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The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler Book Review

The Truth About Us
A powerful and gripping contemporary YA from the author of I'm Not Her that's "Just right for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult."-Booklist

The truth is that Jess knows she screwed up.
She's made mistakes, 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 she wishes she was the care-free 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 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 the differences-not how much they need each other. They don't get that the person who shouldn't fit in your world... might just be the one to make you feel like you belong. 
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I’ve read one Janet Gurtler novel before and having really enjoyed it, I was excited to read this one. The Truth About Us turned out to be a great contemporary, with realistic messages that strongly resonated with me.

The Truth About Us begins with Jess, a girl who keeps messing up, being forced to work at a soup kitchen after her latest stunt. Once there, she comes in constant contact with Flynn- a guy who's led a very different life than Jess has. I really enjoyed reading about Flynn and Jess’ relationship. I loved how Flynn’s initial prejudice against Jess turned to him realizing that maybe things and people weren't as they first seemed. Janet Gurtler did such a great job both depicting that and the two sides there can be to prejudice. I really enjoyed reading about how Flynn and Jess overcame it.

Both Jess’s realization that she messed up and her family situation made it easier to sympathize with her. The way friendships, especially with Jess and one of her friends, were depicted showed the reality of and truth about certain friendships. Her interactions with Wilf, a hilarious old man (and one of my favorite characters), made her so much more likable. The way Wilf coached Jess and treated her almost like a granddaughter was so sweet. Jess also has interactions with Flynn’s younger brother, who’s adorable, and those revealed a lot about her true character. The dynamics of all of the characters were what made this novel so enjoyable for me.

The parents of Jess try to do right, but don’t always succeed. Neither parent was made out to be the villain, something that occasionally happens in young adult novels, and the way Jess and her relationship with her parents was depicted was so well done. The only thing that took away from the story is that a few parts of the novel were a bit dry.

Overall, I’d give The Truth About Us 3.5 out of 5 flowers. It’s a truly enjoyable story that shines through with realism in every aspect. 

Janet Gurtler
RITA Award finalist Janet Gurtler’s young adult books have been chosen for the Junior Library Guild Selection and as Best Books For Teens from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. She has had her writing compared to Judy Blume and Jodi Picoult and that makes her happy. She has volunteered at a few soup kitchens and hopes to do more. Giving back is so important. Janet lives in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, with her husband, son, and a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce.

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  1. This one sounds really interesting, I'm excited to give it a try!

    Great review :)

  2. Glad you enjoyed this. Janet really is a great author and I love that all her stories have that very real feel to them.

  3. I thought this was a cute fluffy romance when I first read it, a bit cliche but I enjoyed it though - lovely review x Benish| Feminist Reflections

  4. good to see you ejoyed the read.i haven't read any of her books yetl i should really gie her a try.seems like a cute but strong read.

  5. this one was... alright?

    i didn't like the guy in it because of a mistake he made at the end and didn't fix it. the main character seemed a little shallow but developed over the course of the book so yes, i think i did enjoy her personality overall (:

    awesome review <3


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