After her stepfather Joe returns home from serving in the Second World War, 15-year-old Evie Spooner believes that things can now return to normal. No more rationing, no more faking, no more worrying with her beautiful mother Bev if he will be in a particular battle on a particular day.
However, things from Joe’s war past seem to come back to haunt him, and he spontaneously moves his family down to a hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. There they befriend the Graysons, a wealthy-looking couple, and Peter Coleridge, a handsome young man who knew Joe from the war. Joe doesn’t seem to like Peter, and Evie can’t figure out why. She certainly likes him very much, as they go out to town together with Bev and occasionally have romantic encounters.
But something is seriously wrong with this group. Lies, betrayals, and hatred arise, culminating in a devastating event that forces Evie to choose whether to be loyal to her parents or be just. Bev can’t hide Evie behind a makeup-less face and childish dresses anymore; it’s time for Evie to grow up and face the complex adult world.
Judy Blundell packs so much into this small but giant book. Issues regarding anti-Semitism, family loyalty, love, growing up, and lying all come up, among others. While I thought Evie seemed over-the-top naive sometimes with relationship tensions that are obvious to readers, Blundell does a fantastic job of making her grow up through the book. What I Saw and How I Lied is by no means perfect, but it’s a good read if you’re looking for a historical suspense coming-of-age story.
Tags: YA, historical, mystery, WWII, lies, betrayal, family loyalty, coming of age
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