Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Book Review: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

If you like old film noir movies (think Casablanca, the Maltese Falcon, Key Largo, and Chinatown) you'll love What I Saw and How I Lied, the 2008 National Book Award winner! If you've never seen a Humphrey Bogart movie, think reluctant anti-heroes, mystery and intrigue, criminal intent, dark and sultry romance, moral ambiguity, lots of lipstick and lies, fabulous clothes, and all set in the 1940s.

It's 1947, and even though her mom can't seem to let her grow up (seriously, what will happen if a girl puts on a little lipstick?!?) and they live with her Grandma Glad (who does NOT live up to her name), life is great for Evie, especially since her fun stepdad, Joe, came home from the war. Everything changes, though, the night Joe receives a strange phone call and suddenly decides to take Evie and her mom, Bev, on a surprise trip to Palm Beach, Florida.

At first, their impromptu vacation seems fantastic- Evie gets to miss out on the first few weeks of school, it's off-season for tourists so they have the hotel to themselves, and Evie meets a gorgeous GI, Peter, who seems to be interested in the Evie her mom can't see- the grown-up Evie who wears lipstick. But why are Joe and Peter so weird around each other, almost like they're afraid, even though they were in the war together? Where does her mom go all day, when she says she's golfing? And why can't she ever seem to get Peter to herself... without Mom?

As the web of lies surrounding Evie, her parents, and Peter grows more tangled, the tension and suspense in this atmospheric mystery build like a hurricane to almost uncomfortable levels as Evie finds herself hurtling toward the discovery of who the people she loves really are... and what they're capable of.

On this last day of '08, check out the best book of the year (according to the National Book Award committee) @ the library!

(Who will be starting Madapple by Christina Meldrum after the New Year, which promises to be bizarrely awesome!)

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