Monday, November 9, 2015

The Lies About Truth - Review

The Lies About Truth

By: Courtney C Stevens

Published: November 3rd 2015 by HarperTeen

336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.

Sadie grew up with a pretty tight-knit group of friends. She, Trent, Max, Gray, and Gina. Trent and Max were the brothers that lived next door. Gray was her boyfriend for like six years. And Gina was her best friend. But a car accident that involves the entire group rips through them all leaving them scarred (literally in Sadie’s case) and incomplete (missing Trent who died in the accident). Each person handles grief differently. Max and his family move to El Salvador within a month of the accident. Sadie’s injuries and scars along with her grief cause her to shut down and withdraw. (She and Trent were particularly close friends.) And Gray and Gina are in some ways forced to seek comfort from each other since Sadie won’t open up to either of them. There are a lot of dynamics at play here. Trent and Gina broke up the day of the accident. And it seems like everyone’s carrying some burden of secret on top of the guilt and grief they all feel.

The anniversary of the accident is coming up soon and things are about to change. Sadie’s parents are forcing her back into public school in the fall. She’s pretty much been voluntarily house bound since the accident. Sadie isn’t comfortable with herself anymore or her new scars. Gray and Gina hurt her in a deep way that she still feels pretty angry about. But things can’t stay the same forever. Max, who Sadie’s been emailing with since the accident and his move to El Salvador, is coming home. She doesn’t know if their new relationship is solid and will survive being together in person or if it’s just easier to talk to someone who isn’t there. Added to that someone has been putting messages in Sadie’s mailbox that are snippets of things she’s written (not really in a journal, but for the sake of easy explanations they were written in a journal like fashion) which means that someone’s gone through her personal things. She needs to figure out who. And the list of possibilities are limited to Max, Gina, and Gray.

There’s much I want to say and discuss, but I’m really trying to keep this review spoiler free. Ultimately this book is about healing, moving forward, closure with the past, and making steps toward a new future. Sadie does a great job of recognizing that she isn’t the same person she was before the accident. And even though she knows it intellectually, her friends aren’t either. Yet even as she resents her friends for wanting her to be the old version of herself, she wants the same from them. Courtney C Stevens did a really good job managing all of the emotions that come with surviving a tragedy like this and trying to move forward. Every step was well thought out.

I will say that when it came to the secrets that each person was keeping I found myself rolling my eyes. The biggest secret was something I’d read in a previous book almost exactly and in other books to different degrees so I couldn’t help feeling like it was a big cliché. Plus you don’t have to be a reader of my blog for long to tell that I usually find myself rolling my eyes when this subject comes up, especially in the last two years since it’s such a repetitive theme in YA literature these days. When this big secret was revealed I actually debated on just not reviewing this book at all because I’m so tired of discussing it. I knew that I wanted to finish reading the book so I decided to wait on making that decision until I finished it. Obviously, I have decided to review the book and that’s because the rest of the story’s dynamics hooked me and had me so completely invested. Despite my annoyances with this piece of the puzzle, I thought The Lies About Truth was actually very well written and I found myself highlighting a good bit.

My favorite quotes:

-“I like the way you think, Kingston.” “I like the way you understand, McCall.”

-Truth gets tucked into the strangest places.

-Jealousy was fast on the take.

-“You want change, make some.”

-“Sadie, forgiveness isn’t always returning to the old thing. Sometimes forgiveness is making an entirely new thing.”

-Sometimes a small thing was bigger than a big thing.

-Choosing forgiveness takes more courage (and far less energy) than sustaining anger.

-Sometimes the journey to let someone love you is the journey to loving yourself.

The Lies About the Truth ended up being a deeper, more complex, and more enjoyable story than I imagined. Having not read anything by Courtney C Stevens prior to The Lies About the Truth, I had no idea what to expect from this book or this author. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised, and the snippet for Faking Normal that was included in the back of my ARC version has me adding it to my TBR list immediately. I didn’t like the revelation of the biggest secret (or lie) as I’m so tired of this being used as a plot device in YA literature. I almost feel like it’s an easy out. But the rest of the book was strong enough to pull me through and still be willing to give The Lies About the Truth 4 Stars. Have you read The Lies About Truth? What did you think? Let me know!

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