In case you haven’t notice, I read A LOT of contemporary YA. In fact, it is my go-to genre to read in between all the heavier literary novels. Anyway, Janet Gurtler has recently become one of my favourite YA contemporary authours, I just love how she writes family relationships, friendships and romance. Also, I adored her previous book, #16thingsithoughtweretrue and I knew I would also enjoy her latest, The Truth about Us.
The Truth about Us is about a girl named Jess, who from a family that is quite well off. Jess has a tendency to do stupid, reckless things due to stress at home as a result of an incident that left her mother dramatically changed while affecting the rest of her family. Feeling alone, she decides the best way to deal with the stress is to act out. Unfortunately, one day her father decides he’s had enough and he “punishes” her by making her volunteer at the local soup kitchen for her entire summer. It’s there that she becomes more acquainted with Flynn, a guy who she met earlier. However, this book consists of more than just romance between two teenagers, since Jess also befriends various other characters in the soup kitchen including Flynn’s lovable younger brother Kyle and an elderly man who may not be as grouchy as he initially appears. Speaking of which, I loved the friendship between Wilf and Jesse for the reason that they are just straight with each other and neither one backs down.
In addition, I liked Jess as a protagonist on her alone for the reason that even though she was impulsive and selfish, she still had a soft spot. In this case Jess had a soft spot for kids similar to Kyle and her neighbour, and witnessing that sweet side of her was incredibly heartwarming. I also thought it was interesting how the authour address the issue of poverty in this book. Flynn and Jess are from different neighbourhoods which represent two different social classes, and I was surprised that it caused a bit of conflict in this book. Perhaps it’s for the reason that I’ve been fortunate not to be a victim or witness of such discrimination that it surprises me when I find that even today there are people who judge others based on how much money they believe you or your family has.
The Truth about Us does an excellent job at illustrating that there is always more to a person than what you get at first glimpse. Thus while this book shares numerous similarities with Gurtler’s last book, it also stands on its own as a unique and good read. Not to mention, that I probably like it just a bit more than #16thingsithoughtweretrue.
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.