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If Only . . . #6

Everything But the Truth

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If Only . . . she wasn't pretending to be someone else! The If Only romance line continues in this fun rags-to-riches romance.

Holly Mathews' mom is the new manager of a ritzy retirement home, and they just moved in. But having super-rich retirees as her only neighbors isn't a total bust, because the gorgeous, notorious Malik Buchannan is the grandson of a resident. Just one problem: when they meet, Malik assumes Holly is there to visit her own rich relative. She doesn't correct him, and it probably doesn't matter, because their flirtation could never turn into more than a superficial fling . . . right? But the longer she lives in his privileged world, the deeper Holly falls for Malik, and the harder it is to tell the truth . . . because coming clean might mean losing him.

For anyone who has dreamed of their own Cinderella story, this romance shows that when it comes to true love, the best person to be is yourself!

288 pages, Hardcover

First published November 17, 2015

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About the author

Mandy Hubbard

10 books812 followers
Mandy Hubbard is the author of PRADA & PREJUDICE and YOU WISH, both novels for teens now in stores. In 2011, her releases include BUT I LOVE HIM (written as Amanda Grace) and RIPPLE. She is also a literary agent for D4EO Literary Agency. For more information, visit her website.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 59 reviews
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
December 19, 2015
Everything but the Truth is the sixth addition to the If Only series, a set of young adult contemporary romances written by various authors, all centered around the theme of wanting what you can’t have. They are lighthearted reads, a new spin on the ever-popular forbidden love trope. Tipped as a Cinderella-inspired story, Mandy Hubbard’s newest is about college-bound Holly, a girl who has never lived a privileged lifestyle. It’s only recently that she and her mom could start living comfortably, thanks to her mom’s promotion as the new manager of a ritzy retirement home. The problems begin when she meets Malik, the famous and gorgeous grandson of one of the richest men in the world, who happens to be staying there. When Malik mistakes her identity as someone else – someone rich and who belongs in his world – she doesn’t correct him, thinking that whatever they start will be nothing more than a summer fling. Soon, lies and feelings are getting all mixed up… Is it too late for Holly to tell him the truth?

This is pretty cute read with likable characters. Holly has a passion for antiques and old things, a knack for interior decorating, and wants to be a curator after she graduates. Her personality keeps the book fresh and youthful. Malik is a good complement for her, a boy who on the surface may be all charm, but who has learned the hard way how he wants to make a difference in the world. They make a sweet pair, with plenty of romantic moments between them. I was worried that Holly’s lies would frustrate me, but it’s not a source of major drama. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted her to confess a lot sooner, but I could sympathize with her fears and worries. When she realizes that Malik would never judge her for not having his family’s level of wealth, she’s also learned how much he values honesty. If she tells him the truth, she’ll lose him. It’s just enough tension to keep me reading, while still remaining mostly lighthearted.

However, the book does fall on the cheesy side more often than not, and the development of both the story and the characters is rather simplistic. It brings nothing new to the table, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many of the romances I read are endearing and charismatic despite their predictability, but they have to stir the right emotions and make me truly passionate about the romance. With Everything but the Truth, I never felt truly invested in Holly and Malik’s relationship; there were no moments of pure, unadulterated shipping. It needed more depth and oomph to become a true favorite.

If you’re looking for an easy-breezy type of romance, you could give Everything but the Truth a try. It may not blow you away, but I promise it’s not a chore to read either. It’s fun, it’s cutesy, it has its share of funny moments. I don’t regret getting to know these characters at all. I think all of the books in the If Only line are great for an afternoon of summer reading; I’m definitely looking forward to future books in the series!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 19 books2,392 followers
November 15, 2015
This was cute! It's exactly what it purports to be - no more, no less. A fun read if you're looking for something really light and like the whole "misunderstanding/hidden identity" trope. The only exception is that I was excited to read it because of the interracial cover, but other than their first meeting, where Holiday mentally guesses was race he is but never asks, it doesn't come up. You actually don't even find out. (And her first guess is Costa Rican, which seems so utterly random?) But cute cover, at least.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,651 followers
July 9, 2019
Everything But the Truth is definitely my favorite of the If Only books to this point. If it weren't for the plot being based on a stupid lie, I think this would have been a higher rating for me.

Holly Mathews lives in a retirement home because her mom is the manager. She loves living there, because it's the nicest place she's ever lived, the people are nice, and she can indulge her love of antiques (this place is fancy). Holly has a bright spirit, and I liked her fascination with art history and antiquing. I have a special love for books where the heroine wants to do something non-standard, and Holly's dream of being a curator fits the bill.

