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The Truth about Us
Cover of The Truth about Us
The Truth about Us
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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." –BooklistThe truth is that Jess knows she screwed up.She's...
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." –BooklistThe truth is that Jess knows she screwed up.She's...
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Description-

  • 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.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    chapter one

    I have fifteen minutes to get home. It's a twenty-five-minute walk.

    I'm so dead.

    If I were smarter, I'd run, rise to the challenge or something, but I'm not even moving at all. Instead, I'm stuck, my feet immobile on the sidewalk, all because of a pedestrian sign flashing a red hand at me, commanding me to stay where I am. The Jeopardy theme song plays in my head as I wait for the green light. Penny and I used to love watching Jeopardy. She always knew more answers. I wonder if she still watches. I gave it up when Penny and I stopped being best friends and Nance took her place.

    "Hey, Jess," a girl says as she and a boy walk past. I wave and my cheeks burn brighter, because it's awkward and weird to be busted with my feet refusing to move until a light turns green. The girl is a friend of my sister; I don't know the guy. They obviously don't share my hang-up about jaywalking, and they cross the street without even glancing around for cars.

    No matter how hard I try to shake it off, choke its hold, and squeeze it out, some of my lameness still lingers in my cells, part of who I really am. Or who I was. I don't know anymore.

    "It's not a good idea to walk all alone at night," she calls back like she's a friggin' genius and I'm the poster child for bad choices. The light finally changes, and I step onto the road and walk, glancing down at my phone. My head is fuzzy and my heart pounds thinking about my dad at home waiting for me. I didn't plan to screw up again, but apparently it's kind of a gift, because I'm really, really good at it. Being late will equal no phone for a few days at least. My dad knows how much I hate to lose my phone.

    I jump when a car toots the horn as it whizzes by. A boy screams something about my ass and whistles. My heart beats faster, and for a second, fear springs the hairs up on my arms and a swooshing sensation swells in my belly. Fear feels a lot like excitement. The fact that some pervert thinks I'm whistle-worthy might be the best part of my day. Of course, pervert is the key word. So he's probably not that picky.

    "Does your stupidity not know any bounds?" I hear my dad say in my head.

    I worry it doesn't. And wish he were away on one of his business trips so I wasn't in this bind. In lots of ways, things are easier when he's gone. I think about blaming Nance for my predicament. She does have a knack for getting me into these situations. Of course, I have a knack for letting her. Besides, responsibility for my own actions and all that. Blaming her will get me exactly nowhere.

    Another car whizzes past, and I glance back to see if my sister's friend is still behind me, but she's nowhere in sight. They must have turned down another street or live somewhere close by. There's another car coming now, and it's driving slower. I know from every horror show I've ever watched that it's not a good sign. Man, I know from what happened to my mom it's not a good sign.

    I force myself to glare at the car. It's an old rust bucket, "an eyesore" as my dad would say. Not the kind of car usually seen in this neighborhood. I frown and peer inside, keeping my expression fierce. When I see the driver grinning at me, I relax a little. He's about my age, and his smile reminds me of a floppy-eared golden retriever. Friendly. Wouldn't hurt a soul. The guy in the passenger seat stares off into the distance, as if he doesn't see me.

    "Hey," the driver calls and leans forward to look at me with an even bigger smile. "Where ya headed?"

    He's cute. Blond with overly spiky...

About the Author-

  • Janet Gurtler lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband and son and a puppy blessed with cuteness rather than brains. Janet does not live in an Igloo or play hockey, but she does love maple syrup and says "eh" a lot. Visit janetgurtler.blogspot.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 27, 2015
    Ever since Jess's mother was attacked in a random, violent assault and subsequently fell into a depression, their family has fractured, and Jess's own behavior has become destructive. After Jess is caught drinking, sunbathing topless, and running up her parents' credit card, her father forces her to spend the summer volunteering at a local shelter. Privileged Jess is fearful and judgmental at first, but she soon befriends Wilf, a cantankerous elderly volunteer, and falls for a boy named Flynn, who brings his younger brother to the shelter for meals. Jess and Flynn's attraction is immediate and intense, but their friends and families don't want to see kids from different neighborhoods together. Jess's conversations with Wilf are gratifying, and her evolution into a more conscientious person comes across organically. Yet the story is weighed down by occasionally mawkish dialogue ("Fair is a place that has corn dogs and Ferris wheels. It's not real life," Flynn responds when Jess complains that life isn't fair) and the rehashing of plot. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jill Corcoran, Jill Corcoran Literary Agency.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2015

