Gwen Castle has never so badly wanted to say good-bye to her island home til now: the summer her Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, takes a job there as the local yard boy. He’s a rich kid from across the bridge, and she hails from a family of housecleaners who keep the island’s summer people happy. Gwen worries this will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she’ll never escape what happened – or the island – her past explodes into her present, redefining the boundaries of her life. 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.
I often wish that what I fantasized about were my actual reality, especially when it comes to boys. However, boys will never be what I want them to be. But wouldn’t it be great if the fantasy were the reality? Well maybe the dream could come true if Gwen just rethought her reality.
Guinevere Castle is no slut but a few of the boys on the Stony Bay High swim team sure do know her. And one boy in particular, Cassidy Somers, got to know her this past spring. Yet to Gwen, it turns out he is just like all the other guys. Now Gwen is trying to avoid him at all costs this summer. Although that’s easier said than done when Cass becomes the yard boy for Seashell Island and Gwen is forced to see him everywhere.
Along with seeing him, she has to engage in conversation with him, which means she will see his dimples in his smile and get those feelings for him all over again. And to make matters worse, the swim coach has asked her to tutor Cass in English. Now she’ll have to spend time with him?!
Turns out, she was going to spend time with Cassidy whether she liked it or not. He is always showing up at Mrs. Ellington’s, the elderly woman Gwen looks after, killing lobsters, clipping scrubs, smiling at her, etc. The funny things is, Gwen doesn’t entirely hate it. Cass is polite and gentlemanly, one of the reasons Gwen fell for him, until that night she showed him just how much she liked him. And half the swim team had a front row seat to the show.
Now she can’t tell if the polite, charming, gentlemanly Cass is the real Cass or if it’s all a front just to have a repeat of that night in March. But these feelings aren’t fake and she can tell Cass feels something as well. If only she could tell what is true and what isn’t.
But Cass isn’t the only puzzle on the island. Nic and Vivian, her cousin and best friend are keeping secrets from her. Which neither Viv nor Nic has ever done. Her dad is acting more hostile than usual, the swim coach dropped by her house, but not for Nic, her mom instead. And Mrs. Ellington’s son seems to be up to no good under his mother’s own nose. Still, her heart and its feelings for Cass are the biggest puzzle to figure out. Can she believe his feelings are genuine? Or rather, will she ever let go of the Cass she always had pictured in her mind and believe the Cass she sees in front of her?
What I Thought Was True is the embodiment of what teenagers perceive about life and especially what girls think about boys. That you think you know exactly what you want or who you want, until suddenly you don’t want that thing or person. What I Thought Was True is about distinguishing what you think you want to what you actually want, separating the reality from the fantasy. It’s also about not being afraid to go after what you want, that the fantasy could be the reality if you really tried. Most importantly, What I Thought Was True is about not judging a book by its cover, not placing your own perceptions of what is true upon something or someone else but understanding their truth for yourself.
Review by Camia Rhodes
Publication date: 4/15/2014