Author: Corrine Jackson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Number of Pages: 276
Source of Book: Hardcover from ALAN Workshop
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.
First Thought: Wow! An amazing debut. Incredibly powerful book. I'm emotionally wrecked after the experience of reading this one.
I so feel for these characters and what they've gone through in trying to love and protect one another and keep each other's secrets. I have no idea how difficult it must be to be the one left behind when a loved one goes to war, but this book creates so much empathy for what they must be going through. Add in a misunderstood situation with high school dynamics and a hero mentality with broken families and it's an emotional roller coaster of a book. There's a definite Scarlet Letter feel to the situation Quinn finds herself in, and with the code of military families ethics at play, she's put in an impossible situation. But the entire time I was just feeling for her and wanting to support her.
There were some very interesting secondary characters in this book. Some of my favorite scenes were those with the veteran, George, at the hospital where Quinn volunteers. It is her safe place away from what all the town thinks of her, and he gets her and helps her survive. His scenes also provide most of the comic relief in this emotional journey, but also some of the most emotional scenes. For one to be able to see past all of the gossip, and really see the person, makes such an impact. This story highlights how one small action can affect so many others around you, and how one small kindness can make a world of difference for one who is in a time of struggle. It also touches on bullying and ostracizing, posting of inappropriate text pictures, death, divorce, cheating, war, soldiers missing in action, veterans struggles, and so much more. It's a heavy book, but done so well that I just felt hopeful at the end. But while going through it, I was feeling so much for what she was having to deal with. I also appreciated that she had realistic ways to escape with her photography and that she had something to keep her going when she felt her world was crumbling around her.
The only bit I had a little bit of trouble following where the parts when the story was flashing back to what had happened before and back to the present, but reading carefully or rereading short passages helped me follow along.
I was struck by the powerful emotions evoked from this story and Corrine Jackson's writing style. It's in your face and blunt and searing, but there are some beautiful lines of figurative language and description in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and absolutely recommend it to others. I'm only sorry I waited this long to get to it!
Final Thoughts: I'm inspired to hear the stories of our veterans who have fought for our freedoms and too often come home damaged. I would pair IF I LIE with SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL - if you liked one, I think you'd like the other.
I booktalked IF I LIE as I was devouring it during class and shared the synopsis with 7th & 8th graders today, and the second I finished (with tears in my eyes) it was in the hands of students with a waiting list for those who wanted it next.