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What I Saw and How I Lied

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  11,377 Ratings  ·  1,771 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 Aus ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published November 1st 2008)
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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
...more
Tatiana
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
...more
karen
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
...more
Stephanie
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
...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
I really enjoyed this 'coming of age' novel set in the aftermath of WWII. I have to admit, I picked this one purely because of the title, which I found intriguing, and I am so glad I did.

Evie is awkward and gauche and, at the tender age of 15, wanting to be womanly, just like her mother who is all red lips, nail lacquer and cocktails. She is ready to find love. She adores her mother and Joe, her step-father.

When they go on holiday to Florida, Evie is excited, particularly when she meets Peter C
...more
Regina
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
Allison
Nov 25, 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
Lynn
Oct 25, 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
...more
46milestogo
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
...more
Ricki
Mar 08, 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.
Sarah
SPOILERS!!

26/7 - A pretty decent and quick read, 3.5 stars. I was wrong, but then also right, with my guesses as to who was going to die and how but I was surprised by Evie's testimony at the trial. I put a lot of faith, perhaps too much, in the police and justice system and I believe it's very likely that if I were in Evie's position that I would find myself incapble of lying. I've certainly told my dad that he had better drive carefully when in my car because I won't be signing any statutory
...more
Kristy
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
...more
Cindy Dobrez
Oct 23, 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
Kimba Tichenor
I came across this book while looking for a late night read through my local public library's website. Seeing it was the winner of the national book award, I decided to download it and give it a try. While classified as young adult fiction, I suspect that adult readers may actually find it more compelling than teenagers. Part love story, part murder mystery, part coming-of-age story, part historical fiction/period piece, What I Saw and How I Lied does not easily fit into any one genre. It is th ...more
Katherine
”So many lies around me. Enough lies to fill ten houses.”
It’s so hard to find morally gray books in YA fiction. I don’t know if authors and their editors feel that the target audience wants characters to swing in only one direction (right or wrong), or if there is another underlying motive behind it. But I think that morally gray stories and characters are just as interesting to read about as ones that are fully good or fully bad. And with this book, you get the full scope of the fine line bet
...more
Arminzerella
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 TeensReadToo.com

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
...more
Maia
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
...more
Jamie
Jan 16, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
GREAT GREAT COVER!
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
...more
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
...more
Misha
Aug 21, 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
...more
Karen ⊰✿
Apr 10, 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
...more
Matthew
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
Anisha
Aug 22, 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 own husband why go for your daughters first love. But anyways is a really great story and I would read it again
evelyn
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.
Erin
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH FOR BOTH THIS BOOK AND ANOTHER BOOK - all are hidden, but venture no further without heeding the warning.....

I was a bit surprised by this book, mostly because out of my last three reads, two of them (this and (view spoiler). Of course, with this book, it kind of gives it away right in the title.....the reader just isn't sure abo
...more
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
...more
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!
Dolly
This book takes the reader into post-World War II America, into the lives of a family who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and suddenly decides to take an unplanned (and eventually very extended) family vacation to Palm Beach, Florida.

The narrative is told from Evie's perspective, a young and naïve girl who learns that all is not how it seems. The story is dramatic and engaging, but did not engage me very much. I just didn't come to care for any of the characters - they seem very shallow and self-se
...more
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Ung i Norrbotten: Vad jag såg och när jag ljög, av Judy Blundell 1 4 Apr 06, 2017 03:49AM  
What's The Name o...: SOLVED. YA Fiction with teen female protagonist, set just after WW2 (solved) [s] 3 39 Dec 21, 2014 07:24PM  
Time Out Book Club: August Meeting 6 7 Aug 13, 2014 07:59PM  
Why is she so heartless? 4 47 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  
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171517
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
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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.”
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“I loved him like a fever. Then he left. He kicked through love like it was dust and he kept on walking.” 27 likes
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