“The Truth About You and Me” is the second book I’ve read from Amanda Grace, and I actually didn’t think it was a bad story for the thematics it touched upon, between a story where a 16-year old girl falls for her community college professor and struggles within her own coming of age. But if you want to know the truth about what factored into my low rating of this particular novel – it really wasn’t the themes it touched upon as much as it was the actual writing of this story.
The writing style really bothered me, I can’t mince words about it. When you’re telling details through the entire narrative about what will happen, with no suspense for events or allowing the reader to come to terms with the events themselves, it does two things:
1. It makes it seem like the writer is talking *down* to the reader through the writing, like they can’t remember details that were cited only pages ago. There wasn’t really a need for a reminder that Maddie felt guilty over keeping the secret of her age as much as there was. It was overtold for details for what the length and nature of the book entailed. And there was the emphasis of what was going to happen before the matter came to a climax. Which leaves me to the second point:
2. Very little to no suspense/Tension killer. When details are told and emphasis made to the point where it’s overmuch, it’s not fun to read. There’s no anticipation built to the point where things come to a head and where the character has a true coming to terms with the weight of the matter. Granted, I understood this narrative was told from Maddie’s perspective in a series of a few long, unsent letters addressed to Bennett. I almost wish that the letters were broken up into smaller portions over time, and that they were more in the moment with more subtle cues as to what it would lead to.
I did think that the latter part of the novel where the event came to a head was realistic for the interactions between Bennett and Maddie. And the ending is less cruel for having something of a resolution versus my reading of “In Too Deep” – though I’ll say it came a little more quickly than I expected for the build-up. I thought it was realistic, though, and I can’t take much away from it on how it chose to address Maddie’s sentiments and grief towards the end. I just wish the build-up were better and that the narrative supported it in a way that didn’t feel like it beat me over the head.
There is a fine balance between telling a story of coming to terms for its young protagonist in the flawed and fumbling stages in which they live, and being able to show a tough issue for what it is. I’m willing to see if Grace can find that balance in her future narratives. I didn’t care for this story as much as I hoped I could, but I can give it the benefit of the doubt for tackling a tough subject and showing a girl who still has a lot of growing up to do.
Overall score: 2/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Flux.