Review: #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler

Janet Gurtler
Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: March 4, 2014

From the back cover:

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 sweet…in 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.

I really enjoyed Janet Gurtler’s I’M NOT HER, a story about a girl struggling to cope after her sister is suddenly diagnosed with cancer, so when I heard of Ms. Gurtler’s newest, #16thingsithoughtweretrue, I was expecting the same emotional, heartfelt read. Unfortunately, this one left me flat.

I suppose part of the reason is that I had a hard time believing that the most pressing matter Morgan would have in her life is to get 5,000 followers on her Twitter account. It seems extremely shallow, especially with all the other events happening in her life. Events that should have made me sympathize with her, but somehow didn’t. Because it all felt so dispassionate.

I love road trip books, but the plot lacked road trip adventure with a capital “A”, and I never really believed that Morgan would become fast best friends with a girl she just met (Amy) and then that girl, along with a love interest for Morgan, would just up and decide to go find Morgan’s dad. To make matters worse, Ms. Gurtler throws in a typical curve ball (I say typical because she threw in one very similar to it in I’M NOT HER) almost as a way of manipulating readers to feel something. Unfortunately, all it did was make me feel angry.

I’m sure tons of readers will love #16thingsithoughtweretrue, but I’m sorry to say, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.



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