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

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 recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.

Read on the recommendation of a girl I used to babysit, I went into Blundell’s historical fiction with a bit of trepidation, and promptly forgot my worries.  Tightly plotted, beautifully written, and absolutely captivating, this is a quick read that’s impossible to put down and will keep readers on the edge of their seats from start to finish.  It is that good, Gentle Readers.

Blundell’s attention to detail helps sell the story of Evie and her subsequent loss of innocence.  Everything from the clothes to the mannerisms to the way the characters speak feels incredibly authentic and is beautifully written.  Evie herself is a compelling character, and the mysterious and clearly problematic Joe will provide readers with plenty of food for thought.  Everyone in the novel is remarkably well-drawn.

Readers will find it impossible not to get swept away in Evie’s first romance and the subsequent tragedy.  While readers race to finish the book and find out what will become of its characters, Blundell never tells us too much, which makes for a very satisfying reading experience.  This is excellent historical fiction for teens who like historical fiction–and even for those who claim they don’t.  Highly recommended.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. Scholastic: 2008. Borrowed copy.