I've previously reviewed two other novels
by Janet Gurtler,
How I Lost You
Janet has also stopped by ABS during Girls in Sports week with an awesome guest post,
"Playing Like a Girl!"
Sometimes, you meet a character and you just want to smack him or her upside the head. Especially when the character goes through little character growth throughout the novel. When a character grows and blossoms and becomes lovable, however, you want to embrace those character flaws and really root for him or her. Luckily, in THE TRUTH ABOUT US by Janet Gurtler, Jess falls into the second camp and becomes very personable as the novel progresses despite her flawed introduction.
Jess is privileged, and she knows it. She's always been a good girl, but with her new friends, she's more reckless and doing things she never would have before. After getting caught by a friend's mother, Jess is GROUNDED. Not just grounded, but she now has to spend her entire summer helping out at a local soup kitchen. What starts off as a mundane and boring summer quickly becomes a summer that Jess will never forget. She meets people at the soup kitchen that enhance and change her life for the better, and even falls in love despite the odds set against a rich girl and a poor boy.
I really like the way Janet Gurtler developed Jess and forced her to see the world through new eyes. It felt very real and down-to-earth. Jess began to change even as the world she came from remained the same. She started to figure out who she was and what she wanted in life. There's a strong emotional core running through the novel, which delves into the relationships we make in life. Not just romantic attachments, but attachments with bosses and friends and the elderly. Expectations are turned upside down and blossom into something new. There is, of course, romance, too. Flynn is from the wrong side of the tracks and frowned upon by Jess' friends and family, but there is so much depth to him that it's hard to stay away. She knows he's down on his luck, that if circumstance was different, Flynn and his family wouldn't be where they are today. The way Gurtler resolves everyone's issues is unexpected, but it works, and reminds me of why I like her novels so much!
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