She meets a hot guy, Malik, who is visiting his grandfather. When another resident calls her Lucy, mistaking Holly for her granddaughter, Holly doesn't ever correct the lie. Holly's reasoning for not explaining the next time they met makes absolutely no sense. It's a shame because Malik and Holly are pretty cute, and it sucked having the lie hanging over every interaction. I thought Malik's wealth was well-handled, where he's trying to be more aware of his privilege but also genuinely doesn't know what normal is.

Throughout the book, I actually didn't like the drama with Holly's best friend, who has been distant and unavailable, but the resolution of that was one of the highlights of the book.

If you're looking for a cute, fun read, Everything But the Truth delivers, so long as you don't mind plots based on lies.
Profile Image for Katie (Hiding in the Pages).
2,918 reviews218 followers
November 25, 2020
Holiday, aka Holly, has a unique name but when she is called by another name by a forgetful resident at the care center where her mom works, she falls into a mistaken identity, which leads to a whole web of lies with Malik, the ultra-rich grandson of another resident.

Holly and Malik have an instant attraction that continues to blossom, yet they are from completely opposite worlds. Relationships can be complicated enough without being based on a lie and this story stressed me out a little because of that aspect. Can a relationship really last when its foundation is built on lies?

I did enjoy the characters and plot, even with the dose of anxiety, and had fun with this predictably fun and entertaining story.

Content: mild romance

*I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given*
Profile Image for Meredith .
251 reviews146 followers
November 10, 2015
This was my first Mandy Hubbard book and my first read from the "If Only" YA Romance Series (which focuses on teenage girls who want what they can’t have and fall for someone they shouldn’t, according to this article). I had no idea what to expect and I don't typically read YA romance novels, so I was a bit nervous; however, Everything But the Truth ended up being a cute, light-hearted romance with fun characters and major ship feels!

I liked Holly in the beginning. She was the average girl-next-door who was working and saving every last penny for college. She and her mom got along (something I'd love to see happen more often in YA) and she was kind to - and liked by - the residents. Her lies, intentional or not, quickly became frustrating, though. She had so many opportunities to fess up and she let them all slip by. After awhile, the convenient stories she made up to hide her lie became TOO convenient, almost unrealistically so.

I was swoony for Malik almost immediately after we met him. Later in the story, he definitely had some meh moments. I understand his trust issues, given who he is and what he's been through; however, I hated how mistrustful he became of Holly. Yes, I know, I JUST condemned her for dragging her lies out for too long. But in the end, she DID tell him the truth. And it's obvious she was sincere, so I'm kind of mad at Malik for waiting so long to forgive her. Really, they were both equally at fault.

At first, I was going to go on this whole rant about Alex and how I didn't fully trust her and how she was a crappy friend because I'm so tired of books with crappy female friendships. But then there’s a huge revelation/explanation for her and her behavior – something I’d suspected a few chapters before we were officially told – and everything made so much more sense! So I won’t rant about crappy female friendships in this review and in relation to this book. But in general, I do wish we’d see less of this trope in YA!

Finally, I really liked Mr. Buchannan! He totally reminded me of Blu Mankuma as Gort in Halloweentown ll: Kalabar's Revenge. He's so growly bear, but with a giant soft spot! Deep down, he loves his grandson and his intentions are good.

This book was often right on the edge of cute but cheesy. There were plenty of "awwww" moments, but they were equally matched by the cheesy moments. It also took awhile to get used to Hubbard's writing style, so at first, the writing came off as being a bit simplistic. Once I got used to it, though, I enjoyed it! Her writing has this rawness to it that makes the story feel more authentic, more like a teenager is actually telling/showing it.

Sadly, this book's biggest fault was its predictability. I don't know if it's a result of the genre or just my ability to predict how things will turn out, but it was pretty easy to figure out what would happen and how things would be resolved in the end. As I mentioned earlier, in relation to Holly, there were also a lot of resolutions that were entirely too convenient. This goes hand-in-hand with the predictability aspect.

Overall, despite the cheesiness (and I mean that in a cute/fun way) and predictability, I found that I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun, light-hearted romance and the characters, though not totally stand-out, were awesome in their own way and awesome enough that I DID care about them enough to see how their stories ended. Plus, the ending DID make me cry, so, ya know... Predictable, but sweet and epic! So if all that is your kind of thing, then this book is definitely for you!

