Author: Corrine Jackson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Interest: 2012 Debut Author / Contemporary
Summary (From Goodreads): 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.
This year has been a big year for war-related contemporary YA. When I found out about Corrine Jackson’s debut, If I Lie, I knew I had to read it and I’m really glad I did.
I don’t know what it is about serious contemporary YA novels, but I love them. I’ve realized that my class library is full of them. If I Lie is serious and emotional, but there’s a nice mix of humor and warmth as well. Jackson covers some heavy issues like varyious forms of bullying. Quinn’s turned into a pariah and deemed a traitor after a compromising picture of her cheating on her boyfriend is spread across the Internet. The cyber bullying is a primary focus, but it’s present enough to give a reader pause. Quinn is bullied constantly. Her locker is violated, her friends have abandoned her, and she’s called names over and over again. I was shocked that she handles it as well as she does. I would hope that a military town would act differently, but in this war-ridden climate it’s easy to believe what happens to Quinn. Most of the humor comes from Quinn’s interactions with the war veteran, George, she spends time with. I loved his character because he’s really caring but he’s sharp and witty too.
After around 50 pages or so I started wondering where the story was going to take me. Corrine Jackson sets it up so we discover the big secret early on, but the full picture and background of it is broken up throughout the story. Once I realized that was happening I understood the pacing better and enjoyed it. Besides bullying, Quinn’s life is paralleled with her mother’s life. Her mom faced a similar situation as Quinn which haunts Quinn regularly. She feels like she’s lived up to the town’s expectations that she’d be just like her mother. So along with flashbacks to before the picture was taken and spread around town, we get flashbacks to when Quinn was still with her mother and what happened at home. The flashbacks are written well and easy to identify when reading. I’m picky about that when I read a book like If I Lie.
Readers who enjoy Courtney Summers or books like Speak will most likely enjoy If I Lie. It’s a quick read full of heart with a main character who, despite what everyone around town thinks, is incredibly loyal. I predict it will be popular in my classroom since there’s so much students can relate to. Readers who have tough relationships with their parents will connect with this. Readers who have been subject to bullying and gossip will connect with this. Readers who have fallen for the wrong person will connect with this. If I Lie is a strong contemporary debut and I look forward to reading more of Corrine Jackson’s work.