First things first I need to say a massive thank you to Rachel Silberman at Entangled publishing, for reaching out to me and asking if I wanted to read and review this Entangled Teen Crush novel!
Just looking at the front cover for 'The Truth About Jack', it was obvious to me that it was going to be one of those contemporary novels that I would just fly through, and the fact that I read it in one sitting of just over four hours definitely proved that.
Throughout this novel, we follow the perspectives of both Dakota and Jack: Dakota has just found out that her boyfriend cheated on her with her best friend, and Jack has just spotted Dakota and become instantly infatuated, convinced that he needs to get to know her and he needs to get to know her now. Through a series of coincidences, Jack and Dakota end up at the same stretch of beach near their respective hometowns, and after seeing Dakota throw a message in a bottle out to sea Jack retrieves it and decides to contact her, but not as himself. Overhearing a conversation between her and one of her friends, he discovers that she's interested in travelling to Barcelona, and he creates the character of Alejandro Torres, an enigmatic Spanish man travelling in California for the summer. However, when Dakota and Jack start to grow close, he realises how difficult it is to compete with a fictional guy, and how difficult it is to keep secrets from the woman he's starting to love...
I really did love this book, and I'm not quite sure why, because there were aspects of it that rubbed the wrong way with me. At times, the secrets and lies Jack were keeping and telling to Dakota did get on my nerves, but on the other hand he seemed like such an innocent character - due to being homeschooled he had no experience with girls, so in some ways his inability to be himself in front of Dakota was understandable. I found myself empathising with him a lot more than I thought I'd be able to, because it did seem that his reaction to Dakota was more of an instant obsession than an instant crush, so I was a bit spooked by him towards the start of the novel, but I think it's a credit to Jody's writing that she managed to display how desperate he was to meet Dakota without making him seem like a psychopathic stalker.
I think one of the reasons I loved this book was because of Dakota's character; she has such a strong personality and she doesn't take any shit from anyone. When she received the email from River telling her that her and Cody were getting together, she got emotional but she didn't argue back or even reply, demonstrating her strength in a way that I never could - when someone hurts me they will know it instantly, because I'm not great at pulling the cold shoulder. Similarly, when her father was complaining about her desire to go travelling, she put him down smoothly without seeming like a bitch; she's just a character that really seems to know herself and know her own mind, and she doesn't like other people trying to get control of it.
But really I think the main reason I enjoyed this book is because it was just so good. There wasn't anything that irritated me - the similarities between the two main characters weren't slap you in the face obvious, they were understated and cleverly written, and there were no scenes that were pointless or unnecessary; everything in this book was crafted to get you to the end result, not just to fill pages. I also loved the letters that were exchanged between Dakota and 'Alejandro', because they both had such unique voices in their writing and it really fleshed out their characters without being over the top on unrequired back story. In fact, one of my only complaints is that we didn't get enough of the letters - I was hoping for a few more exchanges!
I don't want to say too much because I really want you guys to be able to experience and enjoy this book as much as I did, but just know that this is a great contemporary novel and if you're looking for new releases in the genre this is where you need to be. With the weather warming up and the sun starting to shine, this is definitely a summery book and it'll be perfect to take on holiday with you if you're going somewhere where you need something light to read while you sunbathe. I hadn't heard of Jody Gehrman before, but I was absorbed by her writing style and I flew through this book, so I'm definitely going to look into her other novels soon.
If you enjoyed this review, you might want to come back to my blog on Thursday, because I'm going to have a guest post from Jody to celebrate the release of 'The Truth About Jack'. See you then!