You can also find more from me on my blog: Pandora's Books
1 review
June 3, 2016

If only she wasn’t pretending to be somebody else. Holly Mathew mom is hired to work in a retirement home. They just move in,which mean Holly neighbors are very old people and very rich. It's not the best place to live, but it is not a total bust either, because gorgeous, and hot hollywood star Malik Buchannan is the grandson of one of the richest man, Charles Buchannan living in the retirement home. When they first met, Malik think Holly is there to visit her super rich family members.which she does not not correct him, she assume that the spark between them will never become something,But Malik fall for her thinking she is Lucy a nice rich girl who is just like him.because she is afraid Malik will not accept the real her,she lie to keep the spark between them.What will happen to Malik when he found out she been lying to him . Everything but the truth is a novel by Mandy Hubbard.
I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who doesn't want to read a long book , and the words are very easy to read and understandable. This novel is really fresh and entertaining. The love chemistry between the two main character is very innocent and very lovely. This novel is very heartwarming and also a very funny and fun romance.I would not recommend this book to people who like to read more, and romance . I would rate this book a 4 out of 5. I just wish the book could have been a little more detail about the story behind Holly and a little more interacting between Holly and her mom would have been nice. The Author purpose of writing this book is to entertain people. She want to wish fulfillment for fans.My favorite chaarcter was Holly Mathew. Holly Mathew character was really believable, she just a normal teen just like us, who plan to finish school, go to college, get a job and living comfortably. She is afraid people will judge her because she is not rich like everyone else, she knitted and make her own cloth, and wear comfortable cloth, she is afraid everyone will judge her. just like everybody, everyone is afraid to be who they at some point because they are ashamed of who they are.
Profile Image for Kate.
813 reviews32 followers
July 21, 2016
When wealthy playboy Malik assumes Holly is another rich relative visiting family in the fancy retirement home her mother manages, she doesn't correct him. Things between them were never going to get serious - they come from different worlds and in just a few months Holly is leaving for college. But when flirting leads to one date and then another, Holly finds it harder and harder to tell Malik the truth. He's been hurt by others who have lied to him to get close. How can Holly come clean and without losing her new relationship?

Everything But the Truth is a fun, cute story about first loves. I loved the characters. Holly has an energy about her and a sweet caring rapport with the residents of the retirement home. Although she gets herself into a complex situation by not being entirely factual, there is a sense that she is an honest and generally good person. She does get caught up in trying to maintain the fairy tale rather than reveal the truth but her situation is believable and understandable. The bond between Holly and her mother was very sweet. There is respect between the two of them and an interesting dynamic.

Holly's relationship with Malik was lovely to read. Their romance felt right and their feelings took time to develop. The conversations between them were lovely to read and the playful banter was a lot of fun. The secondary characters like Holly's best friend and Malik's grandfather added a lot of humour and entertainment whilst at the same time bringing both characters back to reality.

One of the things I like most about the If Only line of books - and in particular Everything But the Truth - is how they deal with growing up. Holly is only months away from college and becoming an adult. This book manages to show how mature she is becoming at the same time as showing how she is still a teenager. I loved the romance and appreciated how this love story was developed.

Everything But the Truth is a sweet and lighthearted read I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good story. It's got romance and fun with great characters and being a clean read (no sex, swearing or violence) is appropriate for a wide audience.
Profile Image for Lisa (lifeinlit).
695 reviews459 followers
December 14, 2015
Everything But the Truth is a companion novel in an adorable series, entitled If Only. I’ve really been enjoying this series, and I was looking forward to reading this one after enjoying Mandy’s first book in the If Only Series, Fool Me Twice, which I read last year.

Everything but the Truth is a rags-to-riches story involving Holly, who lives at a retirement home for the rich because her mother is the home’s manager. Holly and her mother have moved quite a bit, but living in this retirement home has been their most spacious and comfortable living quarters yet. Holly loves helping out the elderly as well, and spends most of her free time with her BFF. While helping out an elderly woman who happened to call Holly “Lucy”, she runs into Malik, the grandson of a very rich (and grumpy!) man. Malik hears this woman speaking to Holly, calling her “Lucy” and assumes she is the woman’s grandmother, there for a quick visit. Holly doesn’t correct him. Thus starts this story of a blooming romance that starts off on a series of lies. What will happen when the lies eventually get revealed? Well, I can’t tell you that, now can I. ;)

Think What a Girl Wants meets Maid in Manhattan and you’ve got yourself a pretty good idea of this story. Though overly predictable and a little silly, this was definitely a fun read and kept me entertained. I liked the characters more and more as the story progressed. The ending was a bit anti-climatic since it was so expected, but it was still super cute and left me with a total “chick flick” feeling. A fun read for a relaxing day.

(Thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy!)

Find this review and others like it at Lost in Literature!


