Abrams & Chronicle is a new publisher I'm working with this year and if the first novel I read through their bloggers list (from their Amulet imprint) is anything to go by I will be in for a treat. Seven Ways We Lie is a very clever and important young adult book, covering a range of different issues facing teenagers today in an honest and engaging way, and with a fantastically gripping mystery at its core. It is one of the best contemporary novels I've read in a while and I would absolutely recommend you pick it up.
This is the story of seven teenagers, each trying to make it through their formative years as unscattered as possible, which is easier said than done. Covering topics such as sexuality, mental health and forbidden romance, this is a novel that doesn't hold back on the many different insecurities and issues that the main characters are struggling with throughout. While initially their stories are laid out individually, and they only overlap occasionally in the hallways of their high school, a twist of fate brings them together at a pivotal turn within the book, and from that moment onward they're bound by a secret that's not theirs to share.
First of all, let's take a moment to admire the strikingly original cover which not only stands out on a bookshelf in stores, but looks absolutely gorgeous displayed forward-facing on my special YA bookcase. Incorporating the seven deadly sins, one for each of the main characters, is also a very clever touch. The characters are not written to be a particular sin, but there are subtle hints that make it possible for the reader to understand which is which. And because this is a story very much defined by defying the need for society to label people into predefined stereotypes and stigmas, this is very apt indeed.
Despite there being seven protagonists, and seven point of views, this was a novel that really took the opportunity to develop the characters and give each of them their own distinct voice. Personally I felt mostly drawn to Lucas and sisters Kat and Olivia, despite them being wildly different, but I could at times also relate to Juniper, Matt and Valentine. Claire I found a little more difficult to sympathise with at times, yet her behaviour too made complete sense as it was representative of the insecurity many teenagers struggle with during a time within their lives when there are so many changes and important decisions to make, that they believe will define the course of the rest of their lives.
While for the most part this was an exceptional novel, I do have to say that the key storyline involving the secret that binds the characters together felt to me like it had been lifted straight from Pretty Little Liars. I didn't just think it was similar to something in PLL but it was exactly the same in many details, including how the two chararacters are the heart of this controversy met, and that was a shame. I also spotted a linear error in the novel that was a bit distracting (unless I missed something but I even went back to check and I don't think I did) and momentarily took me out of the story. Those were the only two not positive things I could possible say about this book, and other than those I thought this was an absolutely fantastic read.
Seven Ways We Lie is a superb contemporary YA read, touching upon many different issues facing young people today and with a diverse cast of characters. It's clever, gripping and hugely relatable, making it not only fun novel for today's teens but also a very important one.
Seven Ways We Lie is published by Amulet Books and you can buy a copy from Foyles or your own preferred retailer.
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