In honor of Veteran's Day on Sunday, November 11, I'm running a short review series called YA on the Homefront. I'll be looking at three recently published YA contemporary books that feature characters who are serving in the military.
Today, I'm reviewing If I Lie by Corrine Jackson.
On Saturday, I'll look at Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie and Something Like Normal by Trish Dollar.
If I Lie
by Corrine Jackson
Published on August 28, 2012
by Simon Pulse
Summary from Goodreads: 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.
My take: I will confess that I resisted reading this book at first. I was sure I knew what Carey's secret was, so I thought the book would feel predictable. That was a huge mistake on my part -- If I Lie had a lot of surprises up its sleeve.
Sophie "Quinn" Quinn's mother ran off with her brother-in-law, so Quinn is used to her family being the target of nasty gossip. But when Quinn's caught kissing another guy while her boyfriend Carey is stationed overseas, she's relentlessly tormented by the kids at school, who seemed to be just waiting for a chance to tear her down. The fact that she's agreed to be a photographer for the yearbook just puts her more into situations where she can be bullied. As she anxiously waits for news about Carey, who is missing in action, she spends time at the VA hospital, visiting a wounded veteran who was a war photographer in Vietnam.
Quinn is such a strong character and there's just so much layered into this story: bullying, friendship, family, tolerance, and having the strength of character to stand up for what you believe in. I thought this book would be all about a love triangle, but If I Lie is so much more than that. All the relationships in this story seemed completely realistic, but my favorite by far was the bond between Quinn and George, the former war photographer. I love the way the book referenced An Officer and A Gentleman, a film I love to hate and hate to love.
If I Lie is a complex and emotional read that I highly recommend to fans of contemporary YA! Try it if you loved books like:
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr