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What I Saw and How I Lied

Narrated by: Caitlin Greer
Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 13 & Up
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

National Book Award, Young People's Literature, 2008

Evie slowly finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies in this brilliant mystery, which won the 2008 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
©2008 Judy Blundell (P)2009 Scholastic, Inc.

Critic reviews

"In this sophisticated thriller, 15-year-old Evie grows up quickly when she discovers her adored parents are not the people she thought they were. While on vacation in Palm Beach in 1947, Evie's parents, Joe and Bev, get involved in a shady business deal with the Graysons, another couple on holiday. Meanwhile, Evie begins a flirtation with Peter, a handsome ex-GI who served with Joe and just happens to be staying at their hotel. Evie soon learns that Peter's presence is no coincidence and that he threatens to uncover a terrible secret that Joe has kept since the war. Then Bev, Joe, and Peter go boating, but only two of them return. Evie must sort through secrets, lies, and her own grief to find the truth. Using pitch-perfect dialogue and short sentences filled with meaning, Blundell has crafted a suspenseful, historical mystery that not only subtly explores issues of post - WWII racism, sexism, and socioeconomic class, but also realistically captures the headiness of first love and the crushing realization that adults are not all-powerful." ( Booklist)

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Profile Image for Jan
  • Jan
  • 13-03-12

Wonderful read, but not for the young, young adult

National Book Award winner for a reason...beautiful writing, unique style and complex characters... as an adult I enjoyed immensely. The reader should be comfortable with the issues of a daughter and mother both loving the same man, a possible murder by the father, overt discrimination, lying in court and to parents and a sexual encounter by 14 yr old trying to go all the way. They are not written in a profane way, however, emotions are real and intense. I wouldn't want my bright middle schooler to be anywhere near this... but the senior in high school would be ready for the numerous themes that weave beautifully and cause one to think deeply.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Frances
  • 29-06-12

I couldn't stop listening!!!

What I Heard and How I Lied is a coming of age novel set during the time period of post-World War II. The novel is full of nostalgic descriptions of full skirts, pumps dyed to match dresses, late afternoon cocktails, pot roast with mashed potatoes, smoking as sexy habit, and Palm Beach as an exotic location. What I Heard And How I Lied also addresses in a very subtle manner issues of segregation, anti-Semitism, soldiers recovery from war trauma, war time opportunism, gender roles, sexual politics and dark greedy motives. This book took me completely by surprise. I am not sure what I was expecting, but it was definitely not a novel that begins slowly with a young and naïve teenager and progresses into a story of a young adult learning the truth about her parents. The subject matter is not unique, but Judy Blundell manages to present the story in a very fresh way.

There is something is so appealing about the coming of age story, the abandoning of naïveté, and first feelings of love; is there a better setting for these themes than post-World War II 194os? Ms. Blundell gives us a back a time in our history when smoking was sexy and lipstick was always apple red. The set-up is done so well, the reader is able to easily settle back into the idea that America used to be comfortable, predictable and simple. But this story is not about a simplistic free time in America. Once the reader relaxes back into the past, the thread of darkness and greed slowly winds itself around the book.

I could not put this book down (or actually, I could not turn off the audio book), while the setting and characters seemed familiar nothing about it was typical or rehashed. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical novels driven by characters and young adult novels.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kaui
  • 12-07-12

Intrigue, moral ambiguity and coming of age

2008 National Book Award for Young People. Almost 16 Evie Spooner moves through August and September experiencing adult intrigue between her mother, her Veteran stepfather, a young GI Peter and a Jewish couple in Palm Springs. She begins the story wanting to wear lipstick and smoke cigarettes and ends the story the mature adult of the lot, having made difficult decisions that most of us thankfully have not had to face. This is an excellent read, and a great way for young adults to explore moral ambiguity.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Donna
  • 06-02-12

Good YA read

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

It was recommended to me by my daughter, and I enjoyed it. Not too deep, but it kept me listening.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Scott P. Selverian
  • 19-12-19

For older YA readers

My favorite part of this was the interview with the author. I liked hearing about her inspiration and how the story took shape.
I read the book to see if it would be good for my 12 yr old, and the themes are too mature (mom & daughter smitten with the same man).
The story moves along, but the characters are a bit one-dimensional/simplistic/unloveable, so at the end I wasn’t attached to any of them.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-04-19

Great Story!

A simple family. A complex time. Everyone wanted to make their dreams come true. Wow.

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  • Valerie Rodriguez
  • 29-01-19

hooked!

So worth the credit I used. I could not stop until I finished it. Thank you Judy!

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  • Gmac
  • 05-11-18

Expert story craft

Excellent story and I’m glad I read it! The author skillfully evoked each setting and emotional layer artfully. From languid Florida days it builds to a speeding train that I couldn’t stop listening to.

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  • RueRue
  • 04-08-18

Palm Beach, 1947

This is a "mature" YA book. 15 year old Evie is confronted with a number of difficult emotional and moral choices, and realizes that the adults in her live are not always truthful. Good narration.

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  • Warnie
  • 19-07-12

Rough start, but ultimately pretty good!

I had a little trouble getting into this at first, mainly because I hated the voices that the narrator of the audiobook used for all the men in the story, and how the voices she used for the women sort of kept changing. But I did eventually get sucked in, and I listened to most of it in one sitting. I wasn't all that fond of Evie for the first half of the book or so, but her character grows up a lot during the last third, and I really like how Blundell finished this. It's not what I was expecting it to be, but that's a good thing!