If I Lie
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: August 28th 2012
by Simon Pulse
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.
I’ve had this book on my shelf for well over a year now but for some reason I never did get around to picking it up. When I saw Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner raving about it recently I decided it was time for me to bite the bullet and give If I Lie a read. Am I ever happy that I did. This story was just the kind of emotionally touching tale that I love to read and get lost in.
Sophie Topper Quinn has grown up with two very best friends, Carey and Blake. As they got older Sophie and Carey became known in their town as “Military Barbie & Ken.” People saw their future together and it was well known that they were an item. Once Carey enlists in the military and gets shipped off to Afghanistan things take a turn for the worse when a photo surfaces of Sophie making out with another boy at a football game that she was at with Carey. She is outcast and labelled a traitor, whore, town slut, you name it. But since we get the story from Sophie’s perspective it becomes clear early on that everything wasn’t as perfect as it appeared for the towns resident Barbie & Ken. I like the way Corrine Jackson slowly revealed the truth behind everything that was going on in the story. The clear picture isn’t painted for us right off the bat so we are left to make our own inferences and even though it was very easy to pinpoint what the truth was I was still wrecked by the harsh reality of it all.
What is so perfect about this story is who Sophie is. I loved her voice, she was really struggling with what she was going through and always had this honesty about her. She wasn’t afraid to throw out swear words and she dealt with everything in a very true to life and imperfect way. I felt like she was portrayed in an incredibly honest way that I don’t often see in YA novels. So often our MC is the perfect girl who deals with everything in the most sweet and virtuous way. That was so not the case here, Sophie was flawed and she was even selfish at times but it was all done in such an honest way. I have to thank Jackson for that because this is what got me so invested in the novel, it made me care about Sophie as if she was someone from my real life. Blake and Carey are also expertly developed additions to If I Lie. Even though all we really get about Carey is through flashbacks I was right there with him in his struggle as well. And Blake tore my heart out, I felt so bad for the guy but he was a true man through it all which was refreshing.
The small town that the characters live in is a military town at heart. The men and women enlist and the families stay home and wonder about their loved ones overseas. Through Sophie volunteering at a local veteran’s hospital we get a very bleak look at what war is like. She works with a veteran named George as they work on putting everyones memories on paper so that their serving of their country will be remembered forever. It was heartbreaking to read what these men and women go through and how they come back and just aren’t the same. What was especially frustrating was reading about the guys who suffered from PTSD before doctors really knew that was a thing. The bright spot in this part of the novel is the relationship that Sophie forms with George. They come to love one another and see each other as family. I think, by far, the bond between the two of them was my favourite of the novel.
Seeing Sophie go through everything that she does in the aftermath of the cheating scandal was hard to read but in my own sick way I enjoyed every moment of this book. If you are looking for an honest look at love, honesty and the life of anyone serving overseas, If I Lie is a wonderful place to look. I will happily devour anything I can from Corrine Jackson in the (hopefully) near future.