Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler

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I received this book for free from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 4th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Raincoast Books
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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 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.

As a Canadian I am always quick to jump behind any Canadian authors that I can find.  Sometimes hastily getting a book based on those grounds has bitten me in the butt but I have come to know that getting a Janet Gurtler book (who is not only a Canadian, but a fellow Albertan) is always a safe bet. #16thingsithoughtweretrue did not disappoint.  While it wasn’t a perfect novel, it managed to bring out all the feels from me and had me ugly crying for the last few chapters.

Morgan doesn’t come across as the most likeable character in the beginning of the novel. She is very standoffish and likes to get lost in a virtual world on her phone rather than have one on one contact with real people. It becomes apparent early on that she was at one time a much more personable person but was wronged by her best friend Lexie when she put a video of Morgan dancing in men’s underwear to LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It online.  The video quickly went viral and had people laughing at Morgan wherever she went in the town of Tadita.  I liked reading a novel about how a viral video had affected someone, it’s a very important issue these days with everything that is on the news about high school and the forms of bullying that go on online.  I think the person Morgan had become in the aftermath of that was very realistic.  She had this hard shell that she had put up to protect herself from the taunting and from possibly being hurt again but we are never left to believe that she is that cold on the inside because her emotions are palpable throughout the novel.

Helping bring this light side of Morgan to light is everything that is going on in her family life.  Right at the beginning of the novel her mother is admitted to the hospital with heart trouble and it rocks Morgan’s world.  Not only is she worried about her mother, but her mom (who doesn’t think she is going to make it) tells her her father’s name which is shocking because Morgan had believed he was dead.  This sets into motion the plot at the heart of the novel which is Morgan going on a road trip to Canada to meet her biological father. Of course a young girl can’t go on a trip like this alone so by luck of the draw she happens to find two people from work who are willing to go with her and one of them even has a car.  Amy and Adam (her companions on the trip) where important characters in their own right.  I really fell for these two, they had me laughing just as much as they had me feeling bad for what was going on in their lives.  The secondary characters here are expertly developed which served to immerse me in the story even more because I came to care about so many people.

My only complaints about the novel are that a few of the revelations that come about in the story just seemed really unnecessary.  It seemed like Morgan had a knack for meeting people who lie to her right off the bat and keep it going for as long as they can.  The lies that she’s faced with were just silly and didn’t really serve a purpose in the story in my opinion.  They felt like cheap ways to attempt to keep the story interesting but that wasn’t necessary at all because the pacing was spot on and the story would have definitely held its own.  Maybe there was supposed to be a deeper meaning enforced by these people’s need to lie to her, but I just didn’t feel that it was effective at all.  I was also a little bothered but the use of the term wi-fi (getting nitpicky here, I know) but it really bugged me.  While on the highway Morgan kept referring to how she was in a dead zone and didn’t have wi-fi, well duh you are on a highway! I’m not sure if Gurtler was meaning to say that she just didn’t have service, or if there are actually highways out there that have wi-fi but I just couldn’t figure out why Morgan would ever think she would have a chance at having wi-fi on a highway.

Those two small issues definitely didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the novel all that much and I think that this is a definite read for any contemporary fans out there.  Filled with great characters and a story that grabs you and doesn’t let go this is one you should definitely grab when it hits shelves.


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20 Responses to “Review: #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this book despite a few issues, Jenni. The mixed reviews have been putting me off a little, but knowing that you enjoyed it makes me excited.
    Morgan sounds like she has a lot going on. Poor thing. I can tell I will relate to her, because I seem to attract people who lie a lot to my face too. I’m curious to see how the cyber bullying is handled.
    Lovely review.

  2. Aimee

    This one sounds really interesting. I love road trip books, so I’ll definitely give this one a go. I love how the secondary characters (Amy & Adam) still play important roles. Fantastic review, Jenni!

