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What I Saw and How I Lied

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,436 Ratings  ·  1,655 Reviews
Murder mystery with a dash of romance, a strongly written coming-of-age novel set in the aftermath of the Second World War which won the 2008 National Book Award in the USA. It's 1947 and 15-year-old Evie is desperate to grow up, go on dates and look glamorous like her mother. But then a handsome and mysterious ex-GI turns up. Peter served with Evie's stepfather during the ...more
Paperback, 265 pages
Published July 6th 2009 by Scholastic Children's Books (first published November 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kat Kennedy
There are good novels and then there are good novels. This one is the latter.

However, it's hard to pin down why it's such an amazing novel.

Sure, I could comment that the writing was flawless and brilliant. The characters were fleshed out, detailed and intricate. The setting was technicoloured, nostalgic and almost touchable.

But I think what really makes this novel is the gritty, raw, awkwardness of it.

Evie is on the cusp of womanhood. She's so close she can almost taste it and yet, she rankles
I know, very few of my Goodreads' friends have read or liked What I Saw And How I Lied, but I am so very grateful that such stories are even written and published these days. Historical fiction is not in vogue right now, unless, of course, it involves cattiness and soapy melodrama, it seems.

For one, I loved the atmosphere of this novel. It gave me the same feeling of strange nostalgia for post-WWII America, the way Mad Men does - red lips, cigarettes, glamor and privilege, with a generous pinch
stay tuned, there will be mary lou retton if you are patient....

so first of all, i love this title. i was supposed to read three books from the list for this week's teen class; i ended up reading five because i am such a super-nerd, but i think it is good for me, because these aren't the types of teen fiction i would ordinarily pick up - if i read teen fiction it is pretty much only survival-in-a-dystopian-setting kind of stuff, certainly not "first love in a complicated, postwar america".

i am
What I Saw and How I lied is not going to end up as one of those books that returns to my thoughts now and again. It's perfectly forgettable.

This is a coming of age book set at the end of World War 2. Evie is a teen who's step father, Joe, has just come back from the war and he's not exactly the man she remembered. Joe decides that the family should have a vacation and then schleps himself, his wife, his mother and Evie to Palm Beach, Florida in the middle of god awful hot August In the days bef
Dec 08, 2008 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
QUESTION? How did this win the National Book Award? If the first half of the book had been put into 3-or-so chapters so that the reader could get to the things that happen in the story, it would have been a lot better. I'm so glad that I finally finished it so I can stop sighing through an award winning novel wanting so badly to move on to the other books in my "to read" pile. I wasn't captivated by the "period" of this period piece. I wasn't captivated by the setting. The characters didn't have ...more
Nov 14, 2008 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that I am kicking myself for not reading earlier! A kind friend sent the galley and I put it in stack to read but didn't get to it until the NBA announced their shortlist.

I enjoyed so much about this outstanding book. It was extremely atmospheric! The sense of place and time was skillfully rendered. I could hear the swish of skirts, smell hints of cigarette smoke and perfume and feel the humidity in the air. Set in postwar America, both the protagonist and the nation a
What I Heard and How I Lied is a coming of age novel set during the time period of post-World War II. The novel is full of nostalgic descriptions of full skirts, pumps dyed to match dresses, late afternoon cocktails, pot roast with mashed potatoes, smoking as sexy habit, and Palm Beach as an exotic location. What I Heard And How I Lied also addresses in a very subtle manner issues of segregation, anti-Semitism, soldiers recovery from war trauma, war time opportunism, gender roles, sexual politic ...more
I'm shocked this was nominated for a National Book Award. It's not a bad read, but it's certainly nothing special. And the setting is one I am going to have to work very hard to get my teens interested in, and I don't think they'll come back as rewarded as they are when they read something like Tamar.
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

I'm still pondering over the events of this novel. I'd say it's got a great message and portrays a time period that tends to get sanitized (oh sure, every woman from the 40's was a virgin on her wedding night - right) rather honestly.

Not sure what the rating will be - probably will stick to 4 stars for all the meat and thoughts it's dredged up in me.

Superb work by the author who wrote "Jedi Apprentice". More YA needs to be written like this.

