What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell has been on my TBR pile for quite awhile, and after deciding to read this one for the Read From Your Shelves Challenge, I am so glad I got around to reading it.
Set right after World War II, Evelyn is fifteen years old, trying to grow up despite her mother's attempt to keep her young and innocent. Her stepfather, Joe, is back from the war, and they should be a happy family again, yet a few things are standing in their way. First of all, they are living with Joe's mother, Grandma Glad, who is anything but. She adores her son, but doesn't have much good to say about Evelyn's mother. Things with Joe are also a bit strange. Joe, Evelyn, and Bev (her mother) all take a rather impromptu vacation to Florida after receiving some strange telephone calls. While there a handsome stranger, Peter shows up and Evelyn falls for this dashing young man. It turns out that Peter knew Joe from their days in Europe together and there may be something not so innocent about their relationship.
This suspenseful historical fiction novel was a National Book Award finalist last year, and I was totally sucked into this story myself. It is easy to see why it has received recognition. Blundell's writing made me feel as if I were a part of Evelyn's life, able to envision the clothes, the setting, everything that made up her world. Even as I closed turned the last page of this book, I was left with some sense of uncertainty - knowing what I believed Evelyn saw and how she lied. I would love to discuss this with someone else who read this book to see if their interpretation is the same.