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Cover image for What I saw and how I lied
Title:
What I saw and how I lied
ISBN:
9780439903462
Edition:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, 2008.
Physical Description:
284 p. ; 22 cm.
Reading Level:
HL 620 L Lexile
Summary:
In 1947, with her jovial stepfather Joe back from the war and family life returning to normal, teenage Evie, smitten by the handsome young ex-GI who seems to have a secret hold on Joe, finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies whose devastating outcome change her life and that of her family forever.
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Summary

Summary

Murder and intrigue surround a girl in this mystery set in American in the aftermath of WWII

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.


Author Notes

Judy Blundell is a pseudonym for Jude Watson. She is an author of several books for young adult, middle grade and adult readers. She is best known for books set in the Star Wars universe written under her real name Jude Watson. Her debut in this series came in 1998 when LucasBooks recruited her to write the Star Wars Journal "Captive to Evil by Princess Leia Organa". She is also the author of three series that include approximately 40 books: Jedi Quest, Jedi Apprentice, and The Last Jedi.

Her other books include the romance series: Brides of Wildcat County, Premonitions, Disappearance, The High Season, and three books in the 39 Clues series.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

Blundell, author of Star Wars novelizations, turns out a taut, noirish mystery/coming-of-age story set in 1947; it's easy to picture it as a film starring Lana Turner, who is mentioned in these pages. When first met, 15-year-old Evie and her best friend are buying chocolate cigarettes to practice smoking. Evie sheds that innocence on a trip to Florida, where her stepfather, Joe, back from the war in Europe, abruptly takes her and her beautiful mother, Beverly, and where Evie falls in love with glamorous Peter, an army buddy whom Joe is none too happy to see. But after a boating accident results in a suspicious death and an inquest, Evie is forced to revisit her romance with Peter and her relationships with Joe and her mother, and to consider that her assumptions about all three may have been wrong from the beginning. Blundell throws Evie's inexperience into high relief with slangy, retro dialogue: Peter calls Evie "pussycat"; Beverly says her first husband "kicked through love like it was dust and he kept on walking." Readers can taste Evie's alienation and her yearning; it's a stylish, addictive brew. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

In this sophisticated thriller, 15-year-old Evie grows up quickly when she discovers her adored parents are not the people she thought they were. While on vacation in Palm Beach in 1947, Evie's parents, Joe and Bev, get involved in a shady business deal with the Graysons, another couple on holiday. Meanwhile, Evie begins a flirtation with Peter, a handsome ex-GI who served with Joe and just happens to be staying at their hotel. Evie soon learns that Peter's presence is no coincidence and that he threatens to uncover a terrible secret that Joe has kept since the war. Then Bev, Joe, and Peter go boating, but only two of them return. Evie must sort through secrets, lies, and her own grief to find the truth. Using pitch-perfect dialogue and short sentences filled with meaning, Blundell has crafted a suspenseful, historical mystery that not only subtly explores issues of post-WWII racism, sexism, and socioeconomic class, but also realistically captures the headiness of first love and the crushing realization that adults are not all-powerful.--Hubert, Jennifer Copyright 2008 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-It's 1947 and Evie's stepfather Joe has returned home to Brooklyn after World War II. Life is slowly returning to normal, until the devastatingly handsome Peter Coleridge appears, looking for his old war buddy. Joe, obviously upset by Peter's appearance, decides to take Evie and her mother on a vacation to West Palm Beach, Florida. Evie's family quickly makes friends with another New York City couple, the Graysons, and Joe and Mr. Grayson begin to make business plans. Then Peter appears and Evie, who is almost 16, begins falling in love with him. She doesn't find it easy to spend time with him because her mother accompanies them everywhere. Tensions mount as Joe's hatred for Peter and her mother's infatuation with the younger man grow and put Evie in the middle of something she does not understand. When tragedy strikes and Peter disappears during a sailing expedition with her parents, Evie must determine who is lying and what is the truth in order to save her family. Judy Blundell's National Book Award winner (Scholastic, 2008) translates well to the audio format, with Caitlin Greer perfectly capturing Evie's voice in this intricate coming-of-age novel that is compelling blend of romance, adventure, mystery, and historical fiction.- Janet Hilbun, Texas Women's University, Denton (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Guardian Review

