Happy Friday, everyone! I am super excited to be a part of the blog tour for Everything I Knew to be True by Rayna York! I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely contemporary romance, perfect for fans of Love & Gelato and The Moment We Fell. The story follows Cassie, a girl sent to live with a friend of her mother’s, whom she never even knew existed. She is thrust into a world completely foreign to her, but she learns to live and love with new people and a new home. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on Everything I Knew to be True!
Everything I Knew to be True by Rayna York
Publisher: Toad Tree Press
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 12, 2019
It was never easy for Cassie and her mother, struggling to make ends meet in their tiny apartment in The Bronx, but they had each other and that was enough. When her mother dies suddenly from an aggressive form of cancer, Cassie is forced to finish high school in California while living with the wealthy family of her mother’s closest friend—a women she never knew existed.
Living with the Stanton’s is the complete opposite of what she’s used to—the massive house, a father figure,and Cody, the spoiled, insanely good-looking son with the bedroom across the hall.Broken with grief and struggling to fit in, Cassie meets Mila, a female powerhouse that helps her cope with a hidden past, the overwhelming present, and a shared experience no one should have to endure—a nightmare they both thought was over.
Warning: Although this book is classified as Young Adult, I recommended it for mature readers due to explicit language.
Thank you to the author and publisher for providing copies for review! Huge thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for organizing this blog tour!
Cassie made for a lovely main character and narrator for this story! Even though I have read several books with similar storylines, I found that Cassie was very unique. She had an excellent personality that fit well with the mood of the story, and I could feel her emotions with clarity. She was very realistic, given her situation in a house full of new people, and I appreciate that she took time to grieve and adjust to her new life.
Cassie was definitely a deep, complex character. She struggled at times with so many things happening at once, but she was ultimately able to grow and become stronger through several trying situations. I loved watching her growth and acceptance as the story went on. She learned to do the right thing and to stay true to herself, no matter the circumstance, which is a positive message to girls everywhere.
Now, Cassie’s relationship with Cody is a bit of a different story. For the most part, I enjoyed their relationship and found it cute! However, there is still a part of me that felt they would have been better off as just friends. In my opinion, he gave off more of a best friend/brother vibe than that of a love interest. That said, Cody was always very supportive and caring towards Cassie, especially in her darkest moments. He always cared for her and could offer a bit of fun when she needed it.
Roxanne, Cody’s mom and the mysterious friend of Cassie’s mother, was so loving and wonderful, and I loved seeing such an amazing mother figure in a young adult book! It seems like we often have parents that are terrible, but Roxanne was amazing! She was so willing to help Cassie adjust and would do anything to make her feel at home.
Plot & Writing
Overall, I felt the plot was really good! There was always something happening, and each event kept the story moving forward. There were not any scenes that didn’t contribute in some way to the continuation of the story. There were also several surprising moments, and I felt the build up and the events themselves were written well!
The writing style is very contemporary, and there are a lot of strong words, as mentioned in the warning. I actually really appreciated that the author included that warning, as the language was not a surprise once you started reading. I definitely enjoyed Cassie as our narrator, and her voice allowed her to be relatable. I could easily feel her emotions and experience the events right along with her!
I don’t always include a section about themes in my reviews, but I do love to look back and think about the various themes of a book. (Maybe this is just my inner language arts student coming out!) Everything I Knew to be True involved a very powerful and important theme: learning to stick up for yourself and what is right. There are a couple of intense scenes where some wrongdoing occurs (more on that in a minute), and we can see that Cassie struggles with these things that have happened.
Ultimately, Cassie discovers, both within herself and through others around her, that she must be willing to stick up for herself and what she believes is right, even when that means going against the person who has done wrong. This is an incredibly important and inspiring message, especially for girls, and I greatly appreciate the effort given to show people that standing up is the right thing to do.
I know there are some controversies over trigger warnings, but I have not seen any mention of the content in this book thus far. There are several scenes and discussions of sexual abuse, sexual assault, and rape throughout this book. I had no idea of this when I read the book, though I appreciate the warning for explicit language, and felt I should include an additional warning for those who would like to know beforehand. I know topics such as these can be triggers for some readers, and I feel it is important for readers to know what kind of content they will be exposed to.
About the Author
Rayna York grew up with hippie parents that liked to adventure, so being the new kid was always a challenge.Where change was the norm, books were her constant–a way to escape. As an adult, many careers came and went, but writing has always been her passion. Everything I knew to be true is her first published novel.
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Chat with me! Do you often read books with similar plots or ideas? Do you like books with strong themes?