Published by Sourcebooks on 04 March 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Family, Friendship, Parents, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Place(s) Traveled To: Tadita, Washington // Victoria, British Columbia, Canada // Lynden, Washington // Saanich, British Columbia, Canada
First Line(s): After pausing for a deep breath, I force myself to walk into the room with my head held high and my shoulders pulled back.
I became interested in 16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler when I learned that it was a road trip book. I have a serious weakness for road trip books and so was excited to read this one. Only 16 Things I Thought Were True wasn’t quite what I expected in more ways than one. The first was one of the reasons why I wanted to read the book in the first place, the road trip. Or should I say the road trip that wasn’t considering how Morgan and her friends only drove to a place that was 4 hours away. Now I may be from Rhode Island but I can totally do that drive, hang out, and then turn around and drive back home again.
In 16 Things, Morgan and her friends spend the night in Victoria, Canada though this can be explained as the purpose of the trip is for Morgan to meet her father. A man she thought had abandoned her when she was a baby and never wanted anything to do with her. This is one of those things that Morgan thought was true but the truth isn’t so black and white as she learns after her mother ends up in the hospital and starts to spill secrets. This prompts Morgan to hop in her car along with her new friend and current boss (who may be a friend or something more) to drop everything and ambush her father.
Overall, I really enjoyed 16 Things and enjoyed the chemistry between Morgan, Amy and Adam. Adam was a guy that Morgan had lots of pre-conceived notions on but not everything she thought was true. He was a really sweet character and sure to delight as his and Morgan’s relations changes over the course of the book. Then there is Amy who is this sweet and bubbly and sometimes annoying character. She livened up every scene she was in and I often liked her more than Morgan.
Where this book lost me was the ending which just came out of the blue with no hint or warning or nothing. There was no time to develop that part of the story and also no time to process it. This whole section of the story just felt rushed, underdeveloped and almost as an after thought. It didn’t fit with the rest of the story and just changed the entire tone of the book for me. It took me out of the story and just left a bad taste in my mouth. If it wasn’t for this ending I would have enjoyed this book so much more than I did because up until then it was everything I could want in a contemporary story and if I ever re-read this book then I will be doing so by stopping before I get to that part of the book that I didn’t like.
Guest Post: Janet Gurtler talks about her inspiration between writing a road trip book
I use TADITA WASHINGTON as the location for most of my books. This is a fictional town outside of Seattle. I chose it because the landscape and lifestyle is quite similar to British Columbia. As a Canadian, I’m familiar with it. I like having a small town setting because my books tend to be character driven and the setting and action. I also like using the same town and having tiny little guest appearances in the books from other characters.
The road trip idea came because I wanted my main character to be forced to go off to find her father, a father she doesn’t know. Part of her journey is learning to let other people into her life outside of online social media. She’s been kind of burnt by real life. The road trip forces her to get to know two people who otherwise she might not have paid much attention to.
I used Victoria, as it is a place I have been to and loved. And I really did want to have a character cross over to Canada. My homeland. I used some of my memories of the Island, the beauty of the Island.