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Really Ravishing Review (The Secret to Lying)

literati_rain66 Saturday, August 14, 2010 ,
The Secret to LyingReview of The Secret to Lying, by Todd Mitchell.

Quickie: Deeper than expected and easy for teens to relate to. Thumbs up.

Full: James is invisible. Nobody at school notices him. What's worse is that nobody notices that nobody notices him. He feels like he is inconsequential to the world. When he gets an opportunity to transfer to a "high school for geeks" he accepts, with the plan to start a new life for himself.

This plan is a bit flawed though, since it consists mainly of lying about everything in his life. He creates detailed stories of his past- stealing cars, being a street fighter, being a general 'tough guy'. As James tells us, "The secret to lying is this: believe yourself and others will believe you, too." But what happens when you start believing all your own lies? How do you keep a hold of your true self? Can you?

This book was surprisingly deep and thought provoking. What I expected to be a lesson about lying and the consequences of lying turned out to be a exploration of the question, "Who Am I?". James has a serious struggle finding out who he really is- and more importantly, he struggles with being okay with who he is. Every teen goes through this, and some adults do too. It's a tough question to answer, and we, like James, generally do some stupid things on the path to figuring out who we are.

I was right there with James as the line between reality and lies started to blur. At one point, I really wasn't sure what was real and what was a dream. That really helped me to see from James' point of view, since I was just as confused as he was. 

I stated earlier that I think The Secret to Lying will be easy for teens to relate to. One reason I said that is because James' struggle is such a familiar one. He wants to be noticed, and he does so by lying and acting out. He is constantly putting on a show, trying to impress people by pulling pranks and going crazy-  on the outside. On the inside is a jumble of lies and truths and half-truths and in attempt to control it all he starts cutting himself. He even creates wild stories to explain the cuts. He crashes his girlfriend's car. He jumps into an icy lake and gets hypothermia. He tries so desperately to be someone, when he already is someone but just can't see it.

4 out of 5 stars.


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