  3. Michelle

    I love the idea of Twitter books!! I haven’t read any yet, but have seen that a few are coming out soon. I also love Canadian authors. Pretty much every book I’ve read by a Canadian has gone to my favorites list. (CK Kelly Martin and Courtney Summers are my favs). This one sounds fun AND emotional. I like the idea of the viral video and seeing consequences from it. I also love roadtrips 🙂 Great review!!

  4. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I haven’t heard of this one but it sounds good! Most books have minor meh bits to them but, as long as it doesn’t affect (effect? *sigh*) my enjoyment of the story overall, I don’t mind.

  5. Amanda @ Book Badger

    This review brings a little bit of hope back to this book for me. I’d seen another review of this book and decided that it wasn’t for me because of logics, the main character and the romance, but you’ve made me see it a little differently Jenni, so thank you. It sounds like you picked a good one here and I’m glad you enjoyed it 😀

  6. Faye @ The Social Potato

    Wow, this sounds pretty deep. Books that tackle very important social issues are hard for me to swallow but they usually leave me very fulfilled with new insights to ponder about. Ever since the dawn of the internet, online bullying has become even more rampant and books that have this as a central point is far and few between so I’m glad it’s getting more exposure now. Hopefully through this book more people will be aware of its effects to people like Morgan.

    Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed this one Jenni. I’ll most probably check it out!!! 😉

  7. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    I definitely agree, when videos go viral, they go VIRAL. Like, everybody who uses the internet knows about it and it must affect their lives afterwards because everybody must look at them differently and it must change the person whose video went viral. And definitely, the way that the motif of lying and deception was treating sometimes got really unnecessary, and even though it was kind of to enforce how many lies she’s been through, the fact that EVERY character lied to her about something was weird. Fantastic review, Jenni! <33

  8. Christy

    I’ve been curious about this one. I’ve had great luck with the publisher, so I was hoping it would get good reviews. I’ll most likely grab this one when it comes out. Great review!

  9. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    This book really resonates with me because that’s essentially what this world is coming to: likes to get lost in a virtual world on her phone rather than have one on one contact with real people. If there’s anything that covers online bullying that is more relevant to teens today, it would be this book. Lovely review Jen!

  10. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Jenni! Morgan was a pretty difficult character but I still liked her on whole. But I didn’t really understand why she’d ditch her mum for a roadtrip with two people she barely knew.

    Brilliant review! <33

  11. Melliane

    it sounds like a great book despite a little point. I didn’t know this one at all so it’s nice to discover something new. You’re right about Canadian author, and I ashame I don’t do the same with French authors as for me it’s always a little under the others for many. But I love some… just not a lot…

  12. Alice

    Firstly, totally adore that the title of the book comes with a hashtag. That’s so cute! I haven’t heard of this one otherwise but your review makes me very intrigued. It looks like it tackles pretty strong social issues which usually makes for a deep, interesting read.

    Great review Jenni! 🙂

  13. Lauren

    You know, I must be a masochist because when I hear someone ugly cried during a book, I immediately want to read it! 🙂 This sounds like a very thought provoking and emotional read, and I always am interested in books that tackle online bullying/social media mishaps. It happens all the time in the news and I never fail to be fascinated by how quickly something negative can escalate online and hurt innocent people. Wonderful review, thanks for putting this on my radar!

  14. JennRenee

    Going to start this one in a couple of days. Great review. Glad to hear there were only a couple things that bugged you and they didn’t hinder the enjoyment.

  15. Pamela D

    I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this one. The blurb sounded cute, but it seemed like a book that could have lots of problems. Yea! I’m glad that you liked it. 🙂

  16. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I hadn’t heard of this book, but it sounds really good. I love road trip books. I don’t like when there seems to be a lot of unnecessary things in a book, but as long as the rest of it is good, it won’t bother me too much. Great review babe!!

  17. Wendy Darling

    Huh, I didn’t realize this author was Canadian! I try to pay attention to stuff like that too (although obviously I’m not Canadian), so thanks for pointing that out. I’ve heard good things about this author although I hadn’t read any reviews of this one yet, so I’m looking forward to trying her out sometime. Thanks for the review, Jenni.