04 May 2009

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

There are few words that could capture the essence of Evie’s world as she falls in love for the first time. Nobody is sure what to make of Joe Spooner’s decision to take his wife, Beverly, and her daughter, Evie, on a spur-of-the-moment “vacation” to Palm Beach, Florida during the autumn months just after his return home from World War II. At the Le Mirage Hotel, they meet Tom and Arlene Grayson, “The Swanks” who could make classy look like it was going out of style, and Peter Coleridge, a self-proclaimed “buddy” of Joe’s from the war who steals Evie’s heart with just one dance. Evie is stuck in that place that most girls get stuck in at some point or another: she wants to be grown up, feels grown up, but is constantly treated like a little girl who doesn’t know, feel, matter. Peter makes her feel all of those things. Joe doesn’t like Peter, and especially doesn’t like Peter hanging around his wife and daughter all day. When the hurricanes hit, Joe and Bev go missing for a time and Peter winds up dead. It is up to Evie to find out what happened and make everything right again.

While reading this story, we might forget to care how it ends, but only because we have found ourselves reading largely for the pure joy of the words. The characters are real people, the story forms a world around us, and we don’t realize that we’re reading about history, that we’re coming closer to the mystery’s surprise, or that we’re holding a book at all, for we’re so immersed in the life that is being brought alive before our eyes.

Recommended to high school readers. This novel breaks the boundaries of genre. (Have I mentioned that the cover art is a. maz. ing?)

Call number: YA BLUNDELL (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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