What I Saw and How I Lied

What I Saw and How I Lied

3.9 81
by Judy Blundell

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This National Book Award winner set during the aftermath of WWII is now available in paperback! When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in… See more details below


This National Book Award winner set during the aftermath of WWII is now available in paperback! When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Blundell, author of Star Wars novelizations, turns out a taut, noirish mystery/coming-of-age story set in 1947; it's easy to picture it as a film starring Lana Turner, who is mentioned in these pages. When first met, 15-year-old Evie and her best friend are buying chocolate cigarettes to practice smoking. Evie sheds that innocence on a trip to Florida, where her stepfather, Joe, back from the war in Europe, abruptly takes her and her beautiful mother, Beverly, and where Evie falls in love with glamorous Peter, an army buddy whom Joe is none too happy to see. But after a boating accident results in a suspicious death and an inquest, Evie is forced to revisit her romance with Peter and her relationships with Joe and her mother, and to consider that her assumptions about all three may have been wrong from the beginning. Blundell throws Evie's inexperience into high relief with slangy, retro dialogue: Peter calls Evie "pussycat"; Beverly says her first husband "kicked through love like it was dust and he kept on walking." Readers can taste Evie's alienation and her yearning; it's a stylish, addictive brew. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)

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VOYA - Ava Ehde
This smart 1940s coming-of-age novel is steeped in noir mystery, suspense, deceit, scandal, and lies. Fifteen-year-old Evie lives in the shadow of her mother's glamorous beauty, amidst the intense changes wrought upon daily civilian life by the impact and the ending of the Second World War. Her stepfather Joe's return from war put the family on a new track headed down to Florida where they stay in a posh hotel, meet wealthy and intriguing guests with secrets of their own, and Peter, a young, handsome veteran and the focus of Evie's first crush. The reader finds herself peeling awkward little Brooklyn Evie like an onion, page by page, until a confident, in-control, and mature Palm Beach Evelyn emerges. The courtroom inquest drama is both suspenseful and pleasurably unpredictable near the end. The author's use of stylish language and imagery carries the reader through a full range of greed, desire, hidden agendas as well as an underlying layer of anti-Semitism. The use of dialogue is impressive. Her mother says "I loved him like a fever. Then he left. He kicked through love like it was dust and he kept on walking," when explaining Evie's birth father. This exceptional 2008 National Book Award-winner develops into a page turner within the first few chapters, and it would make a great pleasure read or classroom assignment to get the flavor of the era, but it unfortunately may take some selling because of the setting and period. Reviewer: Ava Ehde
Judy Beemer
Judy Blundell creates a fast-paced, suspenseful look at the after-effects of World War II through the eyes of fifteen-year-old, wanna-be-eighteen, Evie. The war has ended; Evie's stepfather has returned home safely and takes Evie and her mother on an unexpected trip to Palm Beach, Fla. Evie falls in love with movie-star-handsome Peter, only to discover herself caught in a web of lies spun by her family. Suddenly, the protected and innocent teen stands to lose everything she holds dear, and anti-Jewish sentiments of the war become personal issues. Blundell deftly fashions Evie as an innocent but glamour-struck post-war teen who must almost instantly develop the integrity and self-reliance to make impossibly tough judgments. Evie is fascinatingly multifaceted as she approaches adulthood in ways she—and readers—never anticipated. Reviewer: Judy Beemer
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Judy Blundell has crafted a noir novel for YAs set just after WW II. Evie is a sweet, naive young teen being raised by her mother and her stepfather Joe, an Army veteran. One evening, Joe comes home late from work and receives a phone call that annoys him. On what feels like a whim, he packs up his wife and stepdaughter and heads to Palm Beach for an extended vacation. At the hotel, they meet several couples and become quite close to the Graysons, another New York couple. But for Evie, everything changes when Peter Coleridge asks her to dance. Peter is older, a war veteran who knows her stepfather. Peter pays her the kind of attention she's never had before and she is quite taken by him. As a hurricane comes barreling into Florida, the reality of the relationships comes clear and Evie is caught up in saving her family and in making amends for her family's actions. The story deals with adult themes, but will hold the attention of mature readers as the truth and its implications are slowly revealed. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

In 1947, 15-year-old Evie, her mother, Bev, and her stepfather, Joe, leave Brooklyn for a vacation in Palm Beach, FL, during the off season. There they meet Arlene and Tom Grayson, who lavish attention on the family and convince Joe to go into the hotel business with them. When Peter, an army acquaintance of Joe's, appears, Evie is smitten by his charm and attention. Her budding interest in romance, while protectively discouraged by her parents, is actually encouraged by Arlene, who helps Evie develop a sense of style. Evie enjoys her outings with Peter and interprets her mother's insinuating presence as protective, when in reality Bev is having an affair with the younger man. Joe's jealous distrust of his wife, established while he was at war in Europe, does not obviate the intimacy between Bev and Peter. Evie's closeness to her mother will not permit her to acknowledge the affair even when it becomes impossible to deny. Meanwhile pervading anti-Semitism sours the hotel deal, and the Graysons are forced out of Palm Beach. When Joe insists on one last boat trip, Peter dies during a storm and Joe is accused of murder. It is during the ensuing hearing that Evie learns that adults, even those closest to her, are not always what they seem. Blundell navigates this multidimensional plotline with unique, well-developed characters and insightful dialogue. Yet it is Evie and her rapidly maturing perception of herself and those around her that carry the story. In many ways she becomes the adult in the group, motivated by truth and justice rather than greed or superficial appearances.-Sue Lloyd, Franklin High School Library, Livonia, MI

Children's Literature - Jody Little
Fifteen-year old Evie is thrilled when her step-father, Joe, returns home from World War II, but she is even more excited when he suggests a family trip to West Palm Beach, Florida. Once in Florida, the family meets Peter Coleridge, a handsome ex-GI, who happens to know Joe. Evie finds herself attracted to Peter instantly, and begins seeing him regularly, usually with the accompaniment of her mother. As the days progress, Evie notices her parents' behavior change. Joe seems moody and angry, and he spends much of his time with another couple, Mr. and Mrs. Grayson, arranging a future business deal. Evie's mom disappears for hours at a time leaving everyone wondering where she has been. When Peter reveals to Evie a terrible secret about his actions in the war that included her step-father, Evie keeps the secret safe. Soon afterwards, though, Peter and her parents go on a boat trip during a hurricane and Peter is lost at sea. What Evie learns about her step-father, her mother and Peter sets off a storm within her and leads her to make some of the most difficult decisions of her young life so far. This 2008 National Book Award Winner is an unforgettable novel with romance, twists and surprises that leave the reader thinking about the horrors and prejudices of war. Readers may question Evie's final choices, but they will certainly think long and hard about how far they might go to protect the people they love most in the world. Reviewer: Jody Little

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
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Barnes & Noble
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File size:
300 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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