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What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 4-and-5-stars, worth-re-reading

Heaven by the water.
Best kept little secret in New England.
Tiny hidden jewel cradled by the rocky Connecticut coast.
Seashell Island, where I've lived all my life, is called all those things and more.
And all I want to do is leave it behind.

This is a story of anger.
Screw them before they screw you.

There's the islanders and then there's the summer people. The island is Gwen's and the islanders most of the year. They live on it, eat from it's sea, and swim in it's waters. But during the summer they become the background music to the wealthy, cleaning their homes, serving their food, and watching as they sail on their waters in luxury boats.

Enter Gwen our heroine in the crux of her self discovery. She feels discarded and abused by the classist system. The island that's been hers most of the year, turns against her, relegating her to the Maria's and the José's of the island, as one tourist charmingly puts it. She can't wait to escape, and leave it all behind. Ah, if only it was that simple for YA protagonists. Alas, no heroine is complete without her prerequisite, betrayal, love complications, and various other problems.

That betrayal comes in the form of Cass, a wealthy local who is not quite an islander and not quite a tourist. He lives on the other side of the bridge, where the rich of the island live.

This is a story of love.

There is an uncertain to-and-fro between Gwen and Cass throughout the book, each held back by their own misunderstandings of the previous spring. Each is hurt and both fail to fully communicate their hurt to the other. Admittedly, this was frustrating for me to read, but the frustration was intended by the author. And that's what is captivating about Huntley Fitzpatrick's writing. How she can tug and pull at my heart strings until I'm feeling exactly what she wants me to feel.

While Cass and Gwen are our main two characters, the story is not just about them. There are supporting actors and actresses with their own story lines and struggles which are very much separate from the protagonists. And how refreshing it is to see this in YA, instead of a mindless focus on the protagonist. There is Gwen's little brother Emory who is 'not quite autistic. He's not anything they've mapped genetically.' Instead he is 'just Emory' a charming voice of innocence. Then there is her tough-love relationship with her father, who wants the best for her, although he goes about it in a highly questionable way. There is her mother, the epitome of the working-class, cleaning the summer houses for those who disregard her. Then there is eccentric Grandpa Ben with his lobsters and nugget of wisdom:

Deixe que as histórias de outras pessoas sejam contadas por elas.
Other people's stories are their own to tell.

This is a story of truth.

And so Gwen waits, and so does Cass, for each to tell their story of what happened the previous spring.

The book is ripe with hormones and tension. The sexually charged air was mixed in with electrically charged thunderstorms. The turmoil of Gwen as she comes to terms with her sexual identity is coupled with the crashing waves. The cloying heat of her bedroom stands with her heated thoughts. Huntley Fitzpatrick is a master of psychological setting.

Cass lifts the bottom of his t-shirt, squeezing water out of the hem, then pulls it entirely off. Sort of like detonating a weapon in the tiny, warm, confined space.

You know those summer books which so perfectly capture the season that you forget that you yourself are in the zenith of winter? Huntley Fitzpatrick compresses the thrill, the freedom and the recklessness of summer into something you can hold in your hands.

She so perfectly slots in little reminders of summer for the reader. Little sentences we carelessly read over and relegate to the back of our minds as unimportant. But our subconscious is hungrily absorbing, cataloging and fitting together all these little details that resonate with us.

I roll over trying to find a cool spot in my bed.

I'm itchy and jangly, so tired of watching the numbers on the clock shift.

This is one of those books, that by the end of it, despite it's bumps and flaws, you can't help but look back on fondly. The overall feeling this book gives you is palpable. It leaves behind the sticky heat of summer, the whoosh of the ceiling fan, and the sweetness of melted ice-cream on your fingers.


Slow, and simmering pacing, this one is definitely worth a read. Or two. Huntely Fitzpatrick, you are officially one of my favourite YA authors.

_________________________________
PRE-REVIEW 1/11/2012

I can't wait for this book! BUT IT'S TOO FAR AWAY!
Fitzpatrick's 'My Life Next Door' had to be one of my favourite books of 2012.

Basically me after finding out about this book:
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But then I saw the publication date:
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So now I'm just sitting here like HURRY UP 2014: (we're finally in 2014, I REPEAT WE'RE FINALLY IN 2014!)
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Reading Progress

November 1, 2012 – Shelved
April 25, 2014 – Started Reading
April 25, 2014 –
5.0% "FINALLY."
April 26, 2014 –
60.0%
May 2, 2014 – Shelved as: 4-and-5-stars
May 2, 2014 – Shelved as: worth-re-reading
May 2, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by Libbie (new)

Libbie I didn't know it was even being planned until I saw this on my update feed. I squealed and scared the dog.

Then *I* saw the publication date...and I'm pretty much just like those gifs.


message 2: by Iqra (new) - added it

Iqra Asif I just assumed that this book was already released. Big mistake. Then i went down and read your comment, and i'm so devastated. And i loved "My Life Next Door", it was so beautiful.


Emily Blake I'm sorry if this is creepy but I literally just almost had a heart attack because you used a Jeremy Renner gif. I freaking love him. Okay creepy comment over


Mara Emily: fangirling over Jeremy Renner is always acceptable :)


Emily Blake Haha ok. I just got so excited that someone else likes Jeremy Renner lol


Kate McMurry Mara, what a wonderful review! You perfectly capture the spirit of the book.


Mara Kate wrote: "Mara, what a wonderful review! You perfectly capture the spirit of the book."

Thank you so much Kate! You're too kind.


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