I get the sense this is the current “it” book to be passed around youth librarians. A number of youth librarians I know have read this and loved it. I really liked it too. It is part mystery, coming of age and historic fiction.
Evie has a gorgeous mother who turns heads and invites a lot of gossip. Her step-father, Joe, recently returned from fighting in World War II. He decides to take Evie and her mom on a vacation to Palm Beach in the off-season. There she meets Peter, a beautiful man who is not what he seems. She falls in love and into a web of lies that keep the reader guessing until the final chapters. The story takes twists into murder, anti-semitism and first love.
The thing I really loved about this book is that it really sets the tone of an authentic post World War II America. The girls use chocolate cigarettes to practice smoking. They don’t wear pants. People are enjoying the boom of a rising economy (ironic to be reading this book at this time.) They get to have sugar again and the victory gardens are growing weeds.
You get a real sense of Evie’s struggle to figure out what is going on with her parents and Peter. Is it a chance meeting with Peter, or did he follow them to Florida? Why does Joe hate him so much. Is her puppy love for Peter real?
In What I Saw and How I Lied, Evie must figure out when does the lie become reality.