LIEby Caroline Bock
Everybody knows, nobody's talking. . . .
Seventeen-year-old Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she's the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she's seen, but how long can she keep it up?/p>/b>/i>
Everybody knows, nobody's talking. . . .
Seventeen-year-old Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she's the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she's seen, but how long can she keep it up?
But Jimmy was her savior. . . .
When her mother died, he was the only person who made her feel safe, protected from the world. But when she begins to appreciate the enormity of what has happened, especially when Carlos Cortez, one of the victims, steps up to demand justice, she starts to have second thoughts about protecting Jimmy. Jimmy's accomplice, Sean, is facing his own moral quandary. He's out on bail and has been offered a plea in exchange for testifying against Jimmy.
The truth must be told. . . .
Sean must decide whether or not to turn on his friend in order to save himself. But most important, both he and Skylar need to figure out why they would follow someone like Jimmy in the first place.
“Avoiding preachiness, Bock handles the novel's multiple viewpoints exceptionally well, rotating among the painfully believable voices of high school students and adults. Her characters may keep the truth inside, but their story reads like a confessional.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Realistic and devastatingly insightful, this novel can serve as a springboard to classroom and family discussions. Unusual and important.” Kirkus (Starred Review)
“Told in several voices, Bock creates a suspenseful, gripping, and powerful novel that will keep readers on their toes.” Library Journal, Starred Review
This effective, character-driven, episodic story examines the consequences of a hate crime on the teens involved in it.
Bock focuses mainly on Skylar, a shy girl, and on her loyalty to her boyfriend Jimmy, whom readers soon learn has beaten a Salvadoran immigrant to death. Although Jimmy's in jail, the police have little evidence against him. "Everybody knows. Nobody's talking," runs the mantra among the high-school crowd that knows full well Jimmy beats up Latinos every Saturday night. The author alternates short chapters written from different characters' points of view. Readers get to know the involved teenagers and their families, as well as the victim, his brother and their mother. By portraying, simply and without comment, the reactions of the various characters, the author conveys the horror of the crime and the devastating effects on all involved, including those responsible. Sean, Jimmy's best friend and companion on the fateful night, can't deal with his guilt but also knows he dare not tell the truth. Lisa Marie sticks by Jimmy with no doubts. Skylar never doubts her love for Jimmy but faces a difficult choice when it transpires that the truth must come from her, or it will not come out at all.
Realistic and devastatingly insightful, this novel can serve as a springboard to classroom and family discussions. Unusual and important. (Fiction. 12 & up)
- St. Martin's Press
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 249 KB
- Age Range:
- 12 - 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
I should be in calculus, reviewing for the final, not at the police station. Or I should be in the school parking lot, deciding on whether to cut class and go to the beach with the other seniors. Or at the diner with Lisa Marie. Or even home. I should be anywhere but here.
“Let me tell you about Jimmy,” I answer Officer Healey. “Jimmy stands up for his friends, keeps his word, and is the star of the varsity football and baseball teams. He couldn’t have planned to hurt any Mexicans. Especially brothers. Jimmy has a little brother.” I’ve been here for over an hour, being asked about Jimmy, about last Saturday night. I sit up straighter. “And it’s important for you to know that I’ve never called anyone a ‘beaner,’ and I’ve never heard Jimmy use that word either.”
Officer Healey hunches over, slashes down notes, not disagreeing or agreeing. He has sprigs of red hair, watery eyes, and he winces as if thinking hard. He could be any of my friends’ dads, a coach of soccer or Little League, a worrier, a sideline pacer.
“No one at school ever talked about going out and jumping Hispanics or other foreign nationals just for fun? No one used the term ‘beaner-hopping’? No one said anything like that in school?”
I shift toward the edge of the metal chair to keep my balance. I wish I were taller. I run my hands through my hair. I should have brushed it back, worn something other than black, practiced smiling like Lisa Marie suggested.
“Anything more you want to tell me? Better to do it now, Miss Thompson.”
He clears his throat.
“One more question. Was Jimmy Seeger the mastermind?”
My father shifts next to me. He’s a big man and they’ve given him a wobbly chair. “Lookit, my daughter isn’t a liar.”
“I’m just telling the officer you have nothing more to say.”
Officer Healey stands as we stand. My father’s chair crashes to the floor and breaks apart; he folds the pieces on top of the table like a broken body.
“Just so you know, the victim, Arturo Cortez, is in bad shape. He’s in the ICU. If he dies, we charge your boyfriend with murder. As an adult. He’s eighteen. One more time, is there anything you want to add?”
“What about the other brother I read about?”
“The younger brother, one Carlos Cortez, had minor injuries. He’s the one that got their license plate. Bright kid. He’s been released from the hospital.”
“Lookit, if we’re finished, we’re finished,” says my father, avoiding eye contact with either the police officer or me.
I hesitate. I have one more thing to ask. “When can I see Jimmy?”
“You’re not,” answers my father.
