THE SECRET TO LYING by Todd Mitchell


Age Range: 14 & up
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For James, a freshman loser with virtually no friends, reinvention comes in the shape of the American Science and Mathematics Academy, an exclusive public boarding school made up of nerds and geeks. He dyes his hair purple. He makes up wild street-fighting stories that awe his new friends. Pranks, stunts and dangerous trysts with bad girls ensue. Despite his new guise, James realizes he must confront the demons that give him nightmares and induce him to cut himself. When he meets Ellie, a beautiful, standoffish loner, he understands that the task is going to be much harder than expected. Mitchell tells a straightforward, from-the-gut story that mostly feels real, despite some hard-to-swallow moments at the end. His characterizations ring true, especially James’s hilariously goofy dorm mates. Comparisons to John Green’s Looking for Alaska can’t help but be drawn, however, especially since the two share so many similar elements. Despite the fact that Green’s work is miles ahead of Mitchell’s, the latter’s voice is definitely one to watch. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4084-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2010


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