Some book titles are so good the book itself has a great deal to live up to. Who could fail to be intrigued by the title What I Saw and How I Lied ? Questions spring to mind. What did they see? Why did they lie? Who are they? In this, her debut novel, Judy Blundell more than does her title justice. Set in America after the second world war, the book is narrated by Evie and concerns events when she was 16. A rites-of-passage tale, it is primarily set in an out-of-season Palm Beach hotel where, as in the society of the time, something rotten lies beneath a fading veneer of respectability and splendour. The reason Evie is there with her mother, Beverly, and stepfather, Joe - in the rainy season, when those in the know give Palm Beach a wide berth - is an apparently spur-of-the-moment decision by Joe. But Blundell, if not Evie, hints all may not be what it seems. Joe and Bev married when Evie was nine, after GI Joe returned from the war. A photographer from Life magazine took a picture of them on the steps of City Hall. The headline ran: "And the dish ran away with the spoon". Evie's not in the photo because she doesn't fit the postwar fairytale. The sense of period is nicely evoked and never overplayed. There's talk of Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce. Fashions are beautifully conveyed. But where Blundell really scores is with the nuances and vagaries of the time. Every era has its own conventions and dirty secrets, and she teases these out and weaves them into Evie's desire to step out of the shadow of her blonde bombshell mother. At the hotel, Evie is smitten by a fellow guest, Peter Coleridge, whose good looks, charm and sophistication win over the ladies - though not Joe, who was in the same army unit overseas. Friction ensues. One might expect a novel concerned with society's injustices and set in 1950s America to centre on the segregation of black from white. But though Evie acknowledges this with a passing reference, Blundell has her sights set on something far more surprising to a young British readership: antisemitism. At the end of a war in which six million Jews were murdered by those whom the likes of Joe fought, not all white people are equal under the star-spangled banner. At one stage, the hotel manager confronts some long-stay guests. Having discovered they're Jewish, he asks them to leave: "We trusted that you were Gentile . . . It is an established Palm Beach custom. I understand that you people are happier in the Miami area." Blundell is one to watch. Her believable characters inhabit a very real world, and she chooses her words with care. This book is not called Why I Lied, remember, but How. Ponder that. Philip Ardagh's Stinking Rich and Just Plain Stinky is published by Faber. Caption: article-ardagh.1 One might expect a novel concerned with society's injustices and set in 1950s America to centre on the segregation of black from white. But though [Evie] acknowledges this with a passing reference, [Judy Blundell] has her sights set on something far more surprising to a young British readership: antisemitism. At the end of a war in which six million Jews were murdered by those whom the likes of [Joe] fought, not all white people are equal under the star-spangled banner. At one stage, the hotel manager confronts some long-stay guests. Having discovered they're Jewish, he asks them to leave: "We trusted that you were Gentile . . . It is an established Palm Beach custom. I understand that you people are happier in the Miami area." - Philip Ardagh.


Kirkus Review

Spontaneously moving to Florida seems like a dream come true to 15-year-old Evie, her mother, Beverly, and her stepfather, Joe, newly home from World War II. They move into a mostly abandoned hotel in Palm Beach, where Evie meets her first crush, Peter, a war buddy of Joe's. After a deal with a New York hotel owner falls through, Peter dies, and Joe and Beverly become murder suspects. What Evie sees turns out not to be much at all, and how she lies about it takes up a grand total of ten pages. In fact, what she sees are only small, deceptive fragments of a larger scandal involving money that Joe and Peter stole during the war, fragments left for the reader to piece together. Awkward Evie, slowly gaining worldliness through her new surroundings, is interesting to follow, but the book falls prey to too many conventions: The first major plot twist comes at exactly the halfway point, a second plot twist around the three-quarter mark, and the denouement contains just the required amount of symbolism. Disappointing. (Mystery/historical fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

Blundell, the pseudonymous author of a number of "Star Wars" series books for children, completely surprised me with this story of a girl's loss of innocence. Evie's stepdad is home from World War II and eager to be back with her movie star-gorgeous mother. The family travels to Palm Beach, FL, ostensibly for a little vacation, but Joe's past follows in the form of Peter Coleridge, a handsome young charmer who served with him. Then Peter turns up dead, and Evie's parents are the prime suspects. Now Evie must find her own path between the truth and the lies she learns everyone has been telling. Why It Is a Best: Straightforward language belies the masterly storytelling in this 2008 National Book Award winner for Young People's Literature. Here, our narrator is both unreliable and unflappable. Evie starts out more than a little naOve, and her maturity comes with hard-won experience. Why It Is for Us: At its core, this is a mother-daughter book in which the daughter learns how to make her way in a world where she can no longer trust in the adults around her. Blundell does not shy away from the uglier aspects of the time-anti-Semitism and the tension between men returning home and the women who held down the fort while they were gone.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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