November 13, 2012

The Big Secret • If I Lie

If I Lie Corrine Jackson book cover
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Source: Borrowed from the library || Hardcover

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town. Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep, secrets that aren’t hers to share. When Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.

As a young adult, I’ve come to realize that honesty – in the way I live, the things I say and do, and in general – is very important to me. If I Lie was a surprisingly introspective novel, as it certainly made me question what I would do in Quinn’s very complicated situation. Would I lie for the sake of one of my best friends in the world? Or would I tell the truth so that everyone could be “free”? 

Going into the novel, I had guessed at the premise. This didn’t change the fact that the difficulty and emotional depth of the situation for the people involved still hit me hard as I read it. I may not have burst into tears, but there was a lingering heaviness in my heart as I turned page after page. I really felt all my emotions as I read the novel. 

Quinn was put in such an awful situation, and all because of a big misunderstanding. It was between a rock and a hard place, and I simply had to admire the fact that she tried to deal with everything as best she could. It was admirable to me how she was trying to act like any good friend would, especially because I would probably be the exact same way. 

It was very difficult for me to read the scenes where other people would say mean things or act like she was worthless, but it did portray how cruel people could be at times. The reaction to what she had done was pretty harsh, but I could understand why it was so in the novel. The town she lives in may be small, but the military is certainly a big part of it. Plus, what she did, well, it’s definitely not something that anyone that can take lightly. 

Apart from all the stuff that made this book sad and hard to read, there were a few things that I really liked about it. 

I enjoyed the fact that there was an exploration of the relationship Quinn had with both of her parents. Her father seemed to be reminded of Quinn’s mother by Quinn herself, which led to him withdrawing and acting stoically like Quinn was a soldier and he was her commander. Her mother, on the other hand, seemed to have disappeared without looking back, which makes Quinn feel like she doesn’t care. There was a delicious complexity there. I liked that the author didn’t back down, but instead made these relationships an integral part of Quinn’s story. 

It was also quite enjoyable to hear about the veterans and the project to preserve their history. The volunteer work that Quinn did was pretty interesting, and it definitely made me want to get involved in some way. I always think it’s important to remember the contribution these men (and women) have made in the effort to keep us safe, and I think it’s really cool that this project exists in real life. 

Plus, doing the project allowed Quinn to meet George. George is an amazing presence. In many ways, he reminds me of one of my grandfathers – kind, gruff, hardworking and generally positive about life. He played an important role in her life, and I think the author did a great job making their relationship seem natural. 

The book ends, but not on a completely “happily ever after” note. I actually really like it when books do that, as it feels more authentic to me. It also leaves me free to imagine how things end up for the characters in the future – and this book was no exception. While If I Lie was certainly not easy for me to read and broke my heart multiple times, the story is beautifully told and the delicate issues are all handled incredibly well. I look forward to reading more from Corrine Jackson!


  1. Hahaha, you may like the not so happily ever after endings, but I do not. I've had my eye on this one for a while now. From your review, it sounds really intense yet stunning. I hate mean people. :-P

  2. this sounds like such an intense book! i don't know if it's my cup of tea but i like the sound of this george character. love that he's like a grandfather figure, we don't see too much of that in YA and it kind of reminds me of boxcar children in a way. fantastic review!

  3. Like you, I can really appreciate it when an author takes such a delicate subject and handles it was poise and grace (which it sounds like Jackson did). And I also thrive on a realistic resolution, even if it's not a happily-ever-after. It makes books like this feel more real and, as you said, genuine. I'm really eager to read this one now.

  4. I loved Quinn's work with veterans-such an important project and one I want to explore and hopefully others will too!

  5. Wow! This one sounds so incredible! I remember adding this book to my TBR shelf some time ago but I haven't heard much of it since then. As much as I love my light-hearted books, I also love the ones that make me think and question. This definitely sounds like one of the latter and I can't wait to read it now!

  6. i've really been wanting to read this one and your review solidified it for me. i'm super happy that i don't have to expect a nicely tied up, perfect ending. that kind of doesn't work sometimes and it sounds like this would totally be that kind of situation. great review, a!

  7. I've been wanting to read this one for a while and I'm currently reading at least one glowing review of If I Lie a week which makes me only want to get my hands on a copy even more. It sounds like a heartbreaking yet stunning story. It might be hard to digest at times but I love emotional packed reads which is yet another reason why I'm looking forward to picking this up. Also, I've heard really nice things about George and as Elena point out, we don't see many grandfather figures in YA often, so I'm looking forward to meeting him :)

  8. Wow this sounds really good! I love it when a book is emotionally hard to read. It makes it really memorable when it gets your emotions into it. I also love how the parents and their relationships are added into the plot. This is often something that is overlooked in YA books. Great review, Alexa!

  9. I'm super curious what the secret Quinn is protecting is! I may have to read the book just to figure that out. Even though the subject matter doesn't sound too appealing to me, I like the idea of a really introspective novel. Wonderful review! I am definitely intrigued!

  10. I'm still a little unclear as to what the story is here. There's a lot going on, but I'm intrigued by so much of what you are saying. It sounds like a mix of Something Like Normal and maybe Beautiful Music for Ugly Children (the older person influence). I am going to have to give this a try super soon. :)

  11. I've been wanting to read this one for such a long time. And it is so interesting that you're not the first person I've seen mention George! He must be a great character. I need to get my hands on this one.

  12. See, I like happily ever after endings but I can get behind realistic endings.

    Man. I feel like If I Lie would be kind of a heavy read but worth it for the strong characterization.


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