{Review} The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler (with Excerpt and Giveaway)

The Truth About Us Janet Gurtler

We’re excited to participate on the tour for The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler. We’ll be sharing our thoughts on the book with you as well as an awesome excerpt and a giveaway. First, here’s the 411 on the book:

{Review} The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler (with Excerpt and Giveaway)The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on April 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Goodreads Buy the Book
3 Stars

Flynn’s from the wrong side of the tracks, but he may be just right for Jess…

The truth is that Jess knows she’s screwed up.
She’s made mistakes, even 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 that she wishes she was the carefree 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 really 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 their differences, not how much she and Flynn need each other. They don’t get that the person who shouldn’t fit into your world might just be the one who makes you feel like you belong.

The 411:

The summer before her senior year, Jess gets in trouble for buying a $10,000 dress on ebay and running wild. As punishment, her father says she has to volunteer at a local soup kitchen. There she meets (and falls for) Flynn, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks with a history he’d rather not share. Despite being from two different worlds, Flynn and Jess quickly fall for each other. But with everyone against their relationship, how can it work?

“I want to kiss you,” he says. “But we’re in public. And that’s like a Public Display of Affection.”

“That is a PDA,” I tell him and laugh. He glances around. People are milling about the building, but they don’t seem to be paying attention to us.

“Braxton says you’re out of my league,” he mumbles. He picks up my hand and holds it in both of his.

“Stella thinks you’re out of mine. And so does your mom.”

“No,” he says. “My mom thinks the opposite.”

I shake my head.

He leans closer. “She does. But you know what?” he asks softly. “I just realized I don’t have anything against PDA.”

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What We Loved:

Gurtler conveys the realistic feelings of a teenage girl so well and has a knack for making us empathize with the characters, no matter how unexpected. This was a quick read and had humor and sadness and everything we’ve come to love from this author.

Flynn’s little brother, Kyle, is adorable, and we loved him. We also loved the growth that Jess went through in this story. She wasn’t the same vapid girl she started out being at the beginning. And we loved the banter between Wilf (an older, sort of surrogate grandfather that Jess meets at the Soup Kitchen) and Jess. Their relationship made me smile, and we appreciated his role in her life.

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Um...Not So Much:

The storyline was cliché and just like with Who I Kissed, the other book that we’ve read by Janet Gurtler, we definitely felt like it got a little on the too-PSA side for us. Also, this might surprise you, but we really did not want it to end the way that it did, View Spoiler » We think the realisticness of the entire story was compromised by that ending. *shrugs*

Also, Flynn. He was so hot and cold. He was awesome…and then he wasn’t. We guess guys can be like that in real life, but it was hard to love him when he acted like such a douchebag. But he was a good brother and a good son and we liked him. Just not with her, or anyone for that matter.

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Bottom Line:

If you love contemporary YA with a message, then you should check out The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler.

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Swoony Boys Podcast Approved

Rating Report
5 Stars
3 Stars
3 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
Overall: 3


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.


My face burns.

“What are you doing here?” he asks.

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.

***About Janet Gurtler***

Author Janet GurtlerRITA 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.

Find Janet Here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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