Full Review:

Evie Spooner lives with her
Mar 12, 2009 Ricki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The historical background saved this one. But... I didn't like any of the characters in this novel, so it was difficult to get into it. Evie was desperate and naive (in an annoying way) and her mom was self-absorbed. The men were liars and cheats. I am a bit confused as to how it won an award.
Well, it was okay..... 3 stars
(This section is Spoiler-ish)
Evie wants to be grown up, wants to fall in love, wants to stay in Palm Beach Forever. Enter Peter, exactly the man she wants to fall in love with, 23, Older than her and oh, so charming.
Apparantly he is so charming that her married mother couldn't resist either.... She tags along on all their "dates" and has been 'golfing' several days now. None of this comes out until, Peter, the Mother and Evie's Stepfather take a boat ride and Peter
Frankly, I don't understand what all the hype about this book is about. I thought the writing was superficial (let's not even talk about the characters). Blundell just tried to make it into a book you could write an essay about, or have deep intellectual conversations. And she fails. Miserably, might I add.
Personally, I am a fan of the author who builds up intrigue and suspense, who truly leaves you hanging, who gives you bits and pieces of the story so that you're racing forward to the next bit
Cindy Dobrez
Oct 27, 2008 Cindy Dobrez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I loved this book. I think teens will be intrigued by the mystery and the coming of age story. How Evie evolves as a young woman discovering her sexuality and its power is very well realized. It's a very sensual book, and not just in a sexual way. The descriptions include all of the senses and bring the characters to life. The post-WWII story is different from what most teen books set during this time explore. I feel like I am fumbling with this write up and am not doing justice to the book ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for

World War II is over and life is slowly getting back to normal. For Evie Spooner, that means having her father, Joe, back from the war and her parents back together again. On a whim, Joe decides to uproot the family for an extended vacation to Florida.

While there, Evie and her family run into Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served with Joe in the war. Peter is charming and movie-star handsome, and Evie soon finds herself fa
Jan 16, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
But the book inside really backs it up. The author gives just enough information so that you *think* you know what's going on, but you're not *sure.* You THINK you're sure, but.....Plots twist and turn, characters are not what they seem, and then they are, and the ending is magnifico.

I don't think that the writing is stellar, which is why I only gave it 4 stars, but you can't beat this book for plot.

For kids who have to read a historical fiction, and don't want to, this would b
Karen ⊰✿
Apr 11, 2015 Karen ⊰✿ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wheelathon2
It has been a while since I picked up a YA fiction book that didn't involve a love triangle or a dystopian society and I loved it.
Just a few years after WWII, Evie is almost 16 years old when her father takes her and her mother on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Florida. What follows is a coming of age story that centres around the secrets in Evie's family and how they relate to a tragedy they experience while on this holiday. The characters feel real (including how annoying it is for a 15 year ol
Audrey (holes In My brain)
Read the full review on my bog, holes In My brain

From it's title to the last sentence, WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED swept me off my feet and effortlessly took me back into the 1940’s with a tale rich in characters, mystery and atmosphere. This novel’s style is classic and graceful; people speak and act exactly how I would picture them to in my head, from Evie’s mother’s posture to the characters’ dialogue. The heat of south Florida, the beaches, boys, parents, the search for second chances and a ne
Aug 27, 2015 Anisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't stop reading this book . Every time I was at a new chapter I was like I'm going to put the book down, but I couldn't. I finished the book at 4:15 am. The one thing I hate in romance books is when the mum ends up with the girl's boy. That is so annoying. I'm like you have your one husband why go for your daughters first love. But anyways is a really great story and I would read it again
A YA noir set in the 1950s. The writing is superb and transporting, rendering the characters and setting in vivid, sweltering detail. I love books where the reader knows or suspects what's going on, but the protagonist does not. To achieve that without compromising the narrative with artifice is an admirable accomplishment. My only complaint about the book is that I didn't really love the main character. I liked her okay, but that's about it. It does deal with mature themes and content, includin ...more
Nov 26, 2008 evelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readin2008
i guess there is nothing wrong with this book winning the national book award for young adult lit this year. it was a fun read that was well-written; a good coming-of-age story wrapped up with a sort-of mystery. not sure this was the best young adult book of the year? definitely a good way to spend some down time at work, though.
Alya Atiera
Apr 11, 2016 Alya Atiera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The title says it all.

