Today is the release day for Janet Gurtler's new young adult fiction title 16 Things I Thought Were True. I'm excited to get to read more books that are strictly young adult this year, and Gurtler's novel was a great, fun book in this category.
The Synopsis: Morgan is working at an amusement park during the summer before senior year when her mother has a heart attack. Morgan's already been having a tough summer--she lost all of her friends after a video of her went viral. When Morgan's mother, fearing death, finally tells Morgan the name of her father and where he lives, it's like Morgan's entire world has shifted. She wants to meet and confront her father, and she decides to road trip to Canada to do just that. Luckily she doesn't have to go it alone, as Amy and Adam, two of her amusement park coworkers, offer to be with Morgan along the way. Can Morgan deal with everything happening in her life?
The Review: I loved how quickly I was able to get into Morgan's head, feeling her confused rush of feelings about her mother, her stranger of a father, and her friends (or her perceived lack thereof). The three major teenage characters really are well fleshed out, each complex enough to make the occasionally melodramatic plot interesting without weighing it down. Gurtler does a pretty good job with the pacing, too; while some conversations seem a bit hurried and could be more developed, the overall feeling of life moving at a complicated, frantic pace really mirrors Morgan's state of mind. 16 Things I Thought Were True will appeal to a variety of teen readers, as teens can see parts of themselves in Morgan--cynical, not as confident as she wants to seem--, Amy--cheery, unapologetically honest--, and Adam--well-meaning, trying so hard to be the excellent student and citizen he thinks people want him to be. There's lots to captivate in the road trip and personal drama plot, and plenty more to enjoy in the characters.
The Programming Connection: I'll be book talking this title to teens during readers' advisory interviews and chats with Teen Advisory Board members. It would make a great addition to a book list of young adult titles with a road trip theme, too.
Review copy provided by the publisher.