Book Review: Little Red Lies by Julie Johnston (4 stars)
SIDE NOTE: Apparently, Julie Johnston is the ONLY author without a Facebook, twitter, or blog. Couldn’t find her anywhere. If you locate her on social media, please leave it in a comment so I can update her links.
Little Red Lies by Julie Johnston
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: Tundra Books
Published: September 10th, 2013
Author Links: Goodreads
The war is over, but for thirteen-year-old Rachel, the battle has just begun. Putting childhood behind