What I Saw and How I Lied

January 20, 2011 Audiobook Review, Book Review 5

What I Saw and How I Lied
Author: Judy Blundell
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 288

About the Book: 

When Evie’s father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe’s company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.
As she begins to realize that almost everything she believed to be a truth was really a lie, Evie must get to the heart of the deceptions and choose between her loyalty to her parents and her feelings for the man she loves. Someone will have to be betrayed. The question is . . . who?

My Thoughts: This book has been sitting on my shelf since it won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2008. The cover and  time period really appealed to me; I just could never seem to get around to it! I ended up getting the audiobook from the public library and listening to it in my car. I’d recommend it. The narrator was good and fit with the story. 
I’m a little torn with this book. Overall I enjoyed it. I loved the way the setting was built and the time period related facts. It takes place right after WWII. It was interesting to read about all the things that were now available due to the end of rationing. Also, the fashion is so fun! 

I found Evie an authentic teen narrator. She’s concerned with friends, boys, fitting in, fashion… all the things teens still think about today. Evie is still learning who she is and where she fits in the world. She wants to do “the right thing” but doesn’t always know what that is. 
As the book progresses Evie comes to understand hard truths. Her mother is not perfect. Sometimes doing the right thing hurts. People lie, even those who care about you. Fighting a war does not stop injustice. All these things serve as stepping stones in Evie’s journey. 
The mystery and intrigue are subtle and well done. We see everything unfolding through Evie’s eyes. As a reader you will likely make connections that Evie doesn’t make or before she makes them. She doesn’t have the objectivity that we do. 
The part that leaves me torn is the love interest. Evie is about 15 and she falls for a man who is in his 20s. It fits the story and the author isn’t promoting that kind of relationship. Maybe it’s the teacher in me but it was SO HARD for me to get past that!
Overall a great read. I don’t want to say more for fear of spoiling it!

5 Responses to “What I Saw and How I Lied”

  1. Demitria

    Sounds really interesting. I think it’s not uncommon for a young girl to crush on an older man…I haven’t read it yet though, so I don’t know if it will make me uncomfortable yet. I’ll have to check it out.


  2. Annette

    I really enjoyed the book when I read it. I thought the relationship was realistic. I love historical fiction, and I though the setting was well described. Great review!

  3. YA Bibliophile

    I should have clarified… I get her having a crush on him… it’s HIS actions toward her that made me uncomfortable! I just couldn’t help but think… creeper!!

  4. Melissa

    I’ve had this in my TBR for awhile now, also. Honestly I didn’t even remember what it was about..thanks for the refresher. I think it will move to my getting read soon shelves, as I love that time period too.

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