Profile Image for Nicole.
644 reviews4 followers
November 17, 2015
I don't do well with the stress, and a romance based on a deception is a hard thing for me to roll with. That being said, I rather enjoyed this book. The romance is sweet and clean, and the characters are interesting and original. I particularly enjoyed Holiday's furniture moving obsession, and her interest in antiques - it was just quirky enough to be new but it was real enough to be believable. This isn't a really long read, so most of the other characters are surface characters, but they don't feel shallow, so I didn't have any complaints. The plot moved quickly but took the time to savor the romance part of the love story, and the central relationship was well developed and thoughtful. I would honestly let this author plan my next date, because she got the ones in here so right. I also thought it was a pretty cool thing that the book took place in a retirement home. That sounds so strange, but there is such a nice parallel about how people, no matter what stage of life they are in, are always having to adjust to big changes in life, whether it is giving up something you thought you really were essential to or letting relationships evolve with the changes life throws at you. As I said, I'm not a fan of deception dating books, and this one dragged the climax of discovery out a long time, which meant the resolution was a little too rushed, but, overall, I was pretty pleased with this quick and loveable romance. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 7+. I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Natalie D..
15 reviews
August 28, 2019
Everything But The Truth by Mandy Hubbard is mainly centered around Holiday (Holly) Mathews and Malik Buchannan. Their story is mainly set at a fancy and expensive retirement home, known as Sunrise House, where Holly's mom works and where they live and where Malik visits his extremely wealthy grandfather. Holly is known for voluntarily helping the staff and keeping the residents company. Malik is Hollywood-famous and well-known on the internet, but secretly he wishes that people would like him for who he is, not for who they think he is. The main conflict is introduced soon after Holly and Malik first meet.
Overall, I really liked adventuring through Holly and Malik's world and would recommend the book to anyone. Five out of Five!

Profile Image for Lori.
906 reviews599 followers
December 3, 2015
Well, the ending was rather predictable and the characters were a bit annoying at times but the second half was much better than the first and overall it wasn't too bad. Not my favorite but pretty on par for the If Only series. If you're looking for a YA romance that's fast and not too serious and you're okay with the lying parts, you'll probably enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Faithc.
99 reviews27 followers
June 15, 2016
It was too good that it felt too short. Malik is soo damn cute: boyfriend material right there!!!
Profile Image for Caitlyn (delightful.reading).
468 reviews29 followers
May 4, 2017
DNF 55.8% (I might finish at a later date)
I wanted to like this.... I really did. With my reading of the Entangled Crush Publication line, I thought that I would give this a shot. It's premise was interesting. Alex was annoying (I don't know why Holly puts up with her missing arrangements and stuff but whatever.) I did enjoy Malik's relationship with his grandfather. BUT this book was too Camp Rock. What I mean is ordinary girl falls for celebrity bad boy, BUT their mom works for the place they meet. THE HORROR. Thus the girl has to misrepresent themselves but in doing so they fall for the aforementioned bad boy. To be fair, Holly's lie wasn't deliberate. BUT Holly won't TELL Mr. Tall, Dark, & Handsome the truth. She's like "he's been hurt so many times before and I can't do that to him."
THEY ARE DATING. Like if you don't tell him now, it'll be too late. What really made me quit is when HOLLY decides to use ALEX'S house as her own to pose as someone who doesn't LIVE at the NURSING HOME. That did it. I can't deal with Holly's lies anymore.
Profile Image for Shana Weerakoon.
24 reviews
July 7, 2019
Holly is such a fun, likeable character! I really love her relationship with her mum and Henrietta, and her unashamed unique love of design and decor. However the story had the cliche, 2000’s, Wattpad-esque vibe to it. Malik did not seem as swoony and dreamy as he was supposed to be, in my opinion, and honestly it made him seem a bit overrated.
Profile Image for Celeste_pewter.
593 reviews147 followers
December 2, 2015
I've grown extremely fond of the If Only... series in the past two years, so it was with a whole lot of squeeing that I started reading Nothing But the Truth.

Mandy Hubbard introduces us to yet another light-hearted, seemingly impossible romance, and shows how it can work, against all odds.

Things that worked:


I don't say this often about fictional characters, but I actually felt like I was learning from Holly while reading. Mandy Hubbard has done a great job of creating a character that is fully fleshed-out, with interests and a innately kind, likable personality that made me want to befriend her.

While Holly's inadvertent lies to Malik are definitely questionable, Hubbard does a great job of getting inside Holly's head, to show us just why Holly feels like she can't come clean with the truth yet. Life hasn't been solid for Holly up until this point, and at some level, Holly is still struggling - whether she realizes or not - with the idea that things may not last. Consequently, her decision to hide the truth about her identity makes perfect sense, and readers will understand this too.


