Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Series of Unfortunate Events

"Or maybe I stop because I finally get that sometimes we hold on to something--a person, a resentment, a regret, an idea of who we are--because we don't know what to reach for next. "
--Huntley Fitzpatrick, What I Thought Was True


Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Pages: 416
Publication Date: April 15th, 2014
Source: Bought
Previous Books by this Author: My Life Next Door
Goodreads Description

From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.

Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

A magnetic, push-me-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.
Gwen...GWEN! Ok y'all. This is where I'm about to get emo. I think Gwen might be one of my favorite female characters...ever. I read Gwen as representation as every girl at one time or another. While we all will not have the exact same situation as her, we all have felt exactly like Gwen at one point or another. The vulnerability, the desire to be more, the insecurity, the hurt, the pain, the wall that she puts up. Gosh, you guys, I felt like I was reading about myself as not only a teenager but a young woman. I believe we all have had bad things happen to us, people who have hurt us, insecurities because of that pain, and the necessity of putting your guard up in order to not be hurt again. We all want to feel invincible and made of steel. But the beauty of this book and of Gwen wasn't only the connection of shared mistakes and pain, it was the need to have somebody that cares enough to knock down your walls. (Which leads me to my next Belle, see below). Gwen is the representation of us all at one point or another, both low and high.

The Mistakes Gwen makes some mistakes. We all do. She has beat herself up black and blue over past transgressions and what we see in WITWT was her not only opening herself up beyond the pain, but forgiving herself. I can't even tell you how beautiful this was to read about. It's hard to forgive others for their mistakes against you but I believe it is even harder to forgive ourselves. We are hardest on ourselves and seeing Gwen putting down her guard while still continuing to be vulnerable was amazing. I just love her and her story.

Cass I mean...holy swoon McSwoon. Let me tell you a little something about Cassidy Somers and it begins with awk and ends with ward. Anybody get this deliciously endearing trait of his? The stuttering, the nervousness, his inability to basically form any coherent sentence with Gwen around. Oh, my adorable! Like I just couldn't get enough. While I want to smack him upside that gorgeous blond head of hair of his at one point, I still LOVED him. He is so sweet and how he is with Gwen's brother would make the Virgin Mary rethink her life choices. I mean, seriously?! And he sails? Hellooooo arm muscles. I'm mentally salivating.

The Writing Huntley Fitzpatrick's writing is as poignant as it is visually appealing...does that make sense? What I'm trying to say is the writing makes you feel with the characters as well as put you exactly where they are in their surroundings. The descriptions have this island right in front of me. The beach, the houses, everything. I can see Gwen's house in my head, rotting porch step and all. I loved being transported to this world as well as being emotionally connected to the characters.

The Family Dynamic Huntley's ability to write family dynamics is probably my favorite part of her amazing writing abilities. The quirks that we all know each and every family has is exemplified once again with Gwen's family. They are unique and adorable and loving. Not every family is perfect and the situations and less-than-perfect scenarios of Gwen's family life is just perfection. I love the nuances of everyone and I think her mom is one amazing lady. That Grandpa Ben is hilarious. And I ended up really loving her Dad's tough love. I want to cuddle with Emory and Hideout ASAP.

Next Up? I need more. There is a character that I initially hated that I really...REALLY...think needs a book to themselves. Just like Tim in My Life Next Door, there is a character that is initially a huge douche that ended up stealing my heart in less than half a page. There is way more underneath the surface and I am crossing every finger and toe we get more from this person.

Reserved Seating
Amazing characters (!!), amazing setting, and a beautiful story of growth, growing up, accepting responsibility, forgiving one's self, and opening up yourself to love even after all the hurt...le sigh.

2 comments:

  1. TBH I'm not head over heals in love with WITWT like I am with MLND. I felt really confused for most of it because I just didn't get the why behind it all since it was revealed so late in the story. That was my biggest problem, but there were little things too. But I still really enjoyed it, and would like to give it a reread someday now that I know the why. But nevertheless I did really enjoy it. I think Huntley is amazingly talented and has a knack for creating wonderful characters and complex stories, not your normal run of the mill contemporary.

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  2. M is reading this one right now & I'm nervous bc the reviews have not been awesome for it. But you are saying all these great things about Gwen (plus I own the book) so I'll be getting to it soon. I'm glad you mentioned Tim. In my reread of My Life, he was def. my favorite character!

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