Dakota McCloud has a plan. She’ll leave behind the artists’ colony of her childhood ― hippie dad, tofu since birth, yurt ― for the prestigious art school she has been accepted into. There she’ll join her boyfriend and best friend on the East Coast. Dakota has it all planned out, until her plans all fall apart. Turns out her boyfriend and best friend “hooked up” behind her back. Hurt and betrayed, Dakota writes out her feelings on a piece of paper, places it in a bottle, and hurls it into the ocean. Except once again her plan fails; the bottle doesn’t end up in the ocean…
Jack Sauvage (I sincerely hope I don’t mess up and accidentally type “Sausage” at some point) finds the bottle and responds to Dakota’s letter. While doing so, he creates a persona he thinks she’ll love to mask his “straight-laced” personality from the free-spirited Dakota. With each letter, they slowly fall for each other. Now Jack wants to make this on-paper romance a real-life romance… without revealing his deception.
The Truth About Jack is at times so outrageous that it unintentionally becomes a caricature of all cliche YA romance novels. We have the whole “opposites attract” idea ― hippie girl meets good guy. Think your average romance plot with cheating. We have the tension between the inner self and the outer self, the person we are inside verses the person we project ourselves to be. And of course we have the insta-lust. I refrain from using “insta-love” or “love at first sight” because I believe love cannot be determined in an instant, cannot occur simply by looking at someone. Of course, the author does not share my view, so she makes the mutual attraction between Jack and Dakota instant.
The best stories in The Truth About Jack aren’t the ones involving Jack and Dakota. A lot was going on in the background involving Cody, River, and Attila that I would’ve loved to see resolved. (I’m going to name drop for now without any explanation to keep that air of suspense.) While Jody Gehrman’s main story lacked charm and poetic beauty, the rest of the the book, albeit not very much, was steeped in it.
Jody Gehrman’s novel is definitely worth the read, although I was unsatisfied with much of it. Definitely read The Truth About Jack if you want a “filler” romance novel.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Publisher: Entangled (April 14th, 2015)
Length: 192 pages (Kindle)