother is admitted to the hospital with heart trouble and it rocks Morgan’s world. Not only is she worried about her mother, but her mom (who doesn’t think she is going to make it) tells her her father’s name which is shocking because Morgan had believed he was dead. This sets into motion the plot at the heart of the novel which is Morgan going on a road trip to Canada to meet her biological father. Of course a young girl can’t go on a trip like this alone so by luck of the draw she happens to find two people from work who are willing to go with her and one of them even has a car. Amy and Adam (her companions on the trip) where important characters in their own right. I really fell for these two, they had me laughing just as much as they had me feeling bad for what was going on in their lives. The secondary characters here are expertly developed which served to immerse me in the story even more because I came to care about so many people.

My only complaints about the novel are that a few of the revelations that come about in the story just seemed really unnecessary. It seemed like Morgan had a knack for meeting people who lie to her right off the bat and keep it going for as long as they can. The lies that she’s faced with were just silly and didn’t really serve a purpose in the story in my opinion. They felt like cheap ways to attempt to keep the story interesting but that wasn’t necessary at all because the pacing was spot on and the story would have definitely held its own. Maybe there was supposed to be a deeper meaning enforced by these people’s need to lie to her, but I just didn’t feel that it was effective at all. I was also a little bothered but the use of the term wi-fi (getting nitpicky here, I know) but it really bugged me. While on the highway Morgan kept referring to how she was in a dead zone and didn’t have wi-fi, well duh you are on a highway! I’m not sure if Gurtler was meaning to say that she just didn’t have service, or if there are actually highways out there that have wi-fi but I just couldn’t figure out why Morgan would ever think she would have a chance at having wi-fi on a highway.

Those two small issues definitely didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the novel all that much and I think that this is a definite read for any contemporary fans out there. Filled with great characters and a story that grabs you and doesn’t let go this is one you should definitely grab when it hits shelves.


For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Racquel.
482 reviews
September 24, 2011
Review also posted on my blog:The Book Barbies

3.5 stars rounded to 4

I didn't really have any opinions or expectation when going into this book. To prove to you how true that is: somehow I read the summary wrong and thought that instead of Jasmine- the MC- catching her mom's boyfriend- Simon- with her bestfriend I though that she caught her MOM with her bestfriend and so I was completely lost at the beginning and when I read the summary again I had an OHHHHH! moment.

Which leads me to, I LOVE WHEN THIS HAPPENS! When I have ZERO expectations about a book and it blows me away (because If I Tell certainly did!) it makes me so happy! It’s the best surprise ever! Sometimes I even hate reading reviews because they get me too excited about a book and excitement ONLY leads to disappointment in my experience.

Jasmine is biracial which is nothing special but if you live in a town where you're either fully black or fully white and your well, the biracial sheep you're subjected to a few not so nice remarks and those remarks definitely scarred Jasmine making her turn to her guitar and one girl as a bestfriend so what do you do when one of those sources betrays you in the worst way possible?

Race and ethnicity is big part of the book, it’s why Jasmine has many problems (even if some of them she created because she was so pitiful) and is so insecure because she believes she doesn’t fit in because she’s not fully black or fully white and no one quite understands her. The whole ethnicity insecurity plays out perfectly I think, it might be the 21st century but I have no doubt in mind people still discriminate and it’s nice to see a book that deals with this. Now I just pick up a book and assume the characters are white so this was nice refresher.

After what she witness, Jasmine basically has no one but Jackson. He comes into town and plays shining knight and along with Ashley (a girl Jasmine gets to become close friends with) they help Jasmine open her eyes about her insecurities and how to get past them and how to deal and accept her ethnicity.

I love how great the romance between Jackson and Jasmine turned out to be, it didn’t happen over the spam of a paragraph but it literally blossomed as I kept reading. All the issues Jasmine is going though are also well handled and patched up reasonably (I’m being vague but I refuse to give anything away!) and the characters are AWESOME! Ashley is blunt and hilarious, Jasmine’s grandma is the best, Jackson is so sweet and amazing I wanted to hug him and even Simon who made a mistake, redeemed himself! BUT I can’t deny how at some parts I hated Jasmine for her ignorance.

Throughout most of the book Jasmine was a pity party, frustrating and a little immature. I mean I understood she’s very insecure and hated how people judged her on how she looks how but wouldn’t you think that would make her not judge people? But she totally judged Jackson and said some very harsh things when all he ever did to her was show her kindness and compassion but she hit him where it hurts: dissed him about his race. But he forgave her, which I think was too easy!! Jasmine couldn’t forgive Lacey (her bestfriend) or Simon all the way but got Jackson forgiveness handed on a silver platter, which was very hypocritical and unfair and I can’t forget how she just assumed the worst of Simon without really trying to figure out what happened or getting his opinion! She went as far as punching him when just like Jackson, all he did was be nice to her!

