Publishing Info: January 6, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Magical Realism, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 1, 2015
Shelby Jane Cooper is seventeen, pretty and quiet. It's just Shelby and her mom, Shaylene, a court stenographer who wears pajama jeans, stitches tapestry, eats ice-cream for dinner and likes to keep Shelby safe. So safe she barely goes out. So safe she doesn't go to school. Because anything could happen, to a girl like Shelby. Anything. When Shelby gets knocked down by a car, it's not just her leg that's broken: Shelby's world is shattered. Her mom turns up to collect her and drives off into the night, like it's the beginning of a road trip, like two criminals on the run, like Thelma and Louise or Bonnie and Clyde. And somehow, everywhere she looks, there's a coyote watching her, talking to her, telling her not to believe.Who is Shelby Jane Cooper? If the person who keeps you safe also tells you lies, who can you trust?
THERE WILL BE LIES was a really different book for me… BUT not quite in the way I had hoped. I went in expecting an exciting mystery/thriller with some possible psychological twists (it seemed like that could be the case based on the title?) but really what I ended up reading was part thriller, part magical realism. I really wish I had known about the magical realism side — which was a very good chunk of the book. Maybe 30%? More? — because I actually probably would have passed on it. I am very, very picky about magical realism in books because it often times dances too closely on the line of reality which makes it unbelievable to me. In the very beginning of the book, I was actually really interested. It sort of held a Donnie Darko feel to it which really pulled me in but then the cut-aways to the magical realism scenes… just really hard for me to get through.
That being said, I really did like the thriller aspect of THERE WILL BE LIES. Shelby’s fate is essentially told to her (through the magical realism deal here) that “there will be lies” — two lies and then one truth that will change her life forever. Believing that to be true, Shelby embarks upon a mission to figure out what these lies (and truth) might be and it really does take her down a path that she never expected — and one I didn’t expect either! The story was really quite interesting and there were actually a couple of hooks I didn’t see coming which was really fun to read.
The style of writing was very unique as well. The dialogue was written a bit differently (in italics instead of quotation marks) and it tripped me up ever-so-slightly when I first started reading, but it also added a different feel to the book somehow, which I actually ended up enjoying. Later on in the book, the readers find out exactly why the book is written so differently and it was something that I thought was very impressive!
Overall the mystery/thriller side of the book did intrigue me and keep me interested, but every single cut-away to this magical realism side totally took away from my reading experience and once I got to the last portion and I saw why it was included, it felt totally unnecessary. At least to me, it felt like a series of dream sequences or something along the lines of Shelby working things out in her subconscious, and it was something I really felt that I would have connected with more if I had read it as a stream of consciousness or dialogue that she worked out with either herself or someone else. I wonder what my experience with this book would have been like had it not been for those elements. I think I could have enjoyed it so much more!
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Shelby // Character Obsessions: Baseball, her mom, reading.
Shelby was a really interesting character. I’m actually not quite sure why she was having the weird flashes to a dream world…? It wasn’t quite ever reasoned (I guess hence the magical sort of aspect) but clearly she’s also had a sheltered life and quite possibly it serves her as an escape as well. I really enjoyed her personality and admired how she handled situations as the book progressed, though.
Kept Me Hooked On: Thrillers. The actual plot of this story was quite interesting! I liked where the story went and it really was not something I expected.
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. What was going on in the real world was actually interesting! I just wish the book had spent more time there. I know I would have enjoyed it more if it was more of a straight-up thriller than including the magical elements — and I think the same goes for a lot of other readers too.
Read some reviews before you try.
This one really wasn’t for me… I think it may come as a surprise to a bunch of people that is has a magical realism element because I surely didn’t know! I’d say check out some more reviews before you decide to commit to it. It’s over 400 pages so it’s a bit lengthy to read if you’re just iffy about it!
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(Click the cover to see my review!)