A Book Review — 16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler

Posted March 22, 2014 by Jess in books, jess, Reviews / 2 Comments

featured graphic for book review

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Book Review — 16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler16 Things I Thought Were True Published by Sourcebooks on 2014-03-04
Genres: Adolescence, Coming of Age, contemporary, Family, Friendship, realistic fiction, Social Issues, tough issues, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon| Buy on Book Depository

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.

My Thoughts

If you follow my blog, you probably follow me on Twitter.  So you probably know that in the last year, I have become something of a fan of the social media, in some ways liking it more than Facebook.  On Facebook, there is always this pressure to project an image of myself that matches what people see me in real life see me as. It is careful, planned, and practiced.  But on Twitter, I kind of just let it all hang out.  I am much more apt to tell strangers how it is than I am people I have to look in the eyes.

And this is very much what #16ThingsIThoughtWereTrue is about.  A young girl, Morgan, is dealing with the fall out from a video of her dancing in boy’s underwear to “Sexy and I Know It” while working at an amusement park.  A chance encounter with a co-worker in the bathroom (Amy) leads her to chance encounter with (Adam).  After Morgan finds out her mother is seriously ill and in the hospital, Morgan finds herself falling down the rabbit hole of her life.  While her real life is filled with snickers and rude comments, and the loss of friends, her internet life is booming.  Having over 4,000 Twitter followers, Morgan spends her life in the world of 140 characters.

Scared that she may die, Morgan’s mother tells her the information she has desperately wished and hoped for all her life — the name and identity of her father.  After quickly becoming friends with Amy and Adam, Morgan finds herself on a crazy road trip to meet the man who left before she was ever born.  And the road trip to gaining the elusive 5,000 followers.

This book was both a light and heavy read.  There were parts of the book that were hilarious and made me think “beach book”.  However, as Morgan detaches herself from her internet life and becomes more focused on the real world, the layers of everyone around her begin to deepen the story.  The point I feel the author was trying to make is that sure social media is fun, but there isn’t always a chance to really get to know someone in 140 character intervals.

The three ‘main’ characters were all distinctive and fun.  Morgan wasn’t perfect by any means, but I felt myself understanding her in a lot of ways.  Amy was blunt and had an incredible personality – everyone should have an Amy in her life.  And Adam was great, because he was just a regular guy. Sometimes in YA we get these book boyfriends who could never exist in real life, but I didn’t feel that way with Adam, which was refreshing.

The book is about exposing the flaws of people — every single person in the book does things they are not proud of – and yet, that is what makes them more human.  As Morgan is coming to realize this, she finally gets to find her place in the world — to see who her father is, as well as what drove her mother to make the decisions she did with her life.  She also gets to see that everyone has a tough life, whether they know their father or not.

I really enjoyed the book, found myself laughing and crying, and will definitely be picking up more Janet Gurtler books in the future.  While the book grapples with some tougher issues, it is handled in a way that allows even younger teens to be able to read without hesitation.  I recommend for any tween or teen who loves  a good contemporary book, as well as those who are a tad bit addicted to their internet lives.


Rating Breakdown



2 responses to “A Book Review — 16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler

  1. This book does sound really good, and I love road trip books. I like that it sounds so realistic, exposing the flaws of people, and I also like that the guy is portrayed as a regular guy. Great review, I’ll have to add this one to my ever growing TBR list!

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