The Undoing of Thistle Tate by Katelyn Detweiler | ARC Review

Posted August 11, 2019 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Undoing of Thistle Tate by Katelyn Detweiler | ARC ReviewThe Undoing of Thistle Tate by Katelyn Detweiler
Also by this author: Immaculate
Published by Margaret Ferguson Books on July 23, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 272 •Source: Publisher

Thistle Tate is a glittering wunderkind--only seventeen, and a bestselling author of the wildly successful Lemonade Skies series, with the highly anticipated final book due to publish next year. She has diehard fans across the globe, flashy tours, and steep advances. And now she's finally started to date her best friend and next-door-neighbor, Liam, the only one who knows her deep dark secret: she's not the real author of the Lemonade Skies books.

Thistle's guilt about lying intensifies after she meets the surprisingly charming Oliver, who introduces her to his super-fan little sister--but how can she have friendships based on deception? All she wants is for this last book to be written so she can be done with the ruse for good.

Then with just two weeks left to deliver the manuscript to her agent and editor, a dramatic turn of events puts everything in jeopardy, and Thistle must grapple with her own identity. Is she a victim, a fraudster, or both? On top of that, Liam is increasingly jealous of Thistle's budding friendship with Oliver--a friendship that leaves Thistle more than a little confused about her own heart.

As the book deadline looms closer, the stakes ever higher, a startling family truth comes to light, and it's only a matter of time before something gives--and Thistle's world becomes undone.

For fans of Rainbow Rowell and E. Lockhart, this YA is the perfect summer read for teen bookworms everywhere, with a love triangle, an insider's depiction of the publishing world, and nonstop, page-turning action.

*Thank you so much to Holiday House Publicity and the Publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!*

I’ve been a fan of Katelyn Detweiler’s since I read her debut novel, Immaculate, which explored themes of faith, religion, and miracles in modern society. I found it incredibly well written and thoughtful in its approach to question the inexpiable. So when I was offered the opportunity to read her newest novel that provided an inside look into the publishing world, I quickly accepted.

The Undoing of Thistle Tate follows Thistle, a prolific teen author who has penned a famous YA series, Lemonade Skies. As a book blogger, the plot rang true from reading about Thistle’s promotional tours to her worry and anxiety about reviews rolling in. It’s a YA book about the YA book community in a lot of ways which was fascinating and fun to read about. The story also included excerpts from the fictitious Lemonade Skies series which was a fun touch that paralleled what was going on in Thistle’s life.

However, as mentioned in the synopsis, Thistle has a secret- she’s not actually the author of the bestselling series, and it’s actually being ghost written by somebody else. Thistle’s “fame” has alienated her from most of the outside world and coupled with her mom’s death at a young age, she pretty much only has one friend (her next door neighbor and inevitable love interest, Liam).

In a turn of events that will probably surprise no one, Thistle’s ghost writer is unable to meet her final deadline and it’s pretty much all downhill from there. She frantically tries to extend deadlines and put out fires, hoping no one asks too many questions while secretly penning her own ending to the trilogy. Meanwhile, she’s juggling a love triangle with Liam and the older brother of one of her super fans, and making mistakes and generally just trying to be a teen who is in WAY over her head. It was actually refreshing to see a teen protagonist who was allowed to make mistakes but wasn’t completely vilified either- I found Thistle to be a mostly neutral character with both positive and negative attributes that didn’t make me love her nor hate her. She’s just a person in a really bizarre situation that escalated WAY TOO FAR and is trying to do damage control when she should really just be hanging out with friends and doing homework like any other 17 year old.

A huge theme of The Undoing of Thistle Tate that I as a reader found to be most important was the manipulation and exploitation of a teen by adults. Though Thistle’s arrangement may seem glamorous at first (she gets to reap the rewards of being a teen author prodigy, is semi famous, will probably get into any college of her choice etc) it becomes clearer and clearer throughout the book how insidious and uncomfortable the arrangement is and how there’s likely no end in sight to the charade. As the synopsis states, readers have to reconcile whether Thistle is a fraud, a victim, or perhaps a little bit of both. The narrative also brings up a dialogue about exploitation by family members, how guilt and grief can live in such a similar space, and how suffering loss does not make one immune to being hurtful or cruel to others.

Overall: The Undoing of Thistle Tate was an interesting look at the behind the scenes processes of the YA book publishing world. While the love triangle felt like it weighed down the story a bit for me, it overall had a unique premise that I enjoyed, especially as a book blogger.

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