Monday, July 5, 2010

The Secret to Lying ~ Todd Mitchell review

The Secret to Lying
Candlewick Press
336 Pages
June 8, 2010
Buy @ Amazon

When 15-year-old James gets accepted into American Science and Mathematics Academy, a boarding school, for the start of his sophomore year he takes the opportunity to reinvent himself. Gone will be the nearly invisible James that no one will remember once high school is over and in his place is a new James, an adventure loving, car stealing, street fighting James--created by lies. Known across the school now, dating a cool Junior and reviled as the cool kid among all the nerds at the school, James should have a perfect life.

But he doesn't. Between nightmares of fighting demons, cutting himself, and event after event that lead to relationship after relationship (of all sorts) ending, and 'perfect girl' Ellie refusing to notice him or care about him, James' life seems to be coming apart.

The Secret to Lying is a coming of age story that I'm really glad I got from Early Reviewers because I more than likely wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. James is a really well written character who really is taking the opportunity away from home (at an early age than most get the opportunity) to reinvent himself. It's only after he's living his new life and doing what he thinks he really wants to do that he starts to feel the consequences of his lies and not being himself.

I think that the story was very well written--showing James progress from getting to ASMA, to creating his new persona and all that came with it, to the end. The secondary characters and their stories added to the plot (and James' story) too while being interesting in and of themselves.

The part that I don't think worked so well were the nightmares that he had and the little alternate world created by them. I know that the dreams James was having (and his battles within them) were supposed to mirror his inner turmoil/give it a sort of physical manifestation, but it never completely connected for me. It always seemed like there was just that last piece that needed to be added/written for the connection to be there (or be great).

I think that this is a great book with a male main character, YA especially and one that will appeal to boys but also to girls.


(from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's)


  1. Normally, I never comment on reviews, but I just wanted to commend you on what I thought was a superb book summary —elegantly written, and enticing. And believe me, I know that summarizing this book isn't easy. Have you ever considered being an editor?

    Thanks for posting the review.

    Best wishes,

  2. Thank you so, so much for commenting on my review :) I have not considered that before, no.

    I appreciate everything you said very much, though because I always find summarizing books to be tough.

    Thank you again!!


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