Author: Judy Blundell
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Recommended for Fans Of: Kathryn Miller Haines, Sherri L. Smith, Lois Lowry
Synopsis: Fifteen year old Evie is living a good life. After returning home safely from World War II, Evie's stepfather brings Evie and her mother on a luxurious trip to Florida. There, the family relaxes and enjoys all the splendors Floridian paradises can bring. Evie even meets a handsome and charming young man, a companion to her father in the war, named Peter. Peter is an older boy, and he makes Evie want to sacrifice everything for him. And pretty soon, Evie has convinced herself of the love that binds the two of them together. Too lovestruck and blind to see the true reality, Evie can't perceive all the lies and betrayals that are happening around her, threatening to destroy everything she loves and everything she has ever cared about.
Review: What I Saw and How I Lied made me really uncomfortable, in both good and bad ways. One area of discomfort was the age difference between Evie and Peter. Evie was a 15 year old girl, and to be honest, she was quite vain and immature. Her thoughts were so shallow and childlike that I believed her to be about ten before the author mentions her real age. Peter is 23. That is a huge age difference, and even back during the times of World War II, I don't understand how this scandalous affair didn't cause a huge reaction from the society. I am so used to believing that "old-fashioned" times held such rigid standards, that the fact that Evie's romance with Peter was taken in stride in this book perplexed me a little bit. So Evie and Peter's relationship made me feel really ill-at-ease.
There were other times where I was uncomfortable, but for a good reason. I have to commend Judy Blundell for writing about tough "adult" situations and how they are perceived through a teenager's eyes. There were so many resilient themes in this novel, such as jealousy, betrayal, hate and revenge that played a huge part in the development of the book. These themes were really well written into the plot, and without these necessary situations, What I Saw and How I Lied would have lacked a lot of character and definition.
In terms of characters, I really have no complaints beside Evie's mother. Without spoiling anything, I am just going to say that she is a horrible and extremely vapid mother. I felt so bad for Evie, and I had more sympathy for her, and more anger for her mother.
Conclusion: Although What I Saw and How I Lied is labeled as a historical fiction novel, World War II doesn't really play a huge role in it. If you are a huge history fan, you might be a bit disappointed with the lack of historical content. However, it is still a great book, a really engaging and gritty read.