I don’t read a lot of Young Adult/New Adult books, but I’ve become a fan of Huntley Fitzpatrick.
I think I’ve read all of her books now (and hope a new one is coming out soon!).
I just finished What I Thought Was True, and I invite you all to read it!
Sometimes, with YA, I feel that the storylines are too angsty or “young” for adults to relate to, but there are some real gems out there that tell an interesting nuanced story.
What I Thought Was True takes place on a resort island and is part coming-of-age, part “townie vs. wealthy” mentality — with a whole lot of youth expectations and prejudices mixed in. Gwen Castle, daughter of an island housecleaner and the owner of the beach food shack, is working with an elderly resident for the summer and is continually running into rich boy Cassidy Somers— her biggest mistake ever — who’s slumming it as a yard boy on the island.
Unsure about her feelings for a boy that she’s drawn to but has kept at arm’s length since she slept with him at a party, she must also navigate her employer’s son who has practically accused her of stealing the family’s silver while seemingly scoping out the family heirlooms himself; her developmentally disabled brother; her cousin Nick, who has a chip on his shoulder regarding the rich boys’ opportunities; and her best friend Vivi, who has been with Nick forever but may be questioning her loyalties.
The summer before senior year is always difficult, but Fitzgerald writes with beauty and power about the warring tensions of knowing everything is changing while trying to figure out what’s important to hold on to.
Fitzgerald often explores money and influence, but she does so with grace and a distinct lack of stereotypes. Plus, she manages to infuse her storytelling with timeless teen struggles that are only layered and compounded by modern problems. Reading her books, I can remember how I felt as a high school student and preparing to head off on my own; those feuding feelings of being on top of the world and never being certain if I was good enough. The emotions are the same, no matter the timeline. Fitzgerald captures this perfectly.
I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Fitzgerald and encourage you to pick her up and give YA a chance.
A few other YA titles/authors I recommend:
Jennie Han - To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Morgan Matson - Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
David Levithan/Rachel Cohn - Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
David Levithan - Every Day (Kirkus starred review)
Celeste Ng - *Everything I Never Told You - Despite its teen female protagonist, this novel goes way beyond YA and is a powerful book, but there are no HEA’s here. Still, highly, highly recommend.
What about you? Are you a YA fan? If not, would you be willing to give one a try? Great stuff out there!