Besides that, I enjoyed If I Tell. It was a surprise delight that I think everyone should pick up, it deals well with issues of getting over the crap life throws you and handling them the best way fit plus the book has a very cute romance:D

*Thank to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me a copy of this book to review*

-thank you&come again.
Profile Image for Olivia (Bookcomet).
362 reviews37 followers
February 17, 2014
My heart sung, weeped, broke and soared. This book soared. I loved it to bits. #thingsiKNOWaretrue

This book totally deserved it's spot on my Most Anticipated Books of 2014 list. Now it will end up on my Favourites of 2014 list. I just love it. I actually cried (and this is coming from the girl who didn't cry in The Fault in Our Stars) and I laughed. #thingsiKNOWaretrue

It was actually so beautiful. The ending, oh the ending, was perfect for the story. I loved all the little things, like how Morgan used Twitter as sort of a haven and I loved reading the hashtags at the beginning of each chapter (I case your wondering why I keep using hashtags in this review). #thingsiKNOWaretrue

Who could forget such a swoony romance? Adam was so amazing and I loved his outlook and the way he cared for Morgan and Amy. It was so cute and perfect and I loved it so much. Then there was Amy, who needs just as much of a mention as Adam. #thingsiKNOWaretrue

Morgan herself needs a whole paragraph. I loved her actions at the end, won't spoil anything, and the way that she stood up for Amy like that. She had so many things going on and she remained a determined and smart character who I loved to read about. #thingsiKNOWaretrue

There were twists and the little things turned to bigger things. One minute you are relieved, the next devastated. I have never read a book about a road-trip, so that was cool, and the characters had their funny little lines now and again. Everything turned out perfectly and couldn't possibly be any better. #thingsiKNOWaretrue

If you love contemporary, you HAVE to read this. If you loved The Fault in Our Stars, you HAVE to read this. I know people hate it when reviewers compare books with other books, but hey, it's a recommendation. I loved this and I can't wait to read more by this author. SO GOOD. I never read stuff this long in pretty much one sitting. Without even meaning to. #thingsiKNOWaretrue

5/5 comets - Bye, bye Earth. Out of this world!
Profile Image for Cat.
213 reviews
December 30, 2013
I really enjoyed this book! The characters were very easy to relate to and I believe this will be a great addition to my classroom after its release. The realistic factor of instant gratification and instantaneous viewing (via twitter) is very poignant and will resonate with so many teens. There are so many twists and turns that keep the reading guessing, and the coverage of multiple topics (family, romance, friendships, inner peace, health, etc.) offers something for everyone. Good stuff!
Profile Image for Jade.
3 reviews
August 26, 2016
Morgan is trying to hide from the real world and hangs out with her friends on Twitter instead. Until her mom gets sick and her whole world is rocked.

Soon she's on a road trip with Adam her cute but annoying boss and Amy(Oh I love Amy) to meet the dad she's never known.

Thoughtful and relateable, this book warmed my heart and made me think about my own social media addictions lol.

The emotional depth was really satisfying and the ending....oh!!!

Profile Image for Janet.
Author 33 books655 followers
September 6, 2013
New cover, coming soon!!

NEW SYNOPSIS/back cover copy up now! Check it out! Wheeeeeee!!!!
Profile Image for Bailey (IB Book Blogging).
254 reviews55 followers
September 11, 2011
IF I TELL is a beautiful and thought-provoking novel that is sure to warm your heart. Gurtler confronts many issues that plague teens and doesn't sugar coat anything. I was shocked by how fast this book pulled me in. I wasn't expecting to love this novel as much as I did. I have to say that IF I TELL is one of my favorite contemporary YA books out there.

Jasmine is an insecure, hurt, and distraught biracial girl whose life is an absolute mess when IF I TELL opens up. Because she is biracial, she has dealt with the criticism from onlookers her entire life. She isn't sure where she fits in, and feels like the black sheep of her town. To make matters worse, her relationship with her young mother isn't very healthy. Her grandmother and grandfather raised her since her mother was 17 when she had Jasmine, and she resents her mother for that. Matters only get worse when she catches her mother's boyfriend kissing her best friend, and when she's about to tell her mother the truth, she finds out she's pregnant!

Thus ensues much drama and pain for Jasmine. I truly felt awful for Jasmine. She feels like she has no one in the world, and isn't really living at all. She has lost one of her only friends, Lacey, because she can't forgive her for doing that to her mom. And then there is Simon, her mom's boyfriend. They have always been so close, but when she catches him with Lacey, she feels so betrayed. If I was in Jasmine's shoes, I wouldn't know what to do either. I did get annoyed at her at times because she did have other friends around her, but she was too blind to see the truth.

My favorite character in IF I TELL was definitely Jackson. He comes into the story and sweeps Jasmine right off her feet. Though Jasmine won't admit it because she has a "few" issues she is working through. I loved how understanding he was about Jasmine's situation. Even if she won't tell him her secrets or open up to him, he respects her. And then there is the fact that he has this mysterious vibe to him. You never know quite what is going on with him, or what is the truth about his past.

