What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (November 1, 2008)
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?
It's 1947 and Evie is a 15-year-old girl enjoying her teen life post WWII. Her stepfather, Joe has come back from the war and their lives soon turn into the American dream. Before Summer ends, Joe decides on a family vacation to ritzy Palm Beach, little did he realize that running never solved ones problems.
While in Palm Beach, Evie and her parents encounter several patrons at their hotel, but one particular couple quickly becomes fast friends with them and soon they are all inseparable. Then one dance with a handsome stranger turns their cozy group into something else all together. Evie begins to feel the first stages of young love and maybe it is because of this fact that she does not realize the web of lies and ultimate treachery that will soon complicate her life. When an unimaginable tragedy occurs Evie's world and the house of lies that it was built on begins to crumble and she must decide on which truths to bring forth and what lies to keep hidden thus signaling the end of her innocence.
While reading WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED I became completely absorbed with this story and within a few pages I was that girl in 1947. I fell in love with the style and ambiance of that time period for it was well detailed and described in this story. Judy Blundell did an amazing job of showcasing a time period that had an air of romance to it while bringing forth some of the ugly truths. One of the most disturbing moments to witness was the anti-Semitic treatment of the Jewish population in the united states during that time period along with the unspeakable crimes that were committed by some US soldiers during WWII. Yet, while this subject matter was harsh to digest it was secondary to a mysterious tragedy whose truthful unveiling will forever remain unanswered.
Although I could see some of the plot lines that were coming before they solidified before my eyes I still could not believe it. And unlike Evie I am not sure that I would want to know what exactly happened, for it would surely not bring forth any peace. I admired her strength and resolve and was left hopeful that her newfound knowledge would provide a change for the better.
After reading this novel I could not stop thinking about it. I understood Evie and her reasons for what she did but was haunted by that choice. Would I have done the same thing and what truly occured that tragic day? I will always wonder.
One of my favorite moments...
"This could be the worst thing, even worse than everything that came after: Even now, if I could go back to that moment--I wouldn't change a thing"