BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

What I Saw and How I LiedNo matter what you ultimately think of the story here, reading this book will no doubt elicit strong  lasting emotions. As I’m convinced the less you know about Judy Blundell’2008 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature winner, the better your own reading will be, you might want to stop right here and just go order it from your local library or bookstore now.

If you’re not yet convinced, here are some volatile teasers: post-World War II anti-Semitism in the U.S., inexplicable greed in taking advantage of the worst tragedies, a mother and daughter possibly in love with the same young man, and never knowing the truth.

At 15, Evie is on the cusp of womanhood. Together with her glamorous mother Bev and her World War II veteran stepfather Joe, she finds herself in posh Palm Springs, Florida, where handsome young Peter enters the family’s lives, claiming to have an intimate war history with Joe. No one and nothing are as they seem, and Evie is about to experience some of the most difficult, challenging events of her young life …

Okay, so here’s what I still can’t get out of my head: why does Evie never question what Peter – a virtual stranger – tells her about his alleged past with Joe? Why does she never ask her stepfather – the most important man in her life – any questions about his version of the truth?

The strength of Blundell’s addictive book certainly lies in the not-knowing … not just that her characters will never know certain truths, but we readers remain completely unsure by book’s end, as well. As the chapters pass quickly, the doubts and questions multiply – Bev’s past, Bev’s relationship with Peter, Joe’s relationship with Peter, what really happened to Peter on that boat – and, of course, no easy answers emerge.

This is definitely an intelligent title not to be missed, not just for the fantastically noir-ish entertainment, but even more so for the ruminating, wondering, questioning you will continue to do long after the final page.

Readers: Young Adult

Published: 2008


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