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“Everybody knows, nobody’s talking.” Skylar and her best friend, Lisa Marie, repeat this saying after the police question them about the Hispanic male who was beaten on Saturday night. Skylar’s boyfriend, Jimmy, is in jail along with his best friend, Sean. The victim had a brother who identified the two boys. He had also identified Skylar’s car, but she is saying there are lots of red Mustangs, and she was nowhere near where the beating took place.

"It's hard to know if Bock’s tale is based on real events, but regardless, LIE is an engrossing read that will lead to thoughts and discussions."

LIE refers to both what people in this story are doing and the highway leading away from the small Long Island town that is cracking. Jimmy, a student new to the school in the fall, is a natural leader. Skylar was thrilled he chose her as his girlfriend. She had been drifting since the death of her mother, but then Jimmy was there to focus on and keep her going. He pulled her through, and she can’t believe he did something like this.

Sean has lived next door to Skylar their entire lives, with Lisa Marie being across the street. Sean’s family wants him to make a deal so he can put this incident behind himself. Jimmy’s family can’t afford bail; his dad is supposedly a 9/11 hero who is on disability. Lisa Marie just wants everyone to keep quiet like Jimmy asked.

Skylar finds that she can’t live with what she saw the night she followed Jimmy and Sean “beaner-hopping.” Especially after Arturo Cortez, the victim, passes away from his injuries. She saw Jimmy and Sean attack the two young men, and Jimmy used a bat. She can’t reconcile this with her Jimmy, though. While she struggles, her father rises out of the grief-induced fog he’s been living in since his wife died, trying to reach her and help her with this dilemma.

Just when the police make it clear that they want to talk with Skylar and Sean again, another tragedy strikes. The right thing to do is becoming clearer, and the characters are reaching for their courage.

Told from the points of view of many characters in the town, this story shows readers how the unthinkable can actually happen. The perspectives of Coach Martinez, the principal, adults, and teens are all made painfully clear. Cracks in the town and in Jimmy, especially, were visible before, but previous to the incident, people were caught up in their own lives and did not want to address a practice that was becoming more and more violent. While Skylar, with her struggles, is the star of the narrative, author Caroline Bock slips easily into the other characters.

Bock writes with power and a deep understanding of human beings. Each detail leads readers vividly into this troubled world --- from the boy of a different ethnicity, who Jimmy says is “okay,” to Jimmy’s father renting a wood chipper to get rid of the bat used in the crime. It's hard to know if Bock’s tale is based on real events, but regardless, LIE is an engrossing read that will lead to thoughts and discussions.

Reviewed by Amy Alessio on February 29, 2012

by Caroline Bock

  • Publication Date: August 30, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction, Young Adult 12+
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 0312668325
  • ISBN-13: 9780312668327