Published by Dial Books for Young Readers on 15 April 2014
Source: Purchased e-book
From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.
Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.
A magnetic, push-me-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.
Thoughts: I was nervous about What I Thought Was True because I loved Fitzpatrick’s first novel, My Life Next Door, so much that I was worried it would ruin all her other books for me. It didn’t. What I Thought Was True delivered the romance and the family drama, and in some ways I liked it even better than Fitzpatrick’s first book.
Gwen is the kind of character we need more of in YA. She’s had sex and we see how that changes the way others, including her family, think about her. But Gwen is one of those girls who has an easier time being physically intimate than emotionally intimate. Girl’s like that exist and it’s okay. I loved that this novel showed that those choices did not affect her worth as a person or change the fact that she is worthy of love and respect. While the attitudes of the people in her life were realistic, I loved the overall message her story delivers. We need more stories like this.
I also loved how Gwen looked at all the adults around her. She wondered how they got stuck on the island and if she would ever really be able to lead a different kind of life. Gwen’s dad has Issues (that capital I is intentional), and that affected Gwen. View Spoiler » For most of the story, I thought we were going to get a big reveal about how he had blown her college fund. « Hide Spoiler I want to know what happens in the lives of the adults as much as I want to know what happens in the lives of the teenage main characters. While Gwen’s story feels complete, the story of the island does not. I have my fingers crossed for a companion novel. Preferably about Nic, Gwen’s cousin.
Favorite Moment: Gwen’s surprise at the end–I loved how the book played with gender expectations in a relationship and this was a perfect example.
WTF Moment: When we find out what happened to make Cas Gwen’s biggest mistake ever. WTF, Spence?
Overall: Another winner from Fitzpatrick. This book made me cry, but ultimately left my heart happy.