IF I TELL is an honest and delightful YA that I can guarantee you will love! I just want to go back and re-read the whole novel, even though I have a ton of other books to read. IF I TELL is a keeper, that's for sure!
Profile Image for Henrietta.
207 reviews24 followers
February 19, 2014
After years of trying, Morgan thought she’d never know the identity of her biological father. When her mother fell ill and gave her clues about her father, Morgan thought she must do something to confront him – why did he choose to abandon her even before she was born? But what she never expected was the truth that came out. Could Morgan forgive what happened now that she knew the truth?

Although Morgan wasn’t my most favorite character from the book, I could relate to her view about friends and social media. Morgan liked to express herself via tweets. Instead of talking face-to-face with real people, she preferred to type out her thoughts in less than 140 characters. When her co-workers – Amy and Adam – started following her on Twitter, the last thing she expected was their genuine friendship in real life. It was very heartwarming to see Morgan learn to open up and accept those whom she saw almost every day as friends. Both Adam and Amy were very likeable. Adam was a bit nerdy but he always stood by Morgan and offered her his support. Amy had a very delightful personality. She talked like a chatterbox but she wasn’t undiscerning. It was quite lovely watching her challenge Morgan to tweet less and interact more with people in real life. And if you asked me, I’d say I liked Amy the most. She was definitely my most favorite character in the book!

What I never expected was the amount of tears that I shed while reading the story. It wasn’t exactly that the story was sad – there were many wonderful, delightful moments. It was more because I could personally relate to the ups and downs of what happened in the story. The writing was beautiful and I felt drawn into the lives of the characters very easily. The ending was a little surprising to me but overall, I had a great time reading the book.


Originally posted on LeisureReads.com

A copy of the book was provided by publisher for review purposes.
Profile Image for Kristina.
890 reviews19 followers
February 22, 2014
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire.

16 Things I Thought Were True was a surprise hit for me. It seemed like a pretty good contemporary, which I was in the mood for, so I decided to try this one out. I ended up loving it! It was a very quick read with a lot of heart.

After years of not knowing anything about her father, Morgan's mom finally tells her about him. This leads Morgan on a road trip to Canada with two people that she works with, Amy and Adam to meet her dad for the first time. The three of them were so much fun together. I enjoyed watching them bond and go from three people who didn't know anything about each other to best friends.

I absolutely love the fact that Morgan was a twitter addict. She didn't have many friends in the real world, but she was definitely twitter famous! I loved her updates and her hashtags. This aspect made Morgan so relatable! It is so much easier to be outgoing and yourself behind a computer screen, and it's something that a lot of people struggle with it. I loved watching Morgan break out of her shell.

My only issue was the timing of the road trip. I understand that Morgan just found out who her father was and is desperate and excited to meet him, but her mother was in the hospital. She couldn't wait a few more days to go meet him? This gave me the impression that Morgan is an extremely selfish person.

Overall, I really enjoyed 16 Things I Thought Were True and it is one of my favorite Janet Gurtler books!
Profile Image for Ivana.
258 reviews66 followers
September 20, 2011
If I Tell is first and foremost a deeply realistic novel (maybe you can't tell by the summary which at first sounded to me like a soap opera blurb), but given any other setup, any other place and situation, the core of it is as realistic as it can be. The main conflict revolves around an alcohol-induced mistake. If told, it could destroy several lives. As Jasmine struggles with herself weighing the pros and cos of telling the truth,she learns that everyone makes mistakes, but also that some of them have to be forgiven and forgotten.

Janet Gurtler addressees issues such as alcoholism, postpartum depression, racial and sexual identity with honesty and frankness (given that there was a lot of talk recently about making gay characters straight in YA literature, I really appreciated it), which added more depth to the novel and characters.

I loved the characters. They are well-developed, multidimensional, perfectly flawed and so real. To quote from the book-We're human. We're an imperfect species. From characters that are easy to judge in the beginning they grow and spread to unveil the morale of the story; can you dismiss all the good in a person because of one mistake?

I read If I Tell in a day. It made me laugh out loud and filled my eyes with tears more than once. What I loved most about this novel, beside it's emotional charge and strong morale, was the tenderness in voice and compassion Janet wraps her characters in.
Profile Image for Irene.
457 reviews111 followers
August 29, 2014
When I first purchased this novel, I didn't really know anything about it. It was cheap and I liked the feeling the cover gave me. I think it was because of me not knowing anything that I liked it this much. It's YA contemporary romance, but it's also so much more than that.

This is the kind of book that's hard to review. All I wanna say is "read it, read it!" It's really cute. And good. So good that it's not on my favorite shelf.

“The girl starts crying even harder, but helpful posts in 140 characters or less don’t appear. Life should be more like Twitter.”

The characters are both good and bad; Morgan is so sweet, but her mum? Well... She's a bitch. No other way of putting it. Fortunately all the other characters made up for it.
Both Adam and Amy were amazing, although at times I really hated Amy and her big mouth! Haha. She was constantly babbling - and at the most inappropriate times as well. I somehow managed to like her despite her flaw(s) though.

The writing is really good. Very easy to read, which fit the genre extremely well. This one will be a good beach read. But beware! If you're one to tear up, you might wanna read this in privacy. All I'm saying is that I ended up with tears streaming down my face.

Amazing book!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 592 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.