Review: The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

I could not put this book down. The Things We Wish Were True follows a group of neighbors over one summer. Everyone is keeping secrets, and they unfold slowly in this character-driven novel. The characters are brought together by a boy’s near-drowning at the neighborhood pool. The book switches between many characters, and that’s what kept my interest since character-driven books aren’t usually my thing.

Jencey has recently moved back to Sycamore Glen to live with her parents. She runs into Bryte, her former best friend, at the neighborhood pool. Bryte is now married to Jencey’s first love, Everett. Jencey begins falling for Lance, a father of 2 whose wife left them many months ago. His next door neighbor, Zell, is almost like a mother to the group. Her children are grown now, and she’s been feeling a little lost. Add in Cailey, the older sister of the almost drowned boy, and the mix is complete.

The characters are quite diverse, but they all have their own struggles. I loved them all. I blew through this book in just a couple of days. I had to know what the secrets were, and I wanted to see everything work out well for all of the characters. This novel was just pure delight to read. I need to get my hands on more books by Marybeth.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact does not in any way impact my thoughts/feelings about the book.


This book is the She Reads Book Club fall selection. Read reviews from other members of the blogger network on the website.

The Things We Wish Were True
Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Lake Union Publishing
September 1, 2016

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

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