Book Review: #16ThingsIThoughtWereTrue

17586459Title/Author: #16ThingsIThoughtWereTrue by Janet Gurtler

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Published: March 4th, 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire

Paperback, 283 pages

How I Got This Book: Checked it out from the library

Why I Picked It Up?: The title. It has a hash tag! The idea of a hash-tag centered story REALLY excited me!

Book Jacket Blurb: “Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue

When Morgan’s mom gets sick, it’s hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn’t as far away as she thought…

Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue

Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan’s getting to know the real Adam, and he’s actually pretty sweet…in a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?

5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue

With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She’s not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend…and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can’t imagine living without.”

Thoughts:

When I initially heard of this, I really cannot tell you just how excited I was to see a title with a hashtag! With the rise of social media over the last couple of years, I was really excited to see a book that centered around Twitter! And while this story started out with a bang, it took a couple of quick turns and ended up as a bust. 😦

Morgan is a girl who has a hard time being social in real life. She would much rather be social with her internet followers than with real people. But when her mother gets sick, it is a real person–Adam, her attractive but jerkish boss–who is there to drive her to the hospital. And when her mother drops a truth bomb on her about her father, she decides to take things into her own hands and find him. And that sends her on a road trip that helps her discover more than just the truth about her father–she learns how to open up to others, how to make friends in real life, and how to deal with hardships.

I feel that Morgan’s character accurately captures many teenager’s feelings toward the real world, especially with SO MANY facets of social media. As a teenager (and heck, even as a 25 year old), sometimes it is just easier to communicate and be honest with people online as opposed to face to face. Morgan feels the stress of her family life, and she uses the internet as a way to cope and deal and get feedback and encouragement that she feels that she cannot find among her peers. But then she “meets” a couple of friends at work who open up to her and, in turn, encourage her to open up to them. And the transformation Morgan goes through from the beginning of this novel to the end is really relatable to readers.

Where did this story go wrong? I’ll be honestly, I was really enjoying it for the first 200 pages. But then, within a 30 page span, Gurtler dumped SO. MANY. TROPES. Like, ALL OF THEM! And most of them came completely out of nowhere, and it was ridiculous! This story had such great development, especially with Morgan searching for her father. But all of the “extra” turns in the story that were added just to keep up with YA greats like TFIOS were completely unnecessary and ruined the flow of the story and the development of the characters. Honestly, it was a cheap move that just left a really bad taste in my mouth. And that is unfortunate, because I really was enjoying it. This novel is a great example of how trying to follow trends doesn’t always work out.

While I personally did not appreciate the turns this story took and was overall disappointed with this novel, I can put on my “librarian hat” and see the good in a story like this on a reader’s advisory level. I can see why this would be a great novel to recommend to teens–there is a lot of heart in each of these characters, and there are a lot of trials that Morgan goes through that allows her to build inner strength. And I think that many teenagers really would connect with this novel on a personal level, especially if they have ever dealt with a sick or a single parent. Even though I personally ended up not enjoying it as much as I had hoped I would, I can still see the merit in this story and will keep it in my arsenal of recommended reading for teens.

My Bookshelf Rating:

2shelfA Second Shelf Book.

I was really enjoying this book. I really liked the social media aspects, as that is a major part of teenage life now. But as the story developed it was just a hodgepodge of HUGE things thrown into the story at the last minute that just left me feeling disappointed. This book had so much potential but.. yeah.  That being said, I could see many teens relating to many things in this story, so it will still go in my reader’s advisory arsenal.

Love and Scented Candles,
Jennifer

 

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