I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on 4/7/2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
Also by this author: 16 Things I Thought Were True
Flynn’s from the wrong side of the tracks, but he may be just right for Jess…
The truth is that Jess knows she’s screwed up. She’s made mistakes, even betrayed her best friend, and now she’s paying for it. Her dad is making her spend the whole summer volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
The truth is that she wishes she was the carefree party girl everyone thinks she is. She pretends it’s all fine. That her “perfect” family is fine. But it’s not. And no one notices the lie…until she meets Flynn. He’s the only one who really sees her. The only one who really listens.
The truth is that Jess is falling apart, and no one seems to care. But Flynn is the definition of “the wrong side of the tracks.” When Jess’s parents look at him, they only see their differences, not how much she and Flynn need each other. They don’t get that the person who shouldn’t fit into your world might just be the one who makes you feel like you belong.
This is the second Janet Gurtler book I’ve read, and I was not disappointed.
I love the growth of the characters throughout the book. Jess begins as an unlikeable spoiled brat, but working at a soup kitchen definitely changes her perspective, and allows her to do something more than act out to hide her own frustration. She is such a sweetheart to the people that use the services of the soup kitchen, and makes some friends that show her just how nice she is. She has family drama she’s dealing with but can’t talk about, and she makes ridiculous choices because of it. I really like Flynn. He’s real, and will tell it how it is. He’s got his own hangups about the differences between him and Jess, and it frustrates the hell out of her.
Like I said before the character growth is my favorite thing. Also the relationships between friends and family are a big concept in this book. How can you fix what is broken, and still be okay in the end? Each character deals with the circumstances in the book differently. Some are empowering, and others are not so great. I love the friendship Jess forms with Wilf. It’s sweet and had me laughing at their interactions. He also tells her when she’s acting an ass, and I think she looks up to him for that.
By the end of this book I was a tear-streaked mess. So many awesome things in this book, and I can’t wait to see what Gurtler brings us in the future.
The greenhouse is sort of shaped like an old barn. It’s opaque with plastic and steel siding. The door is open, and I follow Wilf inside and pause and then breathe it in. The smell nourishes me. Moist air fills my lungs. I’ve forgotten how much the scents of greenery soothe me. It reminds me of different times. Simpler times.
“Nice,” I tell him, looking around at rows of plants on tabletops and plants stacked on the floor. I realize I’ve missed the satisfaction of nurturing plants.
There’s a man on a ladder in the middle of the greenhouse, fixing a shelf, with his back to us. A little boy stands at the bottom of the ladder, watching. Wilf walks over and pats his head and kneels down to his level. “How are ya, big guy?”
The little boy stands taller and giggles and holds out his hand. He’s got it wrapped tightly around a plastic blue train.
The man on the ladder turns and looks down at me. My heart stops.
It’s not a man at all. It’s him.
y face burns.
“What are you doing here?” he asks.
Wilf frowns and then looks at me. “What’s up with you kids these days? In my time, we treated nice–looking young ladies with respect,” he says to Flynn gruffly. “Flynn, this is Jess. She volunteers here.”
I say a silent thank–you to him for calling me nice–looking and glance back at Flynn.
“Since when?” he asks.
“Since now. How about, ‘hello, nice to meet you’?” Wilf says to prompt both of us. “Is that so hard?”
“We’ve already met,” Flynn says.
My cheeks stay on fire as he climbs down the ladder.
“The shelf is fixed,” he says to Wilf. “Slumming?” he adds to me as he jumps to the floor. He folds up the ladder and then leans it against a counter lined with plants.
The little boy stares back and forth.
I try to think of something light and witty to save the moment, but my mind is blank. Instead, I panic. “What’d you do to get stuck working at this place?” I say, channeling my inner Nance.
“What’d I do?” He stares at me and then his lips turn up. “I didn’t have the right daddy, I guess. I’m here to have lunch. With my little brother. I’m not a volunteer.”
My stomach drops. Fail. Epic fail.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: