What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell.
Paperback, 284 pages.
Publication Date: November 1, 2008.
Published by Scholastic Press.
Murder and intrigue surround a girl in this mystery set in American in the aftermath of WWII
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.
The hardest reviews to write are the ones where you just don't have much to say about the book. That was how I felt about this one. I just don't have any strong opinions. Because of that, I'll be keeping this review short.
Evie is a young, naive girl whose family is much more complicated than she ever imagined. She looks at the world through very innocent glasses. She doesn't understand much about growing up, which her parents adamantly try to keep her from doing. Nor does she understand much about the war that just ended, or how it may have affected people unlike herself. Her main focuses in life are her best friend, how to get the boy she has a crush on, and how beautiful her mother is. For most of the book she seems not only naive, obviously, but frankly a little flat. She has wants and dreams but until deep into the book, they're very light, fluffy wants. I wasn't extremely interested in her until quite a ways into the story, so I just wasn't all that invested.
When her family travels south for a spontaneous vacation, she meets and begins to fall for Peter, who was in the army with her stepfather, Joe. Evie and her mother begin to take day trips with him while Joe talks business with another man staying at their almost-vacant hotel. Their happy vacation slowly degrades as the façade of the perfect couple her parents appear to be chips away and a family secret comes closer and closer to being revealed. The mystery of the plot kept me intrigued so I wanted to keep reading so discover what happens. I was also glad at the way Evie grew over the course of the novel. I wanted more from her at the beginning and she was closer to what I had hoped for by the end. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I just never felt fully satisfied with the characters or the movement of the plot.
It's not that I didn't enjoy this book, but I didn't love it. I really didn't feel strongly either way. It was good, just not anything really special in my opinion.