To Be Perfectly Honest by Jess Vallance

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Am I writing reviews to avoid college work, or am I doing my college work to avoid writing reviews?  No one will ever know.  Here are my thoughts on To Be Perfectly Honest by Jess Vallance. 

To Be Perfectly Honest by Jess Vallance, Don't Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

To Be Perfectly Honest by Jess Vallance

Publication Date: 7th February 2019
Hot Key Books
Genre: YA
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
For fifty days, I, Grace Georgina Dart, promise to be completely 100% honest at all times.  When she uncovers a family secret, Gracie decides she’s had enough of lies.  Honesty, at whatever the cost, becomes her new pledge.   But how does total honesty go down when you’ve a family dinner to go to, a job interview to get through and a new girlfriend to impress?



At the time of writing, I’m currently fighting off yet another cold.  Body, why do you fail me?  I thought we were cool.   I had to take a day off work last week, as I didn’t have the strength to sit upright.  I did, however, have the strength to read, and in between multiple naps, I read the second instalment in the Gracie Dart series; To Be Perfectly Honest by Jess Vallance.  I also watched the 1992 film version of Wuthering Heights, just in case anyone was interested.

It was Friday night and I was on my way to a party. This was not a normal Friday night for me.

In To Be Perfectly Honest, we are reunited with Gracie Dart once more, and this time, she’s telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth for 50 days.  With a new job on the horizon, a new girlfriend to impress and even some new friends on the scene, is honesty always the best policy?

As I expected, To Be Perfectly Honest is another slice of Gracie Dart fun.  Witty and painfully relatable, I don’t know how she gets herself into these situations… but I sure love reading them.   Both of the Gracie Dart books have been so easy to read and get into, and I am always surprised at how fast I power through them once I get going.  I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed that To Be Perfectly Honest wasn’t as action-packed as You Only Live Once was.  There were also a few elements of the story that didn’t make sense to me, such as Gracie being able to travel to a different county seemingly without any form of parental permission.  The family secret that Gracie discovers wasn’t really that shocking in the grand scheme of things, and I personally didn’t think it warranted such a passionate response from Gracie about lying.   There is a sweet message in the story about how you shouldn’t judge people before you get to know them, as you may not know what they are going through, as well as a discussion on whether it’s okay to tell a little white lie every now and again – especially if you are a waitress!   Overall, To Be Perfectly Honest was an enjoyable read but I do think it was missing the spark that You Only Live Once had.

In To Be Perfectly Honest, Gracie is now at sixth form and has made new friends, and I enjoyed being introduced to some new characters, as well as this aspect of her character development.  I am still very much shipping Gracie and Sarah together, and I couldn’t get enough of their fledgeling relationship. My feels.  It made me chuckle to read that Sarah had a passion for BMX-ing, as I totally forgot that was an actual Thing. I love Till, Gracie’s best friend, and one complaint that I have is that To Be Perfectly Honest didn’t have enough Till.  More Till in the third book, please and thank you.  On a final note, I still don’t like Gracie’s younger brother Paddy, and I am not sorry in the slightest.

Even though I didn’t love To Be Perfectly Honest as much as You Only Live Once, I am still a big fan of the Gracie Dart series and I will continue to champion it where I can.  I hope the series continues, as it is a much-needed addition to the UKYA scene.   One of the things I love most about the series is how Gracie gets herself into these situations.   She isn’t whisked away to be a famous actress or called upon to save humanity, she’s just a normal teenager, saying the wrong thing or not thinking things through entirely.    Seeing as my generation grew up with Georgina Nicholson, it’s time for the new generation to have their own awkward hero in the form of Gracie Dart.  I am delighted to see the next instalment in the series is due in a few months time, and I already can’t wait to read what Gracie gets up to next.

Rating:  3* | Recommend? Yes

18th February 2019
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1 Comment

  • Reply kelsey

    I loved Jess Vallance book Yellow Room but I never picked up You Only Live Once. Not sure I will if the follow up is not so hot!

    19th February 2019 at 6:13 pm
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