April 22, 2015

Blog Tour: The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler – Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway


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The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler

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The Truth About Us

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.

add to goodreadsThe Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler
Publication Date:  April 7, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Available for Purchase:

I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!

** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **


Gabby-2013I’ve been interested in author Janet Gurtler’s novels ever since reading her novel How I Lose You. It was a heartbreaking story that caught my interest immediately and The Truth About Us was no different. It sounded unlike anything I’d had the opportunity to read before. A novel that deals with a good girl gone bad who is still secretly good on the inside? A boy who sees through the guise? A story dealing with who we present ourselves to be versus who we really are underneath it all? The Truth About Us totally sounded like my cup of tea.

Jess knows that what happened with her ‘best friend’ Nance was a complete and total mistake. A couple of foolish teenage shenanigans resulted in her father finally putting his foot down on her rebellious ways. Being forced to volunteer at a soup kitchen, Jess meets Flynn. Immediately the party girl persona that Jess has built up for herself is washed away by Flynn and the new friends she makes at the kitchen. Everything about Flynn tells her to stay away from him. They come from two separate worlds. Jess lives a life of lavish where Flynn and his family can barely get by. However despite their differences, Flynn and Jess are more similar than either of them know. Together, the two of them soon realize that there’s a pull between them, and that they need each other more than they realize.

The premise of The Truth About Us was intriguing and reeled me in. We’re first introduced to the novel with Jess’s party girl lifestyle. We witness the big mistake she’s made that has forced her father to have her ‘volunteer’ at the soup kitchen and watch as Jess’s life comes falling down around her. The Truth About Us presents a main character to readers who is falling apart inside and whose relationship with the people around her helps pull her back together. While the romance between Flynn and Jess is one of the driving forces behind that re-connection with Jess’s true self, the power of friendship and discovering who she really is and who she wants to be also play a key role in her reconciliation with herself.

Gurtler’s writing is still smooth and easy to read. Her simplistic prose keeps the storyline flowing and holds the reader’s attention. The characterization is unique and enjoyable. One of my favorite characters in the story was the elderly man Wilf who is still mourning the loss of his wife Rhea. Wilf is the sweetest character ever and he absolutely broke my heart. He’s this little old man who offers wisdom and eye-opening advice to Flynn and Jess. Not to mention the story of how he met Rhea is one that made my heart swell up and will stick with me long after having finished the novel (seriously, it’s just too cute).

The only con I would say that there was to the novel would be the instances where some of Jess’s internal thoughts weren’t as ‘teenager-y’ as they were intended to sound. Those instances would leave me placing the book down and kind of take a minute to pause before going back to the storyline. It isn’t a major thing that should deter readers but was the one little detail that scratched at me time and time again.

Readers who are fans of contemporary YA and readers who are big fans of YA romance will love The Truth About Us. Readers who have read Gurtler’s novels in the past and who enjoyed them will definitely enjoy The Truth About Us. Anyone who is looking for a novel with characters whose internal struggles are ‘deep’ and whose characterization holds a sense of humbling realism should also give The Truth About Us a go.


The greenhouse is sort of shaped like an old barn. It’s opaque with plastic and steel siding. The door is open, and I follow Wilf inside and pause and then breathe it in. The smell nourishes me. Moist air fills my lungs. I’ve forgotten how much the scents of greenery soothe me. It reminds me of different times. Simpler times.

“Nice,” I tell him, looking around at rows of plants on tabletops and plants stacked on the floor. I realize I’ve missed the satisfaction of nurturing plants.

There’s a man on a ladder in the middle of the greenhouse, fixing a shelf, with his back to us. A little boy stands at the bottom of the ladder, watching. Wilf walks over and pats his head and kneels down to his level. “How are ya, big guy?”

The little boy stands taller and giggles and holds out his hand. He’s got it wrapped tightly around a plastic blue train.

The man on the ladder turns and looks down at me. My heart stops.

It’s not a man at all. It’s him.


“What are you doing here?” he asks.

My face burns.

Wilf frowns and then looks at me. “What’s up with you kids these days? In my time, we treated nice–looking young ladies with respect,” he says to Flynn gruffly. “Flynn, this is Jess. She volunteers here.”

I say a silent thank–you to him for calling me nice–looking and glance back at Flynn.

“Since when?” he asks.

“Since now. How about, ‘hello, nice to meet you’?” Wilf says to prompt both of us. “Is that so hard?”

“We’ve already met,” Flynn says.

My cheeks stay on fire as he climbs down the ladder.

“The shelf is fixed,” he says to Wilf. “Slumming?” he adds to me as he jumps to the floor. He folds up the ladder and then leans it against a counter lined with plants.

The little boy stares back and forth.

I try to think of something light and witty to save the moment, but my mind is blank. Instead, I panic. “What’d you do to get stuck working at this place?” I say, channeling my inner Nance.

“What’d I do?” He stares at me and then his lips turn up. “I didn’t have the right daddy, I guess. I’m here to have lunch. With my little brother. I’m not a volunteer.”

My stomach drops. Fail. Epic fail.



RITA Award finalist Janet Gurtler’s young adult books have been chosen for the Junior Library Guild Selection and as Best Books For Teens from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. She has had her writing compared to Judy Blume and Jodi Picoult and that makes her happy. She has volunteered at a few soup kitchens and hopes to do more. Giving back is so important. Janet lives in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, with her husband, son, and a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce.

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