“His family’s got to post bond,” responds Officer Healey. “If not, the county jail allows twice-weekly one-hour visits. That’s for nonattorneys.”
“Two visits a week?”
“This isn’t summer camp,” says Officer Healey, squinting hard. “To visit, you got to be eighteen years old, with a valid ID, or be accompanied by an adult.”
“Forgetaboutit,” says my father. “The whole thing. Forget about it. Let’s go.”
“My birthday is this week, or should we ‘forgetaboutit’ too?”
He studies his scuffed-up work shoes.
“Any more questions?” asks the police officer hoarsely.
I will myself to say nothing. I have a million more questions racing through my head but I only shake my head. This was the plan. Everybody knows. Nobody’s talking.
The officer follows us out to the main entrance. “If there’s anything else you can think of, please give me a call. We appreciate your cooperation.”
My father slips the card into his EMT uniform.
I know I will have nothing more to say.
From the top of the steps, Officer Healey watches us drive away. I ease my mother’s car, a red Mustang, my car, through the choked police parking lot. Mastermind is racing through my head. Jimmy isn’t that smart. I mean, he is smart—he was a Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
I drive slower than usual.
I don’t know how it happened, last Saturday night. It wasn’t supposed to happen. But all I have to do is say nothing and it will be Jimmy and me in the Mustang going east, going out to Montauk as planned. Say nothing; he’ll be back.
My eyes lock in front of me. I estimate thirty, twenty, ten feet to go, and I’m free, except I’m going the wrong way.
“Make a right here,” instructs my father. “A right. Your other right.”
I make a sharp right to the exit of the police parking lot.
My father then starts in about food. Going to lunch at the diner. Burgers and oversized onion rings. A vanilla milkshake, he ventures. Since it’s Monday he doesn’t have to be at work until four p.m. His insistence surprises me. We haven’t been out to eat since my mother died. I shake my head at the diner suggestion. I want to get back to school and find Lisa Marie and tell her exactly what I said. Our hope is that Jimmy and Sean will be out on bail sooner than later. They were arrested on Sunday. Twenty-four hours without Jimmy is about as much as I can bear.
“You okay?” my father asks, not really wanting an answer.
So I answer him with a question. “You know I was there, Saturday night?”
“I don’t want to know.” He sighs. Adds to the space between us. “I don’t need to know.”
I jump the Mustang into traffic.
Copyright © 2011 by Caroline Bock
Meet the Author
Prior to focusing on her writing, Caroline Bock headed the marketing and public relations departments at Bravo and IFC cable networks. She is a graduate of Syracuse University, where she studied creative writing with Raymond Carver, and The City College of New York, where she earned a MFA in fiction. She lives in New York on Long Island.
CAROLINE BOCK is the author of the critically-acclaimed young adult novel LIE. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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LIE takes a well planted step into the realm of new contemporary literature. While weaving a very disturbing story that explores a hate crime in suburban Long Island, the author, Ms. Bock, creates from several points of view, a "God View" of the actions, reactions and emotions of the characters in play. Ms. Bock manages to harness the perspective of ten different characters giving the reader a truly realistic feel for the events surrounding the teenagers in question. The reader comes away with a feeling that what he or she just read might actually have been a real incident disguised as fiction to protect the innocent. LIE follows four teenagers, after a night of questionable fun turns tragic. The teenagers responsible for the tragedy then pledge to stay quiet. The reader follows them as they continue to make bad choices and raising hard questions about morality and ethics that many readers will possibly relate to on some level. The dysfunctional Lisa Marie and the conflicted Skylar are two female characters that give the reader pause for thought. The author plays with themes that are traditional, but by no means old. She breathes new life into the genre with her style and well honed prose. Some readers may find the point-of-view switching disorienting or confusing. To avoid this feeling I recommend that when you pick up this book you accept the ride it takes you on. Don't try to impose "rules" that don't really exist. Take the time to accept the work as presented with the understanding that life doesn't play out in neat little linear vignettes. Life is jarring, it jumps here and there. Life is wonderful because it rarely reads dully from point A to point B. Although the story demographic is aimed at younger readers, adults will find plenty of good meat on the sturdy bones of this tale. The exploration of right and wrong along with the revelations made about how lives are impacted by other's actions is handled in a deft manner by the author. In short, LIE is a must read for the discerning reader looking for the best in new literature as well as for the casual reader looking for a read that won't disappoint.
