Thursday, February 12, 2009

What I Saw and How I Lied

WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED: Judy Blundell: Scholastic: Young Adult Fiction: 284 pages

Following WWII and her stepfather’s return from the war, 15-year-old Evie and her parents travel to Florida, where Evie falls for a young ex-GI, pulling her into a grown-up world of deceit that culminates in a boating trip that lands Evie on the witness stand for a murder trial.

This dark mystery and coming of age story won the National Book Award in young adult literature in 2008. It’s notable for its sense of time and place but it feels more like an adult novel than a teen story, not least because the circumstances around the murder remain a mystery and Evie’s world is almost entirely populated by adults whose actions force her to face adult ethical issues at a young age. Well-written but unsettling, this novel will likely most appeal to adult readers, although there’s no content that would be inappropriate for high school students.


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