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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coming of age in 40's America
Set in the US just after WWII, this book is narrated by 15yr old Evie Spooner.
She is the only child of devastatingly beautiful Beverley Spooner and a loving stepfather, Joe. Joe has a chain of appliance stores, reaping the new-found wealth of Americans after the war, however, it seems there are question marks over how he raised the money for them.
Unexpectedly...
Published on 28 Dec. 2009 by DubaiReader

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Of A Dark Dirge
I'm not sure what defines a book as being for teenagers / young adults and also not sure why this one is defined as such. It may be because it is written from the perspective of the teenage main character. However, it's very readable for adults as much as for teenagers. The storyline might not be quite gripping or quick paced enough to keep some younger readers riveted...
Published on 23 Feb. 2010 by A. Rose


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coming of age in 40's America, 28 Dec. 2009
By 
DubaiReader "MaryAnne" (Rowlands Castle, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: What I Saw and How I Lied (Paperback)
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Set in the US just after WWII, this book is narrated by 15yr old Evie Spooner.
She is the only child of devastatingly beautiful Beverley Spooner and a loving stepfather, Joe. Joe has a chain of appliance stores, reaping the new-found wealth of Americans after the war, however, it seems there are question marks over how he raised the money for them.
Unexpectedly he takes Evie and her mother on a holiday to Florida, a four day drive from their home in Queens.
This is an opportunity for Evie to blossom, to experience first love - but all is not as it seems. The young GI, Peter Coleridge, who sweeps Evie off her feet, is formerly from Joe's platoon. He seems to know a lot more about Joe than Joe is happy with.
Everything comes to a head as a furious typhoon sweeps the coast, reaping chaos and mayhem over the whole area and irrevocably changing Evie's life.

All the characters are beautifully drawn, Evie, a teenager desperate to make the jump into adulthood but in many ways very naive, her mother, a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, the salesman step-father, plus several other guests at the hotel.
Unfortunately I didn't feel the court case presented a true test of Evie's allegiancies, though I'd spoil the plot if I explained why.
Definitely a good read but not quite 5 stars.

The cover is striking - a flyleaf depicting a young Evie from the 40's and an inner cover showing her beautiful mother - a woman of her time.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secrets and Lies, 27 Aug. 2009
By 
Basement Cat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What I Saw and How I Lied (Paperback)
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Evie is on the cusp of adulthood, but it's not coming quick enough for her. Like all young girls, she dreams of falling in love for the first time, and being allowed to wear makeup and high heels. When Evie's stepfather suddenly takes the family for a holiday in Florida, she is thrilled, but this is the first step towards tragedy that will cause her to grow up much more quickly than she wants too. The story is set just after the war when America was a prosperous country, and everyone had money to spend. Evie's stepfather was no different, and had set up some hardware stores, but where did he get the money from? A mysterious phone call prompts their flight from New York to Florida, but trouble follows them down there.

This is a great story, which I really enjoyed, and after I got to a certain point, I just couldn't put it down. Evie is a character that you can really warm to, and the author makes you sympathise with her as things start to go wrong. She tries so hard to be grown up, but she doesn't understand the rules of the game, and gets her fingers burnt. The story is set in the USA just after the second world war, and is filled with evocative sights and sounds of the era. The author says that this is a period that she is fascinated with, and this comes through in her writing. A very good read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What I Saw and How I Lied, 12 Oct. 2011
By 
carly (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What I Saw and How I Lied (Paperback)
This book is set in the 40's era at the end of WWII. The main character in the story is 15 year old Evie Spooner, who like all teenage girls dreams about falling in love for the first time, wearing make-up and an high heels and just wants to be more like her mum.

Evie is the only child of the beautiful Beverley Spooner and step-father Joe Spooner. Joe has come back from the war and has opened a couple of businesses and seems to be a good business man and loving father and husband. Unexpectedly he comes home from work and wants to pack everything up and go on vacation to Florida the next day.

The family seem to love Florida and are making friends. Evie meets Peter Coleridge (23) and falls in love, he is charming and extremely handsome. Turns out Peter served with Joe in the war. Things from then get complicated for Evie and she finds herself in the middle of a web of lies.

I loved the beautiful transformation of Evie into Evelyn, when she goes from little girl to being a grown up and knows what she has to do to fix things for her family.

I really enjoyed this book and read it very quickly, it is a little slow paced at the start tho. The characters are believable and likeable. 4/5 stars, A must read. :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Of A Dark Dirge, 23 Feb. 2010
By 
A. Rose (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: What I Saw and How I Lied (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not sure what defines a book as being for teenagers / young adults and also not sure why this one is defined as such. It may be because it is written from the perspective of the teenage main character. However, it's very readable for adults as much as for teenagers. The storyline might not be quite gripping or quick paced enough to keep some younger readers riveted and subtleties may be lost on others. In fact it was probably 90 to 100 pages into the book before anything really `happened' and even then it was only a hint and quickly off the scent again.

