The Truth About You and Me
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: September 8th 2013
Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things.
Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennett. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured - and missed out on - in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love.
There's only one problem. Bennett is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen - because she hasn't told him the truth.
The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennett - both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.
-A copy was provided by Flux Books for review-
This was an alright read. I liked it better than I expected based on the early reviews – though maybe my lowered expectations helped. It’s your typical student-slash-professor storyline where you know their relationship is doomed from the start, but like a car accident, you can’t look away.
This book is written in second person letter form, it reads as if you were the recipient – the actual recipient being the love interest and professor, to which the protagonist explains her point of view of why she did what she did. I actually found this compelling, definitely unique, however it reminded me too much of Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick which has a similar plot as well with an execution that is worlds better, and as such making this feel like an inferior replica of a favorite book of mine – never a good thing.
Despite the comparison, I still found myself fully immersed in the story from start to finish, making it a solid 3 stars regardless. My more affecting qualms were in regards to the characters. From the main characters to their supporting cast, I found everyone to be shallow. The author seemed to prefer using stereotypes instead of fully developing these characters, making them a little superficial with a lot more tell rather than show. We’re told Madelyn’s is smart, we’re told of her parents suffocating her, but aside from a brief conversation with her father showing his need to push her academically, this was not very well demonstrated through character building – especially Madelyn’s smarts. Moreover, I was not okay with a lot of Madelyn’s decisions. They were selfish and not reflective of an intelligent young girl. She knew full well that she was risking his whole life and career but still decided against telling him she was only 16. Though I get she’s a teenager and they make idiotic mistakes, but if she loved him as much as she said… If she’d thought for just a minute… For such a smart girl – or so we’re told – she does a lot of stupid things in this book, this includes flunking a test because she was daydreaming too much about him.
The romance is the plot in this novel, through and through. It’s just a love story, albeit a doomed one, so don’t expect to come out of this with a new purpose in life or to have experienced a journey to self discovery. It’s a book you read for instant gratification, likely to forget much of it immediately after. In any case, the romance has its sweet moments and does give off a nice amount of chemistry. I did appreciate the ending, as well. It’s sad but realistic. Though I was expecting a much bigger climax – mostly because the letters seemed to foreshadow an outcome that was considerably grievous, until that all turned into a cop-out.
In spite of the problems I dished out in this review, it’s still a solid 3 stars for me. It had my full attention while reading and I flew through it in no time.