As Kirkus stated in their own review of Everything but the Truth, Hubbard treads some familiar ground with this tale.

However, it's Hubbard's writing that absolutely helps elevate the story. Her details are rich and entertaining, including the fairy tale-esque dates that Malik plans for the far more practical Holly, and the background about the secondary residents that live in the nursing home. I was especially touched by Hubbard's tacit acknowledgement that just because an individual is wealthy, it doesn't mean that their lives at the nursing home are any easier, and how Holly learns from the residents who are struggling.

The nod to diversity

Hubbard does a nice job of creating an interracial relationship, without making it into a big deal. It's reflected nicely in the book.

It's a small thing, but it hasn't been that long since the debate on whitewashing in YA, so I absolutely appreciate this step forward.

The relationships angle

While the romance between Malik and Holly was very much a fairytale, it's Holly relationships with her friends and mother that I appreciated the most.

Hubbard builds a convincing and beautiful tapestry of the important relationships in Holly's life, and how each of these relationships have contributed to who she is today. Consequently, when Holly fears the loss of a friendship, Hubbard uses it as a great tool for showing Holly's burgeoning growth and maturity, and the evolution of that friendship.

And finally...

The ending

While I had some slight issues with the romance aspect of the ending, I did appreciate Hubbard's overall approach to wrapping up the story. Holly handles the ups and downs of her relationships maturely, and learns how to adjust and let go as needed.

Her pragmatic approach to life, and Hubbard's subtle nudge toward the idea that Holly needs to focus on herself first and foremost, is a nice change from a stereotypical fluffy romance, and a great reminder to readers that it's their own futures that are important.


Things that didn't work/Things to consider:

*minor spoilers ahead*

I'm probably overthinking it, but I did feel that Hubbard's resolution for Holly and Malik was a little too abrupt.

While it's all good and well that the book ended with the requisite happy ending, I do think that Hubbard could have elaborated more on how Holly and Malik will work out their issues in the future. The pair have to become reacquainted to some degree - thanks to how their relationship initially developed - and I would have loved for Hubbard to elaborate on how they could be healthy and move forward.


Final verdict:

Everything But the Truth is a cute look at how one girl starts a relationship based on misconceptions, and grows to learn that she doesn't need to hide her background to stand out from the crowd.

While the story is one that has been seen in YA before, Mandy Hubbard's nuanced characterizations for Holly, makes her a likable character that readers will want to root for. Holly's struggles to tell Malik the truth, along with the moments where she lets her genuine personality and interests shine through, makes this a fun tale that will keep readers reading and engaged.

Strongly recommend to readers who are looking for fun, charming tale.
Profile Image for Yolanda Sfetsos.
Author 69 books179 followers
January 22, 2016
The If Only books are YA contemporary (clean) romance stories that remind me a lot of some of the books I used to read when I was a teenager. So I always love receiving a new one--Thanks Bloomsbury!--and giving them a go. I take each one as it comes because some haven't worked for me. But when they do, I adore them.

This one falls in the Totally Worked For Me category. ;)

Holiday Mathews and her mother have recently moved into a very posh retirement home in Seattle called Sunrise House. This is where the wealthy go to retire, and she just happens to live there too. Her mother is the new leasing manager and while she goes about doing her business and proving her worth, Holly visits with some of the residents and does odd jobs for them. It's a great gig because not only does she actually enjoy talking to them, but at the same time she's making tips on the side to put away for college.

After the summer is over, she'll be going off to Washington State University so every bit of money she can put away helps. The day she crosses paths with the gorgeous Malik Buchannan, she can't believe her luck. Meeting a guy her age is almost impossible at Sunrise House. And when she runs into him again and he mistakenly assumes she's there to visit her wealthy grandmother, she doesn't correct him. Lying by omission doesn't seem too bad since she's going off to college anyway, but when the super hot rich guy she assumed was just a playboy turns out to be someone with real depth, she knows she's headed for trouble.

Yet, the deeper she gets, the less chance there is of her revealing who she really is without ruining the relationship they're quickly developing...

This turned out to be such a fun and super fast read. I seriously raced through it in under twenty-four hours because I loved Holly's--or is that Lucy's ;)--voice. Her interest in antiques was awesome, and I love how it fit into the story. I was also very caught up in Holly and Malik's ordeal. They're a great couple who might come from opposite financial backgrounds but are so much alike.

