Monday, September 10, 2012
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.
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. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
With a first half that was almost too difficult, it's the second half that saved it for me.
It got difficult, trying to cheer for someone acting like a martyr. A good portion of IF I LIE had me questioning Quinn’s reasons. I also doubted her strength, such stalwart loyalty because if it wasn’t one thing, then it was another... and on and on and on. That there was so much negativity directed at her for what exactly? And why was she pushing through despite all that? All of it became almost too painful to bear, but she’d remain strong in the face of everybody being in turns vindictive, cold, and then accusatory. So much so that I simply I wondered to what end on her part. And it’s sad and depressing everything she goes through… and frankly, just this side of frustrating sometimes: that she could be such a good person, such a strong individual, holding things in all because of a promise made. Worse, it’s promises made by others that make her life a little more hellish. Bottom line? Each time something happened, there I'd be hoping she'd do/say something...anything!
I almost threw my hands up in defeat with every mention The Other dude... because I simply felt him weak and undeserving, but then this relationship and all other relationships she was part of had me engrossed. Every single (non) relationship she had was a surprise, how some people could disappoint her, let her down… and later how others could redeem themselves. Mainly though there’s the matter of how those that matter, surprising her; and then how those that didn’t matter, acting as expected.
But first, take a small town where everyone knows what every one else is up too, made only more difficult to navigate by a military got your back set up, and her life already difficult becomes more so because if you step back in the past, it is evident that her life never has been that easy. An absent mother, an overbearing father, and her keeping up with the appearance of being one in a perfect couple, life could get hard… but as her story proves, it could get worse.
But things do get better; more real, if you will. Eventually, all that painful sadness aside, it’s the slow revelations that come to her, about who is in control, who actually matters, as well as what others are capable of that had me reading from this in a matter of hours. And yes, these developments had me seeing her in a slightly different light, and yes, I may have even started cheering for her (although maybe we should substitute cheering with a fist pump + quiet-ish whoop that came much later in the story).
The direction it all went, that the strength I’d initially doubted finally going in a direction I could agree with? That’s the bit that had me nodding happily along. That she wasn’t a martyr after all, that she did something about things, and those that failed to step up are made aware that they’d fallen short. Moments like those had me going, “Finally, someone saying something I agree with.”
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