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WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED by Judy Blundell


by Judy Blundell

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-439-90346-2
Publisher: Scholastic

Spontaneously moving to Florida seems like a dream come true to 15-year-old Evie, her mother, Beverly, and her stepfather, Joe, newly home from World War II. They move into a mostly abandoned hotel in Palm Beach, where Evie meets her first crush, Peter, a war buddy of Joe’s. After a deal with a New York hotel owner falls through, Peter dies, and Joe and Beverly become murder suspects. What Evie sees turns out not to be much at all, and how she lies about it takes up a grand total of ten pages. In fact, what she sees are only small, deceptive fragments of a larger scandal involving money that Joe and Peter stole during the war, fragments left for the reader to piece together. Awkward Evie, slowly gaining worldliness through her new surroundings, is interesting to follow, but the book falls prey to too many conventions: The first major plot twist comes at exactly the halfway point, a second plot twist around the three-quarter mark, and the denouement contains just the required amount of symbolism. Disappointing. (Mystery/historical fiction. YA)