I found the title "What I Saw And How I Lied" very attractive and expected a big mystery lead up to a massive lie and, hopefully a great ` being found out'. Sadly the book doesn't live up to the title and I found the storyline very average. It might suit the American audience more than British because of the vocabulary and writing style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply great!, 28 Dec. 2010
This review is from: What I Saw and How I Lied (Paperback)
This book, as suggested by the plot, focuses in some aspects about life after the second world war. When Evie's stepfather comes back all the misteries occur. Evie finds out about her neighbours, her stepfather and a new guy which she falls in love with. At the end the reader is left thinking about the unfairness of life and left wondering, to decide for themselves who was lying and who wasnt. I would rate this book 9/10 as it was unputdownably gripping, thought-provokingly powerful, with a hint of romance. Blundell is one to watch. Her believable characters inhabit a very real world, and she chooses her words with care. This book is not called Why I Lied, remember, but How. Ponder that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting postwar coming-of-age tale, 2 Nov. 2013
This review is from: What I Saw and How I Lied (Paperback)
Set shortly after WWII, "What I Saw and How I Lied" is the dramatic coming-of-age of fifteen-year-old Evie Spooner. She and her friend Margie "smoke" candy cigarettes and long to be treated as young women rather than girls; Evie's mother dresses her in childish pinafores and forbids her to wear makeup. Her stepfather Joe has become a successful appliance salesman after coming home from the war, and when he suggests a sudden trip to Florida, Evie views it as an adventure. Evie experiences her first real crush on Peter, an ex-GI who served with Joe in Europe. But dark secrets chase Evie and her family until a dramatic climax forces Evie to grow up quickly and painfully.

The grueling car trip to Flordia (no air conditioning in the car or hotel) brought to life a time when interstate travel was not so smooth or glamorous; most of the hotels in Palm Beach are boarded up. Florida was still segregated; Evie notes the White and Colored drinking fountains, and local hotels are anti-Semitic as well. Evie and her mother spend aimless days at the pool while her normally even-tempered stepfather becomes increasingly crankier (and more alcoholic) as the summer wears on.

Judy Blundell has done a fabulous job of capturing the feel of 1947 postwar America, a place where Victory Gardens are still a very recent memory, and luxuries like nylons, gas, sugar and creamy sweet butter are new and unfamiliar after years of wartime rationing. Evie and her friend Margie swoon to a young Sinatra ("All or Nothing at All" makes an appearance) and songbook standards like "I"ll Be Seeing You," and follow the latest in postwar fashion (long skirts and fluffy tulle are in after fabric rationing), while her relatives listen to radio dramas. Evie's glamorous mother smokes in bed. After being in such a rush to grow up (stealing her mother's bra and padding it with tissues, experimenting with kissing), Evie discovers that her mother's apparently glamorous "female wisdom" comes with a high cost that may not be worth the ultimate price. The central dilemma over what Evie saw and how she lied forces her to choose sides between her love for her parents and her love for Peter, and Evie goes from being a naïve preteen to a heartbroken adult all too believably as her eyes are opened to various adult truths. "What I Saw and How I Lied" is a wonderfully atmospheric young adult novel that explores first love, loyalty, and the price of sacrifice in an engaging (and engrossing) pageturner that will keep you hooked until the final page.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good thriller for ages 13 and up,, 7 Mar. 2011
By 
Murray "Murray79" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What I Saw and How I Lied (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Teenaged Evie longs to be grown-up and glamorous, like her bombshell mom, but she gets more than she bargained for when her stepfather whisks the family away to Palm Beach and she falls in love with a charming "older man." Peter is 23, wealthy, and seems to be fighting his feelings for her. He also seems to be fighting with her stepfather. Peter claims Evie's stepfather cheated him in an end-of-WWII business deal (not a very nice or ethical deal -- it involved stealing & selling valuables confiscated from the Jews during the war), and the tension between the two men eventually comes to a head, leaving one of them dead and Evie in an unthinkable position.

I liked this book a lot. The writing, though not overly detailed, still paints a colorful picture of post-war life, lingo, and style. The plot makes its twists and turns, and though the reader can see where things are going, young, naive Evie cannot. When she finally understands "what she saw," and takes a second look at all the things she'd misinterpreted, her astonishment is palpable to the reader.

