Thursday, January 8, 2009

What I Saw and Why I Lied by Judy Blundell

What I Saw and Why I Lied by Judy Blundell
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (November 1, 2008)
National Book Award Winner

My Rating: 5 Stars

This is a smartly written coming of age novel filled with mystery, secrets and lies and the author's voice sings on the page. It takes place in 1947 and Evie Spooner is almost 16. Her stepfather, Joe, has been focused on building a post-war life for Evie and her mother since his discharge from the military but when a stranger begins calling the house looking for him, he suddenly wants a change of scenery. He whisks them away to sunny Florida, ignoring their protests. Once in Florida, Evie meets a young man. She'll never look at boys again.

The book is written from Evie's point of view. She's a likable, intelligent girl. She doesn't think of herself as pretty because her mother is quite a looker. You can't help but be drawn into her story that begins with the dreamy, wishful thinking of innocence as it teeters on yearning's edge. It ends as she's pushed over the side into painful awareness, truth and maturity. Her eyes are opened. She sees a new self and a different world.

This is not just a coming of age story or a tale of first love. Important elements like racism, religious intolerance, the atrocities of war are the backdrop in which the story is told. I highly recommend this book.

On a different note, some may get tired of me rambling on about how I love the way a book is written or that an author can make words sing. What I Saw and How I Lied is a beautiful example of why I say such things, what ranks up a book for me and why I get so enthusiastic about a book. Here are some passages that I want to share:

"I breathed in the night air. Why did the air here smell like a pocketful of promises?"

"The world seemed to fall away and arrange itself around him, and it was perfect."

"I understand the word swoon. It felt that way, like sweep and moon and woo, all those words smashed together in one word that stood for that feeling, right then."

"The wave of fury crashed and rolled back between them."

"My pulse seemed to have escaped its usual place."

And my favorite:

"He kicked through love like it was dust and he kept walking."


  1. Fabulous quotes! I wanted to highlight so many lines in this book--the "swoon" part stood out to me as well. I LOVED this one.

  2. I've been wanting to read this one for a while, I can't wait to get my hands on it and read it :)

    BTW-I haven't read need, I was thinking about reading it but I guess I'll wait just a little bit longer before getting to it. :) There's just so many books out there I don't want to waste my time on the ones that are bad.

  3. I awarded you with the Premio Dardas Award. Go to my blog for more details.


Thanks for the feedback. Be well, and happy reading!

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