Book: There Will Be Lies
Author: Nick Lake
Age Range: 12 and up
I think that There Will be Lies by Nick Lake is brilliant and suspenseful, though in the end I found it not quite my sort of thing. The title and bold cover alone are hard to resist. Here's the beginning of the book:
"I'm going to be hit by a car in about four hours, but I don't know that yet.
The weird thing is, it's not the car that's going to kill me, that's going to erase me from the world.
It's something totally different. Something that happens eight days from now and threatens to end the world.
My name is Shelby Jane Cooper--is, was, whatever.
I'm seventeen years old when the car crash happens.
This is my story. (Page 1, ARC)
I found Shelby's "real" story compelling. There's an Afterschool Special sort of vibe to one thread of the book (in a good way), as Shelby is lied to by, and ends up on the run with, her mother. It's clear from the beginning that things aren't quite normal in Shelby's world, but her first person perspective and limited experience mask the details. I was reminded a bit of Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff.
But there's also a parallel story in There Will Be Lies, in which Shelby intermittently finds herself in another world, one dominated by a character from Native American folklore (Coyote). There, Shelby has to help Coyote to save a child. There's a dreamy quality to these scenes (which occur, at first, only when Shelby is asleep). Lake ratchets up the suspense by switching between the real and magical worlds at cliffhangers.
Personally, the juxtaposition of the two storylines - the two realities - didn't work well for me. I've never cared much for magical realism, and this had a similar feel to me. But I think that people who enjoy stories with alternate realities and/or about myths and legends will like it.
I also liked that Shelby is differently abled, though I don't want to share the details, as this is one of the many things that the reader is left to figure out.
Shelby has a sarcastic, snarky voice, which take a bit of getting used to, but which I think teens will appreciate. Like this:
"She just grabs her bag and motions for me to follow. I sigh and shake my head, giving up. I have told her about those horrible pants so many times now, and she just doesn't listen. It's almost like she WANTS to look like a loser, so you know, shrug.
No, I take back the shrug. It does bother me.
Because it's just... it's just, she looks like a loser RIGHT NEXT TO ME." (Chapter 1, ARC)
But she has her profound moments, too. Like this:
There, on the reddish wall of the rock, are little drawings scratched into the stone: deer, some kind of stag, geometric patterns.
Despite myself, I feel something resonate inside me, a plucked string. More than a thousand years ago, someone scraped these pictures into being. A man with a spear. A gun." (Chapter 12, ARC)
She is, without question, a memorable character.
There Will Be Lies is a great book for people who enjoy figuring out what's going on from obscure clues. I flagged quite a number of passages, things that I thought contained hints about the lies involving Shelby (and which I won't share here, because I don't want to give away any secrets). Just realize that it's not all straight-up mystery/thriller, but also involves a quest, a witch, and talking animals. There's a lot gong on in There Will Be Lies. And even though I didn't personally love it, I am confident that fans of Nick Lake's work (he won the Printz Award for In Darkness), as well as high school and public library purchasers, will not want to miss There Will Be Lies.
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (@BWKids)
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher
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