As for "how Evie lied," I don't want to give away too much, because this book is absolutely worth reading, but I liked Evie's innocence and upstanding forthrightness and was disappointed when she lied. I realize that this is a coming-of-age story, and the whole point is, Evie _loses_ her innocence. Boy does she ever -- I found her transformation from the simple world of childhood to the complicated, compromised world of adulthood heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking when it happens to any of us (though it doesn't happen to many of us in the exact way it happens to Evie -- most of us don't end up testifying in a criminal trial!), but happen it must. I guess my unwillingness to accept Evie lying is a testament to how realistically her character was drawn; I liked innocent Evie and was sad to see her grow up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A coming of age historical murder mystery, 10 Mar. 2010
By 
L. Cooney (York, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What I Saw and How I Lied (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's a strong hint of old fashioned 1940s film noir about Judy Blundell's What I Saw and How I Lied - the femme fatale figure of Evie's mother, in combination with the mysterious disappearance of a young man with dark secrets about her family, makes for a potent and heady cocktail in the oppressive environment of the Florida winter, where storms seem to ravage the area, and not just weather-wise. Under this cloud of impending doom, 15 year old Evie grows to be a young woman, craving the picture perfect, glamorous lifestyle her mother enjoys. However, this coming of age has a sting in its tail - in achieving maturity, Evie is forced to confront the darker side of human nature, as well as find out the extremes she will go to to protect those she loves, even if that means sacrificing someone else she cares about.

I don't read a lot of books set in this time period, but the imagery and setting that Blundell evokes is completely captivating. It feels like watching a classic Double Indemnity type movie play out in front of you, with the 'polka dots and moonbeams' world of adulthood that Evie idealises, and the twisted side of that world, captured wonderfully, not least in the striking cover art. And by transporting the reader to that environment, we are transported into Evie's story. Although the plot can be a little slow in places, it is truly gripping due to the voice that Blundell gives to Evie, adding depth in its simplicity and well drawn small cast of characters, and meant that whilst I spotted how the book would end a few pages before, I didn't want it to end.

This is a novel that's wasted on being marketed at the young adult readers. That isn't to say they won't enjoy it - they will - but if you've been overlooking this book because you think it's just for teenagers, think again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars YA noir comes of age, 15 Nov. 2009
This review is from: What I Saw and How I Lied (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's 1947 and 15-year-old Evie lives with her glamorous mother, step-father Joe and grandmother in Queens. When an old war buddy calls the house looking for Joe, he decides to take Evie and her mother for a holiday in Palm Beach, Florida where they meet New York hoteliers, the Graysons and Peter Callaghan, a former private in Joe's army unit.

Tired of being treated as a child, Evie is drawn to the handsome Peter and despite her mother's insistence on chaperoning her, takes every opportunity available to spend time with him. However even as Evie finds herself falling in love, she notices the strange hold that Peter seems to have over her parents and more disturbingly how the war has not changed the way in which Jews are treated. When a tragedy strikes, Evie is forced to decide between betraying her family or betraying Peter and in the process, grow up faster than she ever thought possible.

Written in a noir style, Blundell succeeds in recreating the feel of post-War America through the authentic feel of Evie's first person voice although the references to the cinema of the time feels a little forced. Strangely, Evie's love of noir cinema (citing Mildred Pierce amongst others) makes it difficult to believe that she's so slow in realising the truth of what is going on around her, particularly when it's so obvious early on. More successful is the way in which she slowly comes to realise the anti-Semitism that is rife in post-War America - a scene involving the expulsion of the Graysons from their hotel is particularly effective. The book really comes alive though in its final third and the tension of the courtroom scenes really serves to heighten Evie's dilemma and makes her final choice all the more poignant.

Joe's back story is well told and it's interesting to see a non-traditional take on the actions of the US during World War II. Evie's mother is an interesting character - held back by her good looks and glamorous personality and desperate to ensure that Evie doesn't repeat her mistakes and Evie's frustration at this really comes through.

All-in-all it's a satisfying read with a sophisticated plot and definitely worth a look.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 24 Oct. 2008
By 
TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
World War II is over and life is slowly getting back to normal. For Evie Spooner, that means having her father, Joe, back from the war and her parents back together again. On a whim, Joe decides to uproot the family for an extended vacation to Florida.

While there, Evie and her family run into Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served with Joe in the war. Peter is charming and movie-star handsome, and Evie soon finds herself falling head over heels. But Peter has brought with him secrets about Evie's family and Evie finds herself caught in a web of lies. No one is who they seem and Evie has to decide who she should trust and who to betray.

When I opened my copy of WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED and saw it described as a mystery/detective novel, I knew I was in for a treat. This is an engaging coming-of-age novel set against mystery and scandal. I loved the film noir style, which helped move the mystery along at a quick pace. I was immediately drawn into the story and the setting and felt like I was there with Evie as she was uncovering the truth.

If you get your hands on WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED, be prepared to be sucked into the 1940s and be up reading all night. This is a book that should not be missed!

Reviewed by: Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen
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What I Saw and How I Lied
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell (Paperback - 22 July 2011)
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