Monday, May 23, 2016

REVIEW: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

What I Saw and How I Lied is the 2008 National Book Award winner telling the story of 15 year old Evie Spooner. This is a tale full of murder, mystery and intrigue set just after World War II.

As Evie's step-father, Joe, returns home from the war, everyone is happy that life fell back to normal quickly.  However, Joe seems changed, bringing back far more than war stories. When he packs up Evie and her mother for an impromptu Florida vacation, their lives will never be the same.

Setting up in a dilapidated old hotel, Evie eyes are opened as she slowly learns that everyone has secrets.  When uber handsome Peter Coleridge, a 23 year old ex-GI who served in Joe's company, arrives in Florida, Evie finds herself caught up in a tumultuous scene.  Falling for Peter, she ignores the secrets surrounding him and his connection to her family until a horrific tragedy shatters her family as well as her perceptions about the world.

This is truly a stellar book. There's plenty of mystery and deceit but what I loved was the pacing and the overall theme of growing up and self realization.  Evie begins the novel an immature girl but as the narrative concludes she's progressed into a much more intelligent and world weary young woman. My heart broken for her that this sense of clarity and awareness had to come at such a steep price. I also admire the continued conversation regarding the persecution of Jewish families in the US even after the war.  I cannot speak more highly of the premise, character development or Blundell's writing style.  This is a YA novel worthy of its accolades. If you haven't yet read it, definitely add it to your list!

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @judymblundell




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