Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
I liked If I Lie so, so much more than I expected. I figured this would be another military, bad boy type romance but it far surpassed that generalization. Corrine Jackson really wowed me with her YA debut.

Synopsis: 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. (Goodreads.com)

Firstly, this is NOT a romance, so do not go into it expecting that, like I did. But this is not a bad thing, let me tell you. I was very glad it was not a romance in fact. Quinn is a character in a lot of pain because of a secret she is keeping. The secret is BIG TYPE OBVIOUS from the very beginning and I did wonder how the author would keep the story going and find momentum for the character. Fortunately, I did not have much to worry about.

Quinn is treated like shit by just about everyone in her life. Her father, her ex-friends at school, the boy she lost her virginity to. There is really only one person in Quinn's life who is decent to her and he is unfortunately, dying. Quinn is not as hardened against the pain and the names her classmates call her, much as she wants to be. She still cries and wonders how her father can just look through her. Let me just say, I felt awful for Quinn. That being said, I was really impressed with how she eventually realized she could not give up her life, her sanity, for the sake of a relationship, no matter that he was her best friend at one point.

I was glad that this book ended up not being about a boy. Quinn had to discover who she is, how she wants to live her life and move forward with her own choices leading the way. Much as she believes she loves Blake, the boy she slept with and who started the gossip that she is a "slut", she cannot give her life for him which I was very impressed with. It was not an easy road to get to that point.

While there was not a didactic discussion of slut-shaming in this book, I feel like Corrine Jackson managed to explore the topic in a healthy way through the narrative. I was appalled by the fact that not only Quinn's classmates (who, immature at best, at least I could "understand" why they were treating her that way) but the fact that her father, some teachers at school, basically ADULTS were slut-shaming Quinn, well, I was just incredibly sad and angry. I know it was set in the context of a military community and I am sure it is in fact very different than the non-military world I live in (heck, I can see that just from the recent Petraeus scandal), I just could not believe that adults would do this. It really shows how ingrained blaming the girl in these types of situations is when the man or boy has just as much blame to shoulder.

And don't even get me started on Blake. There is just no way I could really like him and want him in a relationship with Quinn given how he allowed others to treat her, how he treated her himself. It was awful and I was more proud than ever that Quinn realized she was worth far, far more than her classmates, heck, her father!, would ever give her credit for.

This turned out to be an incredibly emotional read for me. I felt Quinn's passion for photography and helping military veterans. I truly experienced the painful school days she had to endure and the silent recriminations from her father. I will say though, this book paints the picture that no one is wholly good or bad. There are so many more shades of gray in a situation than we can ever truly appreciate.

So basically, have I convinced you to try If I Lie yet? It's one of my top books of 2012.

If I Lie is available now from Simon Pulse.

Other reviews:
YA Highway reviews If I Lie
The Garden of Books reviews If I Lie
YA Love reviews If I Lie

Book reviewed from library copy.

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