I loved the way their story developed, but have to admit that I kept waiting for everything to fall apart as soon as the truth was revealed! So the tension level got pretty high, especially during some of the hijinks and close calls.

Everything But the Truth is a wonderful story with a lot of depth. Sure, it's a romance at heart but there's so much more to this story. It explores a very close relationship between a mother and daughter who get along so well she can open up about anything. It's also about the strong friendship between two best friends who are soon going off to different colleges and feel like they might be losing touch with each other. And ultimately, it's about a very intelligent and nice girl who is willing to go above and beyond to help the elderly residents.

I enjoyed this book SO much! Can't wait to check out more. :)
Profile Image for Ashley Urquhart.
705 reviews39 followers
April 2, 2017
This book was really surprising because I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. It’s not perfect, by any means, but I was expecting the book and overall story line to be much more shallow than it actually was.

Let’s start off with the fact that I LOVE that it’s set in Seattle–my hometown. I loved reading about Alki Beach, Lake Washington, Gas Works Park, and Pike Place Market. Since I’m so familiar with the area, it was really easy to place the characters in the setting. The author is from the Seattle area herself so everything is pretty accurate, but I did have a couple of minor issues–I know I’m splitting hairs here, but I can’t help it! First, WSU. Sorry, but my blood runs purple and gold (both my parents graduated from UW and both of my siblings were also students). So the fact that our main character was going there? Not a fan. Second, (and this is so minor, I know) at the end of the book Holly mentions how she’s been at school for a couple of weeks and her friend Alex (who’s going to UW) is going to call to update her on her classes. Sorry, but the timing doesn’t work out there. WSU has semesters and starts classes at the beginning of September or the end of August. Meanwhile, UW has quarters and doesn’t start classes until the end of September (or beginning of October even). So…Alex wouldn’t be in classes yet. This book was just so close to being accurate! I was just disappointed.

Anyway, I know no one else cares about that kind of thing except for me so let’s get onto the book. As a reader, I experienced the typical agony that comes when two characters just won’t communicate with each other. Half of the book I was screaming at Holly, “JUST TELL HIM!!!” If she did, though, there would be less drama and tension, so I get it. Malik seemed like a good guy, but he was maybe a little too reformed? He had a troubled past and I find it hard to believe that there wasn’t any of that left in him. Lastly, the secondary characters were pretty great. I liked the senior citizens that were in the book (Charles and Henrietta) because I felt like it added a depth to the cast that a lot of books don’t have.

Overall, I was definitely surprised this book! It reminded me of home which was nice and the characters were all pretty believable. Even though I wouldn’t say this book had that much depth to it, I still had fun reading a clean and pleasantly predictable YA romance.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: None
Violence: None
Sexual Content: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Mention of drunk driving.

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Faith Limo.
131 reviews7 followers
January 26, 2016
This book is certainly a light and fluffy romantic story that you can easily engulf in one sitting. It's your typical clean teen romance novel since the characters - especially the protagonist Holly - seem a bit immature for a bunch of 18-19 yr olds. They blow up the tiniest things and overthink every small complication. Despite this, this book is easily amusing and entertaining.

Even though Holly has graduated high school, she acts a lot like a pre-teen. One might argue that if I was her and going through a first love, I would be acting the same. Well, I beg to differ. Firstly the situation she was in - Malik thinking she was someone else - could've been solved as soon as that old woman (Henrietta) was gone. It wasn't a big deal. Holly was a very insecure character. Despite all the nice words, Malik was saying about being attracted to her because she seemed down to earth and simply not obnoxious, Holly doesn't take the HUGE fact that he likes her because of her. It had nothing to do with wealth. In fact, he liked her because she seemed untainted by wealth.


One thing that was understandable about Holly though were her insecurities about her best friend, Alex and her relationship with Rena. It was relatable the way Holly was scared that Alex was replacing her with Rena but then again, I also had my suspicions that there was something more to it. AND I WAS RIGHT!!! I'm trying not give the details away so not to spoil anything.


The plot has a very simple boy like girl, girl like boys story line with that main complication - that Malik doesn't know who Holly actually is. It's a super short read with very simple pacing. There's a satisfactory happy ending so you'll be finishing the book feeling joyful that everything is solved, including the friendship problem.

This book is a three stars mainly because of Holly's immaturity and the very simple complication that could've been easily solved. But this book is definitely enjoyable and would be perfect for anyone who needs something light.


Profile Image for Rachel (The Rest Is Still Unwritten).
1,601 reviews202 followers
February 24, 2016
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Find this review and more on my blog The Rest Is Still Unwritten!

