Review: Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Monday, March 7, 2016
Title: Seven Ways We Lie
Author: Riley Redgate
Genre: contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Published: expected March 8 2016
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

Okay, so I had to make a new shelf on my Goodreads account just for this book and how it affected me as I read it. Like moss, it grew on me as I spent time in the heads of these various, disparate characters. Seven Ways We Lie certainly starts out okay, but then, once the multiple voices differentiate and solidify into recognizable characters, it gets pretty damn good and very hard to put down. Some aspects of the novel succeeded better (Olivia's entire storyline YES THIS) than others (the verse POV), but overall this was a strong, memorable, inclusive contemporary YA. 

There are seven rotating POVs in this novel and that is both its strength and a weakness. For the most part, these characters are strongly represented. They are well-rendered and they are distinct in how they speak, think, approach life. There are a few that standout more to me as a reader, though I think every reader will find the two or three voices that most remind them of their own. The only one that did not work for me at all was the perspective told entirely in verse. It definitely made the voice memorable but I cannot connect to stories told in verse. I was left completely emotionally uninvolved with that story besides where it touched the other six's. 

Riley Redgate's debut is a strong and emotional contemporary. There's a lot of interpersonal dynamics at play here -- that of best friendship, romantic love, platonic love, family -- but there's also great representation of different kinds of lifestyles. There are more kinds of sexual orientation besides hetero or homosexual; this is the first book I've read with a protagonist that admittedly, on the page, pansexual. Seven Ways We Lie tackles a lot of issues but my favorite was the way it handled a sexually active young woman's plot arc. It was a feminist plotline; one that was progressive, and perfectly developed so that anyone could grasp the double standard being so pointedly explored.

It wasn't a perfect read for me, but once I was hooked, Seven Ways We Lie quickly endeared itself to my heart and imprinted onto my bookish memory. I will be on the lookout for whatever Redgate publishes next because this was the kind of novel to read, and them immediately recommend to friends.

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