Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What I Saw and How I Lied” as Want to Read:
What I Saw and How I Lied
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What I Saw and How I Lied

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  9,750 ratings  ·  1,587 reviews
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 Aust
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published November 1st 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What I Saw and How I Lied, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What I Saw and How I Lied

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
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
WHAT a fascinating book. The atmosphere is pitch-perfect from beginning to end, and it's the atmosphere of a movie from Hitchcock's best era. I don't say this often, but I really hope they're going to make a movie of this, even if they CAN'T have a very young Joseph Cotten in one of the leads, and a young-ish and slim Robert Walker in the other. Young actresses will be salivating over this role.

An interesting counterpoint to Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself (while at the same time being, of
Casey Leidig
3.5 stars

I liked this book. The shock and drama factor was high, the setting was fun. Despite taking place about 20 years later, it has a very Great Gatsby feel. I appreciated seeing the growth and loss of innocence of Evie. But, I didn't love her, nor any other character, and that's where the book suffered, to me.
Mary Heinsman
An historical coming-of-age novel

Fifteen-year-old Evelyn Spooner's step father, Joe, returns from World War II and her easy war-time existence is turned upside down. Her step father has changed and gets odd phone calls, her mother struggles to make domestic life bearable for him, and Evie strives to understand it all. The only thing that hasn't changed is Grandma Glad-she's still as grouchy as ever.

Then Joe whisks Evie and her mother to Palm Beach, Florida for an impromtu vacation that quickly
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: SOLVED. YA Fiction with teen female protagonist, set just after WW2 (solved) [s] 3 37 Dec 21, 2014 07:24PM  
Time Out Book Club: August Meeting 6 7 Aug 13, 2014 07:59PM  
Why is she so heartless? 4 44 Mar 10, 2014 07:16AM  
RE: Change of Title 5 62 May 29, 2013 07:40PM  
Mrs. Gallagher's ...: Tess Myers Book Review 1 5 Jan 18, 2013 07:57PM  
  • Ten Cents a Dance
  • Newes from the Dead
  • The FitzOsbornes in Exile (The Montmaray Journals, #2)
  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
  • Tennyson
  • Deadly
  • The Canning Season
  • The Girl is Murder (The Girl is Murder, #1)
  • The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin
  • Bog Child
  • Me, the Missing, and the Dead
  • Guardian
  • The Rock and the River (The Rock and the River, #1)
  • Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood
  • Red Moon at Sharpsburg
  • The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had
  • The Red Necklace (French Revolution, #1)
  • Mare's War
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...
Strings Attached A City Tossed and Broken: The Diary of Minnie Bonner, San Francisco, California, 1906 (Dear America) Disappearing Act (Ghostwriter) Trail of the Jedi Way Of The Apprentice

Share This Book

“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?” 26 likes
More quotes…