Everything But The Truth is another wildly enjoyable instalment in the If Only series written by Mandy Hubbard and entrancing readers with yet again an endearingly sweet and enjoyable contemporary romance!

Holly Matthew’s mother is the new manager at a glitzy retirement home called Sunset Towers that caters to the super-rich with decadent taste and lots of money. Holly herself doesn’t mind the sweet retirees she sees every day—a perk that comes from having the nice little apartment she shares with her mum nestled in the middle of the estate—and enjoys interacting with them. Yet when Malik Buchannan, the impossibly gorgeous grandson of Sunset Towers latest resident mistakes her for the granddaughter of one of the residents and not the staff, Holly finds herself struggling to tell Malik the truth—especially as they spend more time together and Holly begins to realise that Malik isn’t the notorious party boy portrayed in the media…..

Mandy Hubbard is back with a second novel in the If Only series, having previously kicked off the series with Fool Me Twice. As with Fool Me Twice, Mandy’s writing is solid and fun and she introduces readers to a very likable main character in the form of Holly.

Everything But The Truth was a really fun book to read. It was easy and flowing and I found Holly and Malik’s romance endearing. This is the first novel I’ve ever read that centres on a retirement home in any way, but I really liked the atmosphere that Hubbard conveyed. I found that the couple of Sunset Towers residents we met were cute and I really enjoyed the way Holly appreciated them and helped out.

Holly had a unique personality and I must commend Hubbard for making an effort to make Holly different. She’s the only teenager I’ve read about who has such a love for antiques and who knows so much about art. Holly made me smile with her endearing ways.

The perfect way to spend an afternoon, Everything But The Truth is a quick and easy read and is guaranteed to make you smile. Definitely worth a read!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Emma.
Author 2 books74 followers
November 9, 2015
Grade: B
An e-galley was provided by Bloomsbury USA Childrens via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: So after feeling let down by the last few If Only... titles, Everything But the Truth was a pleasant surprise. It's a short book with a simple plot - mainly focused on the romance - but I liked it. Holly's mother is a single parent, but they have a fairly good relationship and there's little tension there. The sub-plot definitely revolved around Holly and her best friend, Alex. Holly feels her best friend is slowly dumping her for another girl, Rena, and she often feels left out and hurt - a feeling a lot of us know all too well. That sub-plot took a wonderful twist and while at the end, I was still questioning some of the actions a bit, I really liked it.
As for the romance, I liked how we slowly got to know Holly and Malik a little better. They're both fully-formed characters. Holly is a bit girly but not overtly so. She likes antiques and interior decorating, and she has plans to attend Washington State University in the fall. Malik is set to run his grandfather's business - but he doesn't really want to. I was worried that part would be totally cliche, but it's not. He loves to read, and after a party boy past, he's actually realized the good he can do in this world and he's working toward ways he can do that and still take over his grandfather's company like expected.
The main conflict is that Malik thinks Holly is the granddaughter of one of the rich residents of the retirement home. She perpetuates this lie because she's worried at first that Malik is shallow and won't like her if she isn't rich. Then, when she realizes that isn't true, she's afraid to tell him because he doesn't like it when people use him for his wealth and fame - which she isn't at all. But she knows he'll break up with her for telling a lie. Their relationship isn't really built on a lie; he knows a lot about Holly's true self. I think this plot resolved pretty nicely.

The Verdict: The book, overall, was fairly fluffy and I never fully shipped the romance, which would be required for this to become a 5-star read for me. But I'm happy to give it 4 stars.
Profile Image for Tiffany (About to Read).
422 reviews416 followers
December 10, 2015
This review was originally posted on About to Read. For Fairytale fashions, reads, and more visit abouttoread.com


Everything But the Truth was everything I want in a YA contemporary romance: very cute, angst-free, and pretty low on the drama. Sure, lying to the person you’re dating about your name, family, house, and background is a pretty big (and dramatic) deal. The characters themselves didn’t make anything more dramatic than it had to be though, and that was really refreshing after reading Undeniable by  Liz Bankes.

Our main character, Holiday, is in a really odd situation since she can’t be honest about her life. I understood how she found herself there and how it just gradually spun out of control. I don’t agree with her actions, and think she should have just been honest, but I do understand how it got to the point it did. Plus it made for an interesting story, and that’s really the point isn’t it. :)

I actually really liked Holiday—she’s ambitious and hardworking. I also loved that she was so proud of her mother. It’s a bit “Gilmore Girls”-esque in the sense that her mom struggled to make ends meet for a long time and is finally stable and earning enough income for them to have a better life. Holiday respects her mom for working so hard to make their situation better, and also works really hard to get into a good college and pay for it.

