The Lies About Truth – Courtney C. Stevens – HarperTeen – Published 3 November 2015
Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.
As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she’ll always be trapped in the past.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started The Lies About Truth. For some reason I predicted teen drama, relationship issues and triviality. I could not have been more wrong. This book is absolutely breathtaking. Well written and with an incredibly strong heroine, this book gently whispers to you until you are entangled in its story, laughing and crying, loving and learning. Summer days and grief, friendship and love. Pack a box of tissues, because this is one heartbreaking, and yet so very enjoyable, journey.Before this story begins, before almost exactly one year ago, before the accident, there was Sadie + Gray, Gina + Trent and Max, Trent’s brother. A strong group of friends. All that changed when a car crash took Trent’s life, scarred Sadie, damaged Max’s voice and forever affected them all. Now almost one year later, Sadie is emerging from her solitude, Max is about to return home from a year away and Gray and Gina want to reconnect with them both. But working through their grief and guilt won’t be easy, nor will the truths that have been hidden so long come quietly into the world. It will be a summer of remembering, reconnecting, exploring and discovering, paintball, forgiveness, road trips and hard truths.
I was completely blown away by this story. Both with its incredible ability to be totally consuming and with its amazing mix of sad and happy. How could a book about so much hurt and loss be such a pleasure to read?
The Lies About Truth is narrated by Sadie, and she makes an excellent storyteller. At the start of the story she and Max have already begun dating, though it is a long-distance relationship. I loved how we get to discover their connection for ourselves through Sadie’s emails to Max over the past year, which are spread throughout the book. The reader is also treated to a number of flashbacks throughout the story. There aren’t all that many of them, but they are very powerful. They gave the story depth in an incredible way, letting the reader get to know Trent, and then join in the others’ grief, and demonstrating Sadie’s connection to each of her friends.
While the focus of the story isn’t on the romance, there is certainly plenty of it. Max and Sadie made a great pair. The sweetness and slight awkwardness as they meet face-to-face again and the heartache as they work through the trauma of the past year is beautiful to watch. Family plays a huge role in this book, as does, of course, friendship. It is a great mix, demonstrating so clearly how important family and friends are in each individual’s journey. What I loved most of all about this story, though, was its overall feeling of hope. Yes, it’s sad but in a bittersweet, happy way. It’s hard to explain, but it makes for a very enjoyable reading experience. This book was a wonderful and unexpected surprise. Courtney C. Stevens just secured herself a spot on my automatic to-read author list.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Grief, death, friendship, family, car crashes, relationships and dating, romance and love, forgiveness, scars.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Infrequent coarse language, s***. Vague, mild sexual references.
Published: 3 November 2015 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 336 pages.