By Jody Gehrman
Available now from Entangled Crush
Dakota McCloud is on cloud nine when she gets her acceptance to Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). It's the art school she's always wanted to go to, plus she'll be able to reunite with her boyfriend next year. But before she can share the good news, her best friend emails her to let her know that she's hooked up with said boyfriend. To deal with the extreme emotions of the day, Dakota writes it all in a letter which she stuffs into a bottle and throws into the ocean. A bottle Jack Sauvage picks up, because he wanted to meet Dakota and it came right back in on the next wave.
It's a pretty good setup for a romance, but I felt like yelling "No, no, no!" at the book when Jack decides to write back ... as Alejandro Torres from Barcelona. He knows Barcelona is the hook since Dakota says she wants to go there in the cafe where he first say her. And he feels like he can't introduce himself to her as himself because he's been idealizing her like whoa.
Now, I felt for Jack. He's pretty socially awkward, particularly since he was homeschooled after his best friend ODed. His last girlfriend dumped him because he didn't spend enough money on her, so he's not all that confident in his looks and personality as an attraction. But man oh man was I put off by the way he romances Dakota, both as Alejandro and Jack. He uses things she writes to Alejandro to make himself more appealing as Jack. Jody Gehrman does a good job of establishing in THE TRUTH ABOUT JACK that Dakota would like Jack without this malarkey, so the borderline stalking really left a bad taste in my mouth.
Dakota is the easier protagonist to like, since she isn't romancing anyone under a false identity. She's struggling with how to proceed next, and wondering if RISD is really her dream or if there are better ways to become a professional artist. I love that she's shown working on her art, even going to the landfill for parts. I also like how Dakota and Jack both reach out to other people in their lives for advice and help with relationships.
I think THE TRUTH ABOUT JACK is a super cute book with very real chemistry between the leads. But you just have to go with the premise. It's not something I would ever accept in reality, even though Jack does try to make things right. I preferred Gehrman's Triple Shot Bettys books, because I did have so much trouble with Jack's actions.