Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: "The Truth About Jack" (Jody Gehrman)

Talented teenage artist Dakota McCloud receives two unexpected pieces of news on the same day. First, she's been accepted into the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, which has been a long-time dream of hers. Second, her best childhood friend and her boyfriend have been seeing one another behind her back, all the way across the country where they are away at school.

Devastated, Dakota pulls a desperate stunt in an attempt to make herself heard in her pain: she writes a letter, sticks it in a bottle, and throws the bottle in the ocean. When, days later, she receives a hand-written letter written by a young man from Barcelona, who turns out to be more romantic and desirable than she thought possible, she finds herself swept off her feet. Add in two other interested beaus, stateside, and life gets very complicated.

Meanwhile, Jack Sauvage, equally talented teen pianist recently accepted to Juilliard, has seen Dakota around. In fact, he happens on the beach where she throws her message-in-a-bottle into the ocean ... and when the bottle washes back up on shore after her departure, he picks it up, reads the letter, and decides he must learn more about this girl.

If she knew who he really was, though, she might not be interested in him ... so he devises a plan to write to her as a young man from Barcelona, intending to romance her and get to know more about her. The more he learns, though, the more he wants to know her in person ... and for her to know him as he really is.

The Truth About Jack is a sweet romance by Jody Gehrman, just released this month by Entangled Publishing's Teen Crush imprint.

The story is unexpected in more than one way. Dakota, for one, is an intriguing character, who makes sculptures out of things most people would consider garbage (sprockets, eyeglasses, chicken wire) and who grew up in an artist's colony, where (as a teenager) she currently maintains her own yurt near the one her father owns.

Having been motherless for the last five years ... or the better part of her teenage years ... she's a complicated mix of feminine self-assurance and innocent uncertainty, perhaps as a result of lacking an immediate female role model (although her community provides others for her) during the difficult formative years.

Jack, too, is someone to like: more the moody, brooding, darkly gifted one, with a not-so-stable relationship with his mother, in particular, who has pushed him so hard in his musical endeavors that he's reticent to pursue performance as a career. Something about Dakota --- perhaps her carefree lifestyle or imaginative artistry, or her simple kindness --- appeals to him.

The differences in their upbringings, families, and endeavors mirror those of the typical teenage couple these days admirably, which makes the sweet ending all the more satisfactory when Dakota and Jack build on what they do have in common: friendship, art, and understanding.

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Author: Jody Gehrman
Title: The Truth About Jack
ISBN: 978-1-63375-208-5
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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