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Saturday, January 26, 2013

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

If I Lie
by Corrine Jackson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Challenge: none

A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise - Summary from Goodreads

My thoughts

I’m a huge fan of the new trend in military fiction, and I feel like I’ve waited months for Corrine Jackson’s debut, If I Lie, to be released. Luckily, I was not disappointed.
Sophie / Quinn is a character that I really felt for.  Her grief throughout the novel felt so real that I physically ached for her. She’s a girl who has been through so much in her 17 years, and it was easy to see what a toll keeping Carey’s secret took on her. I felt for her so much, I did, but at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to stand up for herself. She let her ex-friends trod all over her for the most part, and it was painful to read about. Luckily, Quinn grew as a character as the story progressed and really came into her own by the end. She’s one of the strongest YA heroines I’ve read about.  

While I thought Quinn was great, George, Quinn’s friend from the VA hospital is the character that really stole my heart. George gives crotchety old men a good name. I loved that he and Quinn were able to build such a connection through photography and that photography played such a huge role in the book.  The love and friendship George and Quinn shared made me tear up a few times. He really acted as a father figure to Quinn, and I was so happy that she had someone in that godforsaken town who was on her side and believed in her through thick in thin.

All of the other characters in If I Lie felt fully realized as well, from Quinn’s marine father to the vicious kids at school. They all had their own backstories and motives.

While I expected Carey’s “secret” to remain a mystery for a large portion of the book, Ms. Jackson surprised me by revealing the secret within the first 50 pages. That didn’t stop the book from being nailbitingly suspenseful for me though. I think revealing the secret early on allowed more time to be focused on the characters and the ramifications Quinn faced by keeping said secret. It was a stressful journey to go on, but I’m so glad I did. If I Lie contains everything that a great contemporary should: fully realized characters, a great plot, and a ton of heart. If I Lie is one of my favorite books of the year so far, and I hope you’re able to check it out if at all possible. I know my review was vague, but there are so many layers to this story. I want all of you to be able to discover those layers for yourselves, and I hope you will.

I'd recommend If I Lie to fans of:
military fiction - marines
complex family dynamics
grouchy but sweet old men (joking, kind of)

Similar books: 
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

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