Book Review: Seven Ways We Lie

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Source: Amulet Books

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Amulet Books. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be on sale on March 8, 2016.*

Synopsis from Amazon:

In Seven Ways We Lie, a chance encounter tangles the lives of seven high school students, each resisting the allure of one of the seven deadly sins, and each telling their story from their seven distinct points of view.

The juniors at Paloma High School all have their secrets, whether it’s the thespian who hides her trust issues onstage, the closeted pansexual who only cares about his drug-dealing profits, or the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal. But it’s Juniper Kipling who has the furthest to fall. No one would argue that Juniper—obedient daughter, salutatorian, natural beauty, and loyal friend—is anything but perfect. Everyone knows she’s a saint, not a sinner; but when love is involved, who is Juniper to resist temptation? When she begins to crave more and more of the one person she can’t have, her charmed life starts to unravel.

Then rumors of a student–teacher affair hit the fan. After Juniper accidentally exposes her secret at a party, her fate falls into the hands of the other six sinners, bringing them into one another’s orbits. All seven are guilty of something. Together, they could save one another from their temptations—or be ruined by them.

When I was first told about this book I was very interested in the concept. Add in the fact that the author, Riley Redgate, is still in college and this book instantly became a must read for me.

Why does the author’s age matter, you ask. It’s simply because I love YA novels that are written by people who are young adults themselves. Don’t get me wrong, adults are great YA authors, obviously. But there’s something so open and genuine about someone who’s a young adult themselves writing about young adults.

Going into this book I didn’t have any expectations other than I liked the concept and I was excited to read it. Therefore when I did read it I got so sucked in that I finished the whole novel in a day.

The novel follows seven high school students: Olivia, Juniper, Matt, Valentine, Lucas, Kate, and Claire. Each of these students represent one of the seven deadly sins in some way. First, I just want to share who I think each one represents and I’d love to hear your opinions once you read the book.

  1. Olivia = Lust
  2. Juniper = Gluttony
  3. Matt = Sloth
  4. Claire = Envy
  5. Kate = Wrath
  6. Lucas = Greed
  7. Valentine = Pride

Honestly, I have no idea if these are correct. Valentine threw me off a bit because he doesn’t seem to represent any of the sins to me. Still, this is my best guess.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the novel. I really enjoyed this story. I liked the mystery of the whole teacher-student sex scandal (you don’t discover who the teacher is until close to the end). Although I guessed correctly pretty early on who it was but it wasn’t so blatantly obvious to me that I was 100 percent sure  and the story behind the scandal was unexpected.

Additionally, I really liked that this book wasn’t all about the scandal. Don’t let the synopsis fool you. For one thing all these characters don’t really come all together until closer to the end of the book. There’s so many things going on before they end up keeping a shared secret.

Olivia, Juniper, and Claire’s friendship is on the rocks because they all have issues and secrets they’re not sharing with each other. Olivia and Kat are twins who are barely speaking and have serious familial troubles. Speaking of familial troubles, Matt’s household isn’t fairing that well either. Lucas has a big secret that could change his whole world if it comes out. And Valentine…well, he was probably my favorite character but he has his own issues as well.

The plot of this novel was well driven and the changing of point of view between the seven characters was very well done. Redgate skillfully changes the voice of each character so they all stand out. This is especially seen in the way she writes Juniper’s POV, which to me read kind of like an Ellen Hopkin’s novel, in that it was less prose and more poetry.

As much as I did enjoy this book, I still had some issues with it. First, unless I missed it, we don’t discover Valentine’s gender until page 110. Up to that point in my head I thought Valentine was a woman and so when it became evident he wasn’t I was a little shocked and had to change my whole perspective.

Secondly, although I liked that each character had their own voice I couldn’t stand the overuse of “like” in Matt’s POV. Also, in his sections all conversations were said in whole paragraphs. For example, rather than splitting up lines of dialogue someone would say, “Hi,” and then I was like, “Hi,” and then he says,”What’s up,” and I’m like, “Nothing. You?”

I don’t know why but that infuriated me. Especially the “likes.” I know we use it in normal conversation but I hated reading it in a book when it wasn’t part of the dialogue. Speaking of dialogue, Matt and Olivia’s use of “Yo,” didn’t sit right with me. It always seemed out of place every time they said it.

Lastly, Claire does something in the novel and we don’t really know if she gets punished for it or not. I wish that could’ve been resolved more. Also, I just genuinely didn’t like Claire as a character and couldn’t muster any sympathy for her.

Still, despite these very small things, I was totally sucked into this novel and couldn’t put it down. I’d say it’s a must read!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Seven Ways We Lie

  1. Reg | She Latitude says:

    I didn’t notice that about Matt’s POV, but I do agree with you that Claire’s actions should have had more consequences. I think my biggest issue with the book is the teacher-student romance, though, which I talked about a little bit more in my own review. I think by and large I was just super impressed that the multiple POV worked really well, though (I gave it 5 stars). 😛

    • Zakiya N. Jamal says:

      Yeah I’m always wary about teacher-student romances in pop culture because I feel like they romanticize it when it’s a really serious thing but it didn’t bother me that much in this novel. I liked your review! 😊

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