Thursday, 15 August 2013

Review: The Truth About You & Me by Amanda Grace

The Truth About You & Me by Amanda Grace
Publisher: Flux
Publication date: September 8th 2013.
My rating: 3 stars 


Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things. Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennett. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured - and missed out on - in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love. There's only one problem. Bennett is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen - because she hasn't told him the truth. The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennett - both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.

I have really conflicted feelings after finishing this book, on the one hand I truly admire Grace’s courage to tackle such a difficult subject. And even though I knew what it was about, I was in no way put off by it I wanted to know how things ended between our two main characters. 

Despite being invested in the story, my biggest complaint was our MC Madelyn. We were told the story about her slowly developing relationship with her college professor Bennett through a letter. I wanted to know everything about their relationship, how it started, what happened, would they ever get caught out etc. And I understood why Madelyn felt such a strong connection with Bennett, her family was the worst with the constant 24 hour pressure to study and exceed all expectations and constantly excel. Madelyn was already two years ahead in terms of education, she was at college at the age of 16! she always received A grades and she was likely to graduate early. What else did they want? Had they even taken time out of their rigorous schedules and constant controlling of Madelyn’s life to ask what she wanted to do? And then there was Madelyn’s brother, who was four years older but always thought it was a game between them both to see who could achieve the most. He was constantly upping the bar, that their parents did nothing else but compare one to the other. On top of that Madelyn had no friends, I know this doesn’t make falling for her college professor, any more right, but she had finally found someone who wanted to know her, the real her and actually cared about her rather than her college grades. And Bennett didn’t pull out the stops and say their relationship was something they shouldn’t do, in fact he encouraged her in some respects by inviting her over to his house. But what frustrated me about Madelyn was that she never once told Bennett her real age. Maybe their relationship would have never got any further if she had told him the truth to begin with, but I’ll guess we’ll never know. 

Madelyn for me was a really hard character to connect with, the fact that I was intrigued and invested in the story already was the sole reason I finished this book. Madelyn could be hugely frustrating. Bennett and Madelyn decided not to risk Bennett’s job (well actually Bennett decided) until he would no longer be her professor anymore, which would be eight weeks away. Bennett was so eager to be with Madelyn but was doing absolutely the right thing, they would spend time together outside of class at his place, but they did nothing but talk, sharing with each other their hopes, dreams and past relationships (well it was mostly Bennett doing this) and that’s why I liked Bennett, what he was doing was wrong, but he was being upfront and honest about everything. Madelyn used to mention her real age (16) in her head about 1000 times over the story, but decided not to tell Bennett the truth until the day they decided to be together. If Madelyn really cared about him, didn’t she think it would be the right thing to tell Bennett her real age instead of letting him assume she was 18/19 years old? 

The way the narrative was told too I found it was a bit odd, as it was told in a letter to Bennett. Madelyn would constantly remind us of this, so during her telling the story she would stop to ask Bennett rhetorical questions, which I would have rather have not had her do and just continue with the flow of the story. But again the need to know how things would end kept me wanting to read on. 

My review so far probably sound like a mini-rant, but honestly it’s not. I did have a couple of issues with The Truth about You & Me, but it ended up being a really poignant story. The second half was a lot better compared to the first half, we had the inevitable day to look forward to, would Bennett and Madelyn go through with it? Would Madelyn eventually tell the truth? And a character finally came through for me, I also found myself being able to appreciate Madelyn’s character in the end. I think I would have liked to have a chapter from Bennett, just so that we could experience everything he was feeling and going through especially during those pivotal moments. But I think Grace ended this book in the best possible, with closure for both characters.


23 comments:

  1. Won't read your review, because it's up next for me. 3 stars is a decent rating for a flawed book in my eyes though. I'm glad you were able to enjoy parts of it and I hope I will like it as much if not more.

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  2. I have seen this book around and this whole thing about letters seemed really interesting too me, but I think I'll let it pass. While it deals with different idea the MC is not really to my liking, nor is her family. I'm glad you enjoyed this one despite the issues. Great review :)

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  3. The Truth About You and Me has a gorgeous cover though its a little bad when you can't connect to the main character or understand her actions.Thanks for your review! :)

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

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  4. OH bleh, I really did not find it easy to like this one- the way it was written just ruined the experience for me.

    Lovely review though, hon! <33

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  5. I've seen a lot of 3 star reviews for this one. I actually started reading, but couldn't get into it (then again I only read a few pages!) so I don't think it's the book for me.

