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What I Saw and How I Lied
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What I Saw and How I Lied

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  12,474 Ratings  ·  1,914 Reviews
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 recogn ...more
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Scholastic Press
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Kate It’s a historical fiction book, so it’s based on an actual era in history, but the main characters and plot were never real.
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Community Reviews

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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
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
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
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017

"When Alice fell down the rabbit hole, she fell slow. She had time to notice things on her way down—Oh, there’s a teacup! There’s a table! So things seemed almost normal to her while she was falling. Then she bumped down and rolled into Wonderland, and all hell broke loose."

I really love it when I turn to the last page of a book, and the ending is so thoroughly perfect, but not too perfect. Some questions still remain, retribution is administered, and sometimes there's cake. I think, however, t
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
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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
Oct 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
”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
Mar 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.

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
May 03, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Cindy Dobrez
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Sue Dix
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The way the book starts and the way it ends are such opposites, that I didn’t see it coming. At first, I was only lukewarm about this book, but it really starts to pick up about a third of the way in. It’s kind of a coming of age story, but with a twist. A darker version of “nobody puts Baby in a corner”, as it were.
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
May 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Misha  Mathew
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Bobby Simic
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it
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'
Karen ⊰✿
Apr 10, 2015 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
Dec 27, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Carol (Reading Ladies)
Abandoned at 50% (debating whether to count this because I finished 1/2 but I might come back and shelve it as DNF so it doesn’t count)
* Not the right book for me.
* Expected more literary elements from a National Book Award winner.
* I can’t imagine YA being overly engaged by descriptions of the post WW11 era or references to old movie stars. (As an older reader, however, I can imagine and appreciate the settings the author created).
* Writing includes too many descriptive details such as every fl
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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 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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