Tuesday, June 2, 2009

not just what happened

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: historical fiction, YA
Review: One good thing about this book is the particular aptness of its title. The book is not just about what happened, but about what Evie saw (or what she allowed herself to see), and yes, how she lied about both what happened and what she saw.

Not to worry, though, there are plenty of other good things about this book. It’s a good story, for one thing, and engagingly told. Evie is a well-written character. Her level of denial in parts of the book is a bit frustrating, but Blundell writes this aspect of her character, as well as how it changes, very realistically.

I have two fairly small criticisms: first, I'm not sure why Blundell chose to set this book in the early fall. Maybe so the timing of the hurricane would be more realistic? The problem is that by having Evie's family's sudden jaunt to Florida take place at the beginning of September, Evie misses the start of school, which nobody seems to care very much about (although there are a few mentions of how she's supposed to be studying on her own in Florida). Second, post-WWII slang is dispensed so judiciously as to seem forced. Either people use slang, or they don't. But even I must admit that these are nitpicky criticisms, and fade in comparison to the story itself.

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