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  6. I'm really uncomfortable and turned off by student-teacher relationships for the most part and seeing that the MC basically lies about her age makes me even more uncomfortable, so I doubt I'd be reading this one. I do think the letter format is interesting - Why We Broke Up employs that method - but I hate when questions break up the flow of the novel too. I'm glad you still managed to like this, so thanks for the honest review, Jasprit!(:

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  7. Most of the reviews for this book have been "meh", so I have decided to remove it from my TBR.
    Judging from your review, I made the right decision because I know I won't enjoy the main character.
    In all honesty, she sounds selfish for not telling Bennett her real age. I think I would have liked this book better if it had been written in Bennett's POV.
    I'm glad that it ended up being a poignant read for you despite the issues.
    Lovely honest review, Jasprit!

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  8. I've heard a lot of fairly lackluster reviews of this one, which leads me to believe that it's just not the book for me. Student/teacher relationships can work really well if the author handles it with extreme care and, unfortunately, it sounds like that's not really the case here. I doubt this is for me, but I appreciate your fantastic review, Jasprit! :)

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  9. I'm not usually very keen with teacher/student relationships and I have a feeling that Madelyn may irritate quite a bit so I'm not entirely sure if I should give The Truth About You & Me a go.

    Anywhoo, I'm glad you enjoyed this read despite having a couple of problems with it. :) Lovely review!

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  10. I think this would be a really frustrating read for me Jasprit because I don't deal well with stories where one character is keeping a massive secret. It causes me so much stress that I know something so important that the other person doesn't know, and just waiting for that secret to come out is enough to have me continually setting the book aside out of nerves! I'm special, I know:) I'm glad we get closure in the end though, that's definitely something I would need with a story like this!

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  11. Fab review, Jasprit. Have to admit that I am quite cautious about starting this one and it's a shame that Madelyn drove you up the wall a bit, sounds like it will be the same for me but at least you kind of enjoyed it :)

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  12. Nice review! I can see how the MC would be very frustrating. I'm not sure I could handle reading this one, because she's hiding her age. Otherwise, I think student/teacher relationship storylines can be quite fascinating.

    -Lauren

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  13. Jasprit, your review didn't sound like a mini-rant at all! I can see how you were intrigued by this concept because it's so wrong but you just HAVE to know how Grace and Bennett end up, I know I would. To be honest, I would be annoyed with Grace's dishonesty in their relationship, but Bennett seems like a really nice guy. I'm a little apprehensive about the letter-format, but crossing my fingers it works out for me. Wonderful review, Jasprit!

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  14. The cover looks so enticing. Sorry this didn't really float your boat, Jasprit. Liking a character is a big selling point, isn't it? It's a maker and breaker for me as well. And if this is a rant, this is the nicest I've read ever. ;)

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  15. I have this one for review and I am intrigued by the subject matter. Telling a book in letter format is tricky and it sounds like this wasn't perfectly executed. Still I am glad the ending tied everything up nicely!

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  16. This one sounds so interesting. I like how in your review you point out both the good and the bad!

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  17. I seriously want to smack parents like that. Your kid is not your toy or you reliving your life. Stop being so controlling and *talk* to your kid. Those who are under such pressure and control like that are the most likely to do something stupid or crack. Poor MC!

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  18. love the cover, and your review's wonderfully balanced. I don't think I'll add it to my TBR list.

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  19. I just have to give this one a try because I love issue book, but so sorry that M isn't the easiest character to read through

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  20. I'm glad this story ended up redeeming itself for you, Jasprit. I can appreciate not connecting with a main character and it's very frustrating. Thanks for your thoughtful review. :)

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  21. ehh.. it sucks when you can't connect to a character in a book... It's pretty hard to enjoy a book when you don't enjoy the characters huh? Great review, Jasprit!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  22. This does sound compelling, and I love the letter format. But, I'm not a big fan of student/teacher relationships. At least when the student is underage. And I know Bennett doesn't know, it's just this is a subject that's hard for me to like. Thanks for the great review, Jasprit!

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  23. I really liked the sound of the premise for this one when I heard about it, and it has a forbidden romance, which is always interesting. But, I am disappointed to hear about the main character! I hate it when you can't connect, it really drags the story down. But, I am glad the author wrapped it up nicely. I am looking forward to seeing as how she did that. Thanks for the honest review, Jasprit! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

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