Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Thing About The Truth - Lauren Barnholdt

Before I start the review, just a reminder that I've got two polls on the side of the blog I would LOVE for you to take, and this week's Pulse It freebie read is OCD Love Story - go check it out before Monday!


From Goodreads:  In this humorous love story from the author of "Two-Way Street", an unlikely romance is the best sort of surprise—but the wrong secret can ruin everything. Kelsey’s not going to let one mistake ruin her life. Sure, she got kicked out of prep school and all her old friends are shutting her out. But Kelsey’s focused on her future, and she’s determined to get back on track at Concordia High.

Isaac’s been kicked out of more schools than he can count. Since his father’s a state senator, Isaac’s life is under constant scrutiny—but Concordia High’s his last stop before boarding school, so Isaac’s hoping to fly under the radar and try to stay put for a change.

When Kelsey and Isaac meet, it’s anything but love at first sight. She thinks he’s an entitled brat, and he thinks she’s a stuck-up snob. So it surprises them both when they start to fall for each other. Kelsey’s happy for the first time in months, and Isaac’s never felt this way about anyone before. But nothing’s ever completely perfect. Everyone has secrets, and Isaac and Kelsey are no exceptions. These two may have fallen hard, but there’s one thing that can ruin it all: the truth.


I loved the characters – even though they deal in stereotypes that is how we think about things especially in high school.  If the story continued to only work only on stereotypes, then it wouldn't have worked, and that is the pitfall most YA novels run into when they use stereotypes.  The book really explores what we expect to see lined up with what facade people put up juxtaposed against what each person is really thinking and feeling.  This is especially helped by alternating chapters with Isaac and Kelsey as the first person narrator.  The alternating chapters as narrators also helped us to really get to know the characters.  It was funny, insightful, and exactly how real life works as Kelsey and Isaac both describe the same events in their chapters. A lot of books written with a guy narrator in the YA genre (if written by a female author) get a bad rep because the guys aren't believable as guys unless they are written as jerks.  This is one thing I felt like Barnholdt really got.  We see Isaac fall in love with Kelsey, and he is really in to her.  It's sappy and cute and funny, and still somehow exactly what a guy falling in love is like.   Clearly, the alternating narrators really makes this story work.  It also helped add to the tension as the story flips from before and after the event between characters.  SO EFFECTIVE.  I was lucky I was reading this in ebook format or I would have looked at the least a lot sooner than I did. (What can I say?  I just can't read a book without looking at the ending before I get there)

Unfortunately I had some other issues with the book.  Particularly with the ending, but I'll get there in a moment.  A big part of the book focuses on parental relationships.  Neither Kelsey nor Isaac is in a good place with their parents.  But after all the negativity, there are no resolutions, no steps to try and solve the issues between the characters and their parents.  If you aren't going to do anything but say the parents suck (when it would be easy to not have them be terrible people), and it has no purpose in the plot, why bring it up at all then?

While the suspense is awesome in the book, the big reveals feel sort of anticlimactic, and a little unbelievable honestly.  Of course this is filled with spoilers, the sort I won't even make a spoilers post for, so I can't tell you much about what happens.  One thing Barnholdt does very well is make her characters relatable, and she is a master at building suspense.  I wish the follow through was as good (and honestly in most books it probably would be – her build up is just so amazing that any conclusion feels lackluster in comparison).

This is the third book by Lauren Barnholdt that I've read, and I have to say that while I generally really like her characters, there is always something missing in the story for me.  Two-Way Street felt like the entire plot was implausible in pretty much every possible way, and I liked Sometimes It Happens more, but I hate books where the bff is shown as a bitch and the bff.  I liked The Thing About Truth the most out of all three books, but I felt like the drama wasn't as big a deal as it was made out to be, and then the event happens so quickly that the drama is done in a flash (the first event is described in like two sentences).  I could have forgiven it a little more if once we found out what the big deal WAS, then the drama got dragged out a little bit, because the resolution was wrapped up in about a chapter after we find out what is going on in the first place.  And while it wraps up on the romantic level, there is one HUGE question I have about the practical life level, and I want it answered!!  But of course I can't tell you what it is :)  Feel free to commiserate with me if you've read the book!


  1. I have to say that this is not a book I would pick up based on the description. I'm glad the characters were more developed than typical YA romance characters.

    1. Yeah, I can't say I'd really recommend any of Barnholdt's books, and judging by your blog I'd definitely say this isn't the sort of book that would interest you!


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