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What I Saw and How I Lied

A mystery with a film-noir feel for teens.

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In 1947, New York is a pretty safe place to be a teenager, but Evie Spooner’s mother still wants to protect her. The 15-year-old, however, doesn’t appreciate rules, especially “No lipstick till you’re 18.” All Evie wants is to smoke candy cigarettes with her friend Margie and listen to Sinatra.

At the outset of What I Saw and How I Lied, the recent winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Evie’s world seems fairly peaceful. Her stepdad, Joe, has returned to Queens from the war with a ruby bracelet for her, enough money to open three appliance stores, and the dream of getting rich off the postwar boom.

Then, suddenly, Joe announces that he, Evie, and her mom are going to Palm Beach, chasing summer all the way to the “ritziest town in Florida,” to a place with just enough glamour and explosions of pink and purple flowers to seem dreamlike.

What Evie and her mother don’t realize is that they are the ones being chased, and the consequences of that chase will change everything. That’s when the teenager begins to think that something adult and mysterious is happening and the story takes off.

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