The romance was really well-done. It happened nice and slowly—no insta-love. It felt like a realistic post-high school relationship without a ton of tears and drama. They were cute together and that’s all I was really looking for!

If you want a light, fun, and cute read with a realistic romance Everything But the Truth is a great pick. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading more from Mandy Hubbard.
Profile Image for Cathy.
604 reviews12 followers
November 9, 2015
This book was a quick and easy fun read that kept a smile on your face. It was a very clean book which is not something you see much with young adult books nowadays and it was refreshing. Mandy Hubbard did a great job with these characters and her story. Loved every minute of it.

The books in this series can definitely be read alone but it’s still good to see a group of authors working together to make a series along the same theme. In this installment we meet Holly who isn’t as well off as the residents in the retirement home her mother works and lives at. But she’s genuine and real, especially when she meets Malik Buchanan. But then again not that genuine as he’s under the impression she’s really someone else, mistakenly of course.

But you know what happens. Sometimes it’s easier to keep the lie going then telling the truth, and then sometimes it’s too late to tell the truth so you don’t tell the truth for fear of hurting ones feelings. It’s a very tangled web she has woven and one that she can’t seem to get out, until she’s pushed out. It’s hard thing to do but I have to say if you are ever in a situation like this make sure you are honest from the very beginning, relieves a lot of stress.

It was nice to see how these two meet and grow to admire one another and push each other in the right directions. Sweet really the amount of encouragement that Holly gives Malik throughout the book to help find himself. The relationships with the parents, friends and family members are also very thoughtful. It’s hard being in a retirement home but it’s great when young people show involvement in their lives to help ease their transition from complete independence to having to live in a home.

This book overall was sweet and I would recommend to everyone. I would be very interested to read other books in the series.
Profile Image for John Clark.
2,256 reviews25 followers
November 19, 2015
Holly's life has been on the low end of the financial scale until her mom's latest job. Dad bailed early on, they struggled and she knew what pinching pennies meant in a way that most other kids her age never understood. It took several years, but now Mom has a degree and is near the end of her probation at a dream job, managing a very high class retirement home on an island in Washington State. Holly, short for Holiday, likes art, creativity and helping out the nicer residents. She saves the tips they give her for college.
When she meets Malik while on the floor trying to move a very large couch, she's floored by how hot he is. She's even more flabbergasted when she meets him again on the top floor and discovers his grandfather is the unhappy occupant of the ultra-fancy suite Mom has been trying to rent for months. When she's called Lucy by Henrietta, her favorite resident who lives down the hall because she looks like the woman's deceased granddaughter, Malik assumes that's her name. Afraid that he'll lose interest if he knows the truth, Holly goes along with the lie.
Unfortunately for her, the two hit it off and start spending a lot of time together. As Holly discovers the real Malik, a guy uncomfortable with his wealth and fame and starts helping him figure out how to achieve his dreams, she finds it harder and harder to tell him the truth. How that evolves, what she learns about her own dreams, as well as how she deals with the belief that she's lost her best friend Alex, make for a fast, fun, read. The characters are appealing, the gyrations Holly has to go through to keep the ball of lies spinning are funny and it has a feel-good ending. I've read several books in the series and have liked them all.
Profile Image for Rachel Geiger.
139 reviews133 followers
December 4, 2015
This is actually the first book in the If Only series that I've read. The series centers around the theme of wanting what you can't have. I've heard of several of the previous books, but just haven't gotten around to reading them yet. From what I can tell after reading this one, I'd say that this is a cute series for those that just want a light and fun YA romance book to read.

Holly is college bound and spending the summer living/working at the fancy retirement home her mother recently became the manager of. Malik is the rich grandson of one of the guests, and he is known in the media for being a charming (and sometimes reckless) playboy. When Malik mistakes Holly for being the granddaughter of one of the guests and having a different name entirely, she doesn't correct him. At first, she thinks it's just going to be a fling, but then she gets in way too deep to ever tell him the truth.

Parts of this did feel a bit too Camp Rockish for me. I also couldn't make much sense of why she'd lie about it in the first place. Also the ending didn't feel realistic to me either.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but there were also several things about the book that I really enjoyed. I felt like Malik was incredibly charming and likable. He was also surprisingly kind and charitable. He wanted to make a difference in the world and I found that so charming and sweet.

It's not a perfect book but I still recommend it if you're looking for something easy to read and light. Trust me, you'll fly right through this book. I really enjoyed Mandy Hubbard's writing and I'm looking forward to checking out the other books/authors in this series.
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