The setting is the aftermath of world war II. You can see the language used in this book is during that time, in the year 1974.

This is a historical fiction. There are a few parts of the story that talk about the war. Although my knowledge in history is like zero, I can still grasp the story because it's not focus on war.

The main focus in this book is about Ellie, a teenage girl who can't wait to grow up faster and becomes an adult.

After her father comes back from war, they

Oct 03, 2010 Misha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, young-adult
I don't understand why this book is not more known. What I saw and How I lied is a very well-written book that lingered on my mind a long time after I had finished reading it.
After World War II is over, Evie Spooner is happy to have her stepfather Joe back home from the war. She just wants things to be normal again.
Evie is dying to grow up, be a woman, explore, experiment, but her mother still treats her like a child.
On a whim , Joe takes Evie and her mother to Florida on a holiday. There they m
I really enjoyed this book... until I got near the end... and then the book ended and I realized how many problems I have with it and how much I in fact didn't like it. And to think this won a National Book Award! Why? There has to have been a better nominee!

Anyway, this book takes place in 1947, with Evie going to Florida with her mom and stepfather for vacation. There, they run into a guy, Peter, who knew her stepfather during the war, and clearly there's some bad blood between them, as Evie's
Nov 28, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This is one of those books that is pretty much instantly forgettable. It wasn't bad. It was just that it focused more on building a mystery and it just didn't deliver, in my opinion.
It was one of those books that you feel was a bit of a waste of time because it isn't particularly clever, original or memorable.
I can see why other people might like it but I personally wanted more.
I will applaud the author on making it all come together the way it did in the end but in the end, I've read a lot of
Bobby Simic
I normally really enjoy the National Book Award winners for Youth Literature (more so than the Newberys), but the National Book Award's streak has sort of ended for me. This one was good but nothing special like previous year's recipients.

Set after World War II, 15-year-old Evie feels more like a kid than a mature woman. When her family takes an abrupt vacation to Florida, Evie sees this as her chance to transform herself into the woman she longs to be. She soon meets 23-year-old Peter, and she'
Penny Murnane
I loved this historical fiction book! It is a seriously charged coming of age love story between a returned handsome GI soldier and a young New Yorker who is in south Florida with her parents who are considering going into the hotel business. All of this happens while a hurricane is surging towards their Palm Beach destination. VEry well written, with universal themes of mother daughter relationships, first love, the economic and cultural environment of south Florida post WWII. Loved it!
Kerryn (RatherBeReading)
I haf mixed feelings about this one.

I found the romance in this to be very insta-lovey and the main charavter just a little too naive for my tastes. There was also a portion of the plot that I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be obvious to the reader what was happening as I personally found it extremely obvious what was happening but it was kind of being 'revealed' as though the reader had no idea about it.

I did enjoy the commentary in this on how jewish people were treated in the United States
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
From the tone at the beginning of the book, I feared that I wouldn't be able to get into this book, but I did and it was fantastic. The book had a great setting - the time period that it was set in was extremely interesting (postwar America), allowing the book to explore issues such as sexism, homophobia and anti-semitism. There was a strong sense of atmosphere and the clothing, make-up and mannerisms of the characters really added to a sense of 'nostalgia'. From the half-way point, I was absolu ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Joi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I figured out what was going to happen before the end. I didn't like the aspect that so much stuff happened before the "purpose" of the book.
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A pseudonym used by Jude Watson.

Judy Blundell has written books for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers under several pseudonyms. Her novel, Premonitions, was an ALA Reluctant Readers Best Picks and was chosen by the New York Public Library as a 2004 Best Books for the Teen Age. Among her forthcoming projects is Book #4 in the New York Times bestselling series, The 39 Clues. Judy Blundell
More about Judy Blundell...

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“But while I'd be their daughter, while I'd eat the roast and come home from dates and wash the dishes, I would also be myself. I would love my mother, but I'd never want to be her again. I would never be what someone else wanted me to be. I would never laugh at a joke I didn't think was funny. I would never tell another lie. I would be the truth-teller, starting today. That would be tough.
But I was tougher.”
“I drove in last night,' he said. 'I couldn't sleep, it was too hot. So I went outside. I was feeling melancholy. Then I danced with a beautiful girl, and I felt better. What's your story?” 27 likes
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