Friday, April 10, 2015

The Truth About Us ~ Janet Gurtler (earc) Review & Spotlight + Giveaway [@janetgurtler @SourcebooksFire]

The Truth About Us
Sourcebooks Fire
April 7, 2015
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon
or buy from iBooks/B&N/BAM/!ndigo/Indiebound

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.
If you haven't read one of Janet Gurtler's books yet, you really need to get on it.

Jess is a girl you may might not like when you first meet her. She's partying too much, drinking too much and too often and distancing herself from people who care. But it's okay. It's her plan. Her new persona stops anyone from noticing that Jess' carefree life, her perfect family aren't the truth.

When she goes a step too far, her father, as punishment, makes her spend her summer volunteering at a soup kitchen. His motives are far from altruistic, but it may be just what Jess needs.

Flynn isn't one to let Jess get away with pretending, about herself, her family, anything. Flynn, his life, work at the soup kitchen are all so very different from what Jess is used to. Flynn and her work may be a better answer to Jess' problems that her pretending.

If only there weren't so many differences to overcome, so many oppositions.

Jess is a compelling character from the beginning. We know some of what has created this change in her, but also know that there's more. You know there's more to her, it's just a question of if it's going to stay hidden. Or for how long.

Flynn's character felt a bit more distant, more removed. Once we (and Jess) got to know him, I liked who he was and what he brought out in Jess' character.

The Truth About Us does what my favorite books - romances or stories with a romance, especially - do: gives us characters, in Jess and Flynn, whose story feels concluded by not complete. We get a very nice ending the to book, yet you know that those pages aren't all those characters will share. Even if they're never in print again, you can imagine their future, see their continuation.

They don't stop just because the book does.

The characters in The Truth About Us are interesting, unique, and well written. It's how they interact, their relationships and what they bring out in each other that really makes them - and the story - special, though. I loved reading about them, discovering their stories and seeing where things would go for them.

About Author Janet Gurtler:

RITA Award finalist Janet Gurtler’s (website) 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.


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.


My 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.


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digital copy for review (via NetGalley) & other post materials provided by publisher

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