Saturday, 26 March 2016

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Title: Seven Ways We Lie
Author: Riley Redgate
Published by: Amulet Books
Publication date: 8th March 2016
Pages: 343
Genres: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone's standards. It's got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide - whether it's Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who's planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

Isn't it annoying when a book has an exciting and intriguing premise but, in the end, falls flat? From what I've seen, most people seem to have enjoyed this book, but for me Seven Ways We Lie was nothing special.

The book itself is made up of seven alternating points of view, each of them students from Paloma High School and each of them with things to hide. Olivia and Kat are twins dealing with their mother's disappearance; Lucas is pansexual in a school full of homophobes; Matt is looking after his baby brother whilst his parents fight all the time; Valentine is awkward and unpopular; Claire is jealous and self-conscious, and Juniper Kipling is perfect - on the outside.

There were a few things I appreciated. The book showed that you never know what's going on behind closed doors, no matter how well you know a person, and even if someone looks like they have the perfect life there's undoubtedly things going on that they don't talk about. Plus, it was diverse, with different cultures and sexualities represented, and a running theme of slut-shaming and why it's wrong. The inclusion of pansexuality was interesting to me as I've never seen it acknowledged in fiction. But some of it didn't seem natural and felt like the writer was slotting it in for brownie points. I'm sure they weren't, but... I don't know. Some of it, like Olivia's thoughts on slut-shaming, felt like Redgate talking rather than Olivia. As I said, I appreciated the inclusion of these things because that's real life; it was more the writing style that grated on me.

As well as that, the only characters I particularly cared about were Olivia, Kat and Matt. In fact, I thought several times whilst I was reading that a book solely focusing on them would be much more entertaining and fulfilling. The subplot of the teacher/student romance was interesting but I guessed who the teacher was right at the beginning and, basically, there wasn't much there to keep me reading except me wanting to add another book to my Goodreads challenge. And substance is kind of important, don't you think?

Seven Ways We Lie has good points and bad points, but overall it was - for lack of a better word - nothingy. When I didn't have time to read the book for a couple of days, I didn't actually care and, in fact, I forgot about it.

It's not an awful book, but it's nothing special, I'm sad to say. Many people have enjoyed it, but it's not something I would recommend.


  1. That's a shame you didn't enjoy it, great discussion though! xx

  2. I'm hearing so many mixed thigns about this one and I still don't know if I should read it or not. I might if I ever get my hands on a copy somehow, but I won't go out looking for it.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it too much. I might still pick it up if I see it in the library, but I'm not making it a priority.. Thanks for the review!

  4. Hmmm I thought this book had an interesting concept, however the synopsis didn't catch my interest.

    The inclusion of pansexualty however is interesting! I've never seen it in a book before. I might take a look at this book because of that.

    And yeah I get you sometimes there's *cringe* too much diversity? Like the author just shoves it all in to, as you said win brownie points.

    1. To be honest I don't think we can ever have too much diversity because the world itself is so diverse. But yeah, sometimes the way it's done just doesn't seem quite right :/

  5. i thought that this book was phenomenal and that you should definitely order it on amazon (aka the black market :). the plot was very entertaining and i was hooked all the way through. i connected with all of the charectors in different ways but i still differ from them greatly (like i can get envious like claire, although i try to talk about it, i'm fun
    and funng like olivia but antisocial and blunt like valentine also,etc) i loved the idea, charectors, plot, and message. it speaks up for women and the lgbtq commumity abd was a great, well written, exciting,dramatic read

    1. I can see why you like it - I wish I had, too!

  6. I really like that you're honest about it. Too many other people would fake a good review.