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The Truth About the Thing

Erin reviews Lauren Barnholdt's The Thing About the Truth, a charmer of a book which no less makes her glad she's not still a teenager.

The Truth About the Thing

BOOK REPORT for The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

Cover Story: Zombies in Love
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: He Said, She Said
Bonus Factors: Teenage Drama
Relationship Status: Stand It Down Buddies

Cover story: Zombies in Love

Holla!  This was one of the books we've critiqued, based solely on its cover.  And I still maintain that this girl is gazing off into middle distance because she's thinking about brains.  Tasty, tasty brains.  This book, however, is not about zombies; so much for TRUTH IN ADVERTISING!!  Stupid cover, making me think I was going to read a zombie book when it's actually a romance.   BAH!

The Deal:

Kelsey has just been kicked out of Concordia Prep school and has now enrolled in Concordia High.  Her parents are pissed that she lost her scholarship to swanky Concordia Prep, her so-called friends have been avoiding Kelsey like the plague, ever since the incident, and Kelsey herself is panicking that she's set back her Ivy League dreams so completely.  So when she meets Isaac, a refugee from too many prep schools to count and the son of the state senator, she instantly hates him.  Why does this guy get to coast through life, skipping around to prep school after prep school, while Kelsey's whole life was ruined after one mistake?

But chemistry can't be denied, and it isn't soon until Kelsey and Isaac are snuggling bunnies.  Kelsey, wanting to look good on her college applcations, and Isaac, wanting to look good to Kelsey, form the Stand It Down committee - a group of kids from Concordia High and Concordia Prep learning that they aren't so different after all.  It all sounds good in theory, but when the day ends up sending a few people to the hospital, Kelsey and Isaac have a lot to answer for.

BFF Charm: Meh 

It's not that I didn't like Kelsey.  I actually really did.  I just didn't BFF like her, you know?  Like, I would totally go to Chili's with her after the football game, and I'd probably sit next to her in Homeroom and discuss what happend over the weekend.  But I wouldn't call her directly after having been at Chili's with her and freak out over how cute our waiter was, you know?

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Well!!  Barnholdt certainly knows how to deliver the goods, cause the swoon in this book was HUM.MIN.A.  I got tingles right along with Kelsey when Isaac leaned in to kiss her, and when they were doing more than just kissing?  SWOON CENTRAL.  The secrets and misunderstandings that get in the way of Isaac and Kelsey's love affair are very, very high school, though.  Which is a good thing!  Since the characters are in high school.  But it made me so happy that I am an adult now, where petty drama doesn't touch my relationships.  I mean, except for the drama when certain people refuse to give Friday Night Lights a chance and still find Family Guy funny.  That's VERY dramatic.

All that said, the reason I deducted three points from the scale is due to Isaac's issues about women.  If I'd taken a shot each time I read a crack from Isaac about women drivers or women in general, I'd be pretty drunk.  Isaac, I'm giving you a pass cause your dad is a dick and you're still young.  But your casual misogyny isn't big and it's not clever. 

Talky Talk: He Said, She Said

Isaac and Kelsey take turns narrating the events leading up to Stand It Down day for the superintendent.  I like any romance told in alternating narratives; it gives me all sides of the story!  And seeing things from Isaac's view definitely made me like him way more than I would have normally.

Bonus Factor: Teenage Drama

Teenage drama is never REALLY a bonus factor, but the great thing about this book is how Barnholdt weaves an entirely plausible element of drama and angst through Kelsey and Isaac's relationship, which nonetheless made me thank several deities that I don't have to relive those years. 

Casting Call:

Bridgit Mendler as Kelsey

I have an eight year old.  We watch A LOT of Disney. Mendler's pretty charming in Good Luck Charlie.

Nick Krause as Isaac

Relationship Status: Stand It Down Buddies

I'll be honest, book, when I first saw you, I didn't think you were my type.  After all, I'm a VERY SERIOUS BOOK CRITIC and you were a book that may or may not have been about zombies.  So when I asked you out earlier this week, I figured it'd just be something we both got through.

But you surprised me, book!  I was charmed and entertained by you, and next thing I knew, it was past midnight and we were STILL hanging out!  That's crazy!!  So I really am glad I took a chance on you, because you were super fun to be around.  Still, I think it's best if we just hang out on days when Shizz Is Getting Real - that way I know I'll have someone in my corner who can make me laugh.

FTC Full Disclosure:  I received my free review copy from Simon and Schuster. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!). The Thing About the Truth is in stores now!

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.