Monday, June 28, 2010

The Secret to Lying by Todd Mitchell

James Turner was the invisible kid in his dreary, small-town school, until he got accepted into America Math and Science Academy. There, he resolved to create a new image for himself, and the new James is a purple-and-orange-haired rebellious street fighter. At first, James does crazy things and tells outrageous lies to seem interesting and exciting. While he is fabricating his pyromaniac tendencies and hooking up with eccentric but beautiful Jessica Keen, James is slowly losing himself. He begins to dream about fighting demons, and at the same time, begins to cut himself, just to stop the numbness he's feeling. As his life slowly spirals downwards, a human ghost is trying to bring him back up and help him realize what he's losing.

Reading this book was like reading something of John Green's, with a slight twist of fantasy. Like John Green, this book captures the teenage voice really well with its smart, witty dialogue and candid descriptions. Also, it deals with similar themes of self identification. Todd Mitchell, the author of this book, writes about the issues of anorexia and self mutilation in a subtle, potent and believable way. The author really gets the reader to understand how the events in the character's life build up to this point in his life. I love the way the author incorporates classical literature into a contemporary book. Along with the characters alluding to classics, the author includes a Shakespeare quote before each part of the book, which provides in interesting clash of style and tone. The pacing of this book, however, could be a little better; I felt that the ending was a little underdeveloped. Also, I'm not sure I like the fantasy meets reality aspect of this book because I felt that it wasn't necessary and makes the book a bit cheesy. The author writes the fantasy part so that it seems pivotal to the plot, but I felt like it could have been easily omitted. However, it did add an interesting dimension and metaphor. This book's characters are very unique and realistic. The formatting and writing of this book was fascinating. The author's voice captures the reader's attention immediately and the plot sucks you in even more. All in all, it was a one-of-a-kind book. Even after you finish it, you want to linger on the ending and think about the characters.

This IS young adult content meaning language, sensuality, violence and dark themes.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hinsdale, IL USA

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