Genre: YA - Historical Fiction
Publication: 11.01.2008 by Scholastic Inc.
Format: Audio book
Synopsis: Murder and intrigue surround a girl in this mystery set in American in the aftermath of WWII.
Thoughts: What I Saw and How I Lied was not what I was expecting when I picked it up. Actually, I am not really sure what I was expecting from this, but from the back blurb it sounded interesting enough. While What I Saw and How I Lied turned out to be a slower read, it was nonetheless a quick and simple coming of age story about a girl, her family and her first love. And how sometimes, the past can damage the lives of everyone who .
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.
The book starts of in the mid-1940's, shortly after WWII ends, and it seems that back in those days, time went by slower. People weren't in such a rush and Blundell was able to capture this essence well in her writing and her vivid descriptions of Evie's world. Evie is fifteen and lives with her mom, stepdad Joe and Grandma Glad. When Joe comes home, it is obvious that he is different, that the war has changed him, but Evie being a naive young girl who hasn't been exposed to the world yet expects things to go back to normal.
Her life gets turned upside down after Joe abruptly decides to take them on a (what seems) endless vacation to Palm Beach, and soon a young Peter Coleridge shows up. It is obvious that Joe and Peter have unresolved issues that they aren't willing to deal with. Instead, he begins to spend a lot of time around them and soon, Evie finds herself in love with him. While Joe finds himself busy making plans to start a business, Evie, her mom and Peter spend the hot lazy days by the beach, driving or at the movies. I thought it was obvious from the beginning what was going to happen, but Evie's ignorance keeps us guessing.
When tragedy strikes, Evie is not only heartbroken and confused, but also feels betrayed by the people she loves the most. Faced with scandal and legal matters to deal with, Evie is left to deal with her emotions, which were palpable with each word. When she makes her final decisions, she does so with a determination that is admirable and shows how much and how fast Evie is forced to grow up, no matter how hard her parents tried to keep her safe.
I do not want to spoil the story for those of you who might be interested in reading it, but the ending was surprising and left me feeling relieved but at the same time, curious. I wanted to know where life would take Evie, how her decisions were going to affect her family as a whole. There was one question that was purposefully left unanswered, but helped in developing the story and caused Evie to become she was. She would never know the answer to her question and that would always affect her.
Overall: What I Saw and How I Lied is a short mystery that will keep you guessing even after you are done. It is an intriguing read about a family that falls apart after secrets are revealed and a young girl who must grow up after having to deal with a web of lies. I definitely recommend it to other fans of books from this era, as well as other historical and mystery lovers. This is a fast read that fascinates the reader and will keep you trying to figure out how it will all end.