    Gr 9 Up-Jess feels like nobody "gets" her. Yes, she may be pretty, and she may have a lot of money, and she may be friends with the most popular girl in school, but what Jess needs are real friends who understand her. Jess has a lot of things going on in her life, and she has not chosen the best methods for coping recently. After an incident with her supposed friend Nance, Jess's father decides she needs to be reprimanded. Her punishment is to volunteer at the local shelter while the rest of her posse spends the summer soaking up the sun. New Beginnings turns out be just what Jess needed. She not only finds herself but also finds the real friends she has been searching for and even a romance. Flynn comes from a different economic class, and as the couple learns to overcome the challenges that are brought about by the gap in their relative statuses, Jess becomes a more developed and well-rounded character. Other subplots, such as her family recovering from an accident, add depth. This title will pair well with Simon Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry (Walker, 2008), another story dealing with building strong emotional relationships with people who come from vastly different backgrounds. VERDICT A tender, layered romance.-Caitlin Wilson, Brooklyn Public Library

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal "Jess feels like nobody "gets" her. Yes, she may be pretty, and she may have a lot of money, and she may be friends with the most popular girl in school, but what Jess needs are real friends who understand her. Jess has a lot of things going on in her life, and she has not chosen the best methods for coping recently. After an incident with her supposed friend Nance, Jess's father decides she needs to be reprimanded. Her punishment is to volunteer at the local shelter while the rest of her posse spends the summer soaking up the sun. New Beginnings turns out be just what Jess needed. She not only finds herself but also finds the real friends she has been searching for and even a romance. Flynn comes from a different economic class, and as the couple learns to overcome the challenges that are brought about by the gap in their relative statuses, Jess becomes a more developed and well-rounded character. Other subplots, such as her family recovering from an accident, add depth. This title will pair well with Simon Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry (Walker, 2008), another story dealing with building strong emotional relationships with people who come from vastly different backgrounds. VERDICT A tender, layered romance"
  • RT Book Reviews "A thought-provoking YA about class divides and prejudices and how appearances can be far from the truth. Readers will easily empathize with the main characters, while some of the secondary cast have compelling stories of their own. "
  • VOYA Magazine "Touching on all kinds of topics, from homelessness, absent parents, and girls and boys clamoring for attention for all the wrong reasons to the ever-present theme of the haves-vs.-the have nots, The Truth About Us shows many different truths and calls readers to examine themselves, as well as root for Jess and Flynn."
  • Girls' Life.com "A book about finding happiness, honesty and being true to yourself, The Truth About Us promises to be a must-read for any YA romance fan. "
  • Teen Librarian Toolbox "The Truth About Us will appeal to contemporary romance readers, but it also does a really good job of highlighting the truth about the various economic realities of the people we know but don't always know well, the people we see every day but never really learn their stories. I also love that it doesn't vilify or demonize any of the people in the shelter and it highlights the truth of many people like Flynn's family who just need a little bit of extra help to make ends meet as they bust their butts in jobs that barely pay a livable wage. For every story you hear about someone milking the system, the truth is that most of the people needing some additional help are working hard in a system that seems designed to make sure they fail. The Truth About Us helps give those stories a voice."
  • RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars "Gurtler has created a thought-provoking YA about class divides and prejudices and how appearances can be far from the truth. Readers will easily empathize with the main characters, while some of the secondary cast have compelling stories of their own. "

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