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#49 What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Fifteen-year-old Evie Spooner lives in post World War II New York with her mother, step-father, and grumpy grandmother. She’s in a hurry to grow up, dreaming of days when she can smoke, wear lipstick and date boys. When her step-father, Joe Spooner, receives a mysterious phone call, he shocks the family by announcing a sudden trip to Palm Beach, FL. The next thing Evie and her mother know they’re in their car and heading south for an extended vacation. Evie longs for a life of glamour like in the Hollywood movies, and it’s here that she finds it. What she also finds is secrets. Secrets about her parents, secrets about the friends they make, and secrets about Peter Coleridge, the mysterious young man she meets and falls in love with.

What I Saw and How I Lied
is Judy Blundell’s first novel not written under a pen name (she writes Star Wars Novels under the name Jude Watson), and it’s a strong debut. The novel has already won honors and awards, Including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, for its suspenseful tale of a young woman rushing headlong into adulthood and the horrors she fines there. From the start Blundell does a very good job of crafting a strong narrative voice. She writes in a very minimal manner, as if all of the fat has been trimmed away leaving nothing but the essentials behind. This not only makes for a quick read, but an enjoyable one as well. As a narrator, Evie does some pretty silly things, but most of her poor decisions are made because of her innocence. As a result, I found myself feeling bad for her, while another narrator would have frustrated me. I enjoyed watching her growth from a naive girl to a woman with purpose. One of the things I liked the most about the book was the end when Evie… well I don’t want to spoil it.

After reading What I Saw and How I Lied, I found it quite deserving of the praise that’s it’s received from both the public and literary community. It’s bare style, strong characters, and suspenseful plot, was quite fun to read. One thing I cannot comment on is the accuracy of the historical fiction aspect, as my knowledge of the late 1940s is not that strong, but I’ve heard no complaints. I think this book has some crossover appeal. It should appeal to more than just young adult readers.

Rating: four and a half stars
Length: 284 pages
Source: Lewiston Public Library
TBR Pile: 144 books
Similar Books: Nothing I can think of right now…
Other books I've read by this author: This is my first

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