Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Review: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Scholastic Press, 2008; 281 pages; ISBN 0439903467
My Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Last week I tried out Revlon's Fire & Ice lipstick and that reminded me of the cover of a young adult book I read about a year ago. I have to say that the cover was what really drew me to the book. It has a very noir look, with a young brunette girl applying red lipstick and looking mysteriously to one side. The book is set in 1947, post-war America, but I don't think that diminishes the appeal for teen readers. Evie Spooner is 15 (almost 16) living with her mom and stepdad Joe. Her mom is a "looker" (I love that word, along with Daddy-O and dame), and although Joe is boisterous, he is a great choice for Evie's mom as a replacement dad. The war is over and Joe is back home. Then some phone calls seem to rattle him into traveling to Florida in the off-season. After they arrive another guest named Peter checks in and he is apparently a war buddy of Joe's. Evie falls for Peter, who is 23, almost 7 years her senior, but that doesn't detract from Evie's attraction towards him. They get along well and Evie starts to realize that she isn't a plain-Jane as she once thought. She has inherited some of her mom's looks and starts to relish in this new-found beauty. At the almost-deserted hotel where they are staying there is another couple, the Graysons, who soon become friends and companions to Evie and her family. I won't go beyond that because that would spoil the story, but it's filled with just enough historical references, red lipstick, full skirts, and fleeting kisses to satisfy both adults and teens. It's also a page-turner that I read in very little time. Well-written and pretty much great from beginning to end. Since I'm a sucker for vintage, especially from this era, I enjoyed it even more. In other words it really razzed my berries.

The book is a 2008 National Book Award winner

Photo: From website

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