Lie is an utterly heart breaking book about the decisions a group of people make in the aftermath of a hate crime. As someone who had a family member victimized by one, this novel was a very personal and emotional read for me. The novel is told through multiple POV and I don't mean just 2 or 3, but 10. While this allows the reader to see how various town's people are affected by the event, its also about 6 perspectives to many. I felt that some of the impact was lost because your constantly jumping from person to person. I think having Skylar, Sean, Lisa (Skylar's best friend) and Carlos' POV would have been enough for me since all 4 teens have very different views of what happened that night. Skylar and Sean are not the easiest characters to like, but still felt very real and complex. Both do some pretty questionable things in the novel and continually shut out the people who might be able to help them. While I did feel bad for the situation they both find themselves in, I in no way felt that they were victims. All the choices they made regarding Jimmy, let them to where the ended up. Half of the book is them coming to terms with those choices and the difficult directions their lives might be heading in because of them. With all that being said, you still root for them. You want them to move past what's happened and become better people because of it. Of the 4 teens, I felt Lisa was the least likeable character. She lacked depth and cared more about her social status then anything or anyone else. I really didn't enjoy reading her chapters at all. However I also felt that her POV was important and that without it, you wouldn't get to see the incredible pressures teens can place on themselves and each other. I also really wish more time had been spent with Carlos. As the victim's brother, his POV was the most impacting and Carlos home life seemed the most interesting. He gets only a short section of the novel and I felt that his chapters were some of the strongest and most engaging. The simplistic writing style, structure and directness of the story allows for a very quick read. Author Caroline Bock easily gets her message of tolerance across without shoving it in your face. At certain points in the novel some characters, or situations felt rather cliche but I actually think this was done on purpose to show how often we use stereotypes in society. My own personal connection to a story like this, made reading certain scenes very hard for me. For a short novel I often had to stop reading completely. Many years ago I felt many of the same feelings that Skylar and Carlos feel in the novel; fear, uncertainty, anger, loss... Though the novel isn't perfect, I think it does a pretty remarkable job of handling a sensitive topic, like a hate crime, and showing the fallout of those directly effected by one.
Starred Review - Kirkus Reviews: Author: Bock, Caroline Review Date: July 1, 2011 *"This effective, character-driven, episodic story examines the consequences of a hate crime on the teens involved in it. Bock focuses mainly on Skylar, a shy girl, and on her loyalty to her boyfriend Jimmy, whom readers soon learn has beaten a Salvadoran immigrant to death. Although Jimmy's in jail, the police have little evidence against him. "Everybody knows. Nobody's talking," runs the mantra among the high-school crowd that knows full well Jimmy beats up Latinos every Saturday night. The author alternates short chapters written from different characters' points of view. Readers get to know the involved teenagers and their families, as well as the victim, his brother and their mother. By portraying, simply and without comment, the reactions of the various characters, the author conveys the horror of the crime and the devastating effects on all involved, including those responsible. Sean, Jimmy's best friend and companion on the fateful night, can't deal with his guilt but also knows he dare not tell the truth. Lisa Marie sticks by Jimmy with no doubts. Skylar never doubts her love for Jimmy but faces a difficult choice when it transpires that the truth must come from her, or it will not come out at all. Realistic and devastatingly insightful, this novel can serve as a springboard to classroom and family discussions. Unusual and important. (Fiction. 12 & up) --Kirkus Reviews Note: Kirkus Reviews is a noted publishing trade journal. I don't think you want my review of my own book:) Buy, read, judge for yourself.
Really good book
I make stupid mistakes everyone does this book shows the effects
I expected this book to make me uncomfortable, after all it's about a hate crime. But, I really didn't expect to dislike the way I did. I think my main problem was with the way people rallied around Jimmy. Everyone seemed to think he was this great guy and there was no way that he could have attacked anybody, let alone kill them. But, it's like they are all delusional to his true character. As the story comes out, we realize that people are great about seeing what they want to see. This story is also a perfect example of how hate breeds more hate. In the end, I disliked Jimmy's dad way more than I disliked him. I actually disliked Lisa Marie a lot too. I couldn't understand her motive for being on Jimmy's side. She didn't even see what really happened. She was down right nasty to Skylar, who is suppose to be her best friend. I think part of it stems from jealousy, but she really rubbed me the wrong way. I also thought this story had way to many viewpoints. Someone new would be thrown in just for a short little section never to be heard from again. It was trying to paint a picture of the kind of person Jimmy (and his dad) was. But, all it did for me was make the story feel disconnected. A let down for sure. It could have been great!
To lie or to come clean. Skylar Thompson has to decide whether to free her boyfriend Jimmy by keeping silent or speak the truth and face its consequences. To love or to let go. Jimmy helped Skylar come to terms with her mother's death and makes her feel loved, but how can this Jimmy be the same one who brutally assaulted a couple of immigrants? To make things right or to leave it wrong. When Skylar finally makes a decision, will anyone be there to support her? LIE is laid out a little differently from other books in that it weaves the story from multiple perspectives. Everyone has different reactions and mixed thoughts about what happened, and I think it was interesting to note that Jimmy was the only one who stayed silent except through other viewpoints. I can see why LIE had been told via different characters, but I feel that there were too many cooks in the kitchen - and no one seems to stand out enough from each other. For me, it is obvious that hate crime is unacceptable - but I am not sure if LIE truly a undeniably strong message of how wrong it is. It shows a few teens and adults who want to make things right, but it also shows other teens and adults who see no big problems with what happened. After I finished reading this book, I was still left wondering if LIE will make any difference - if it will change the minds of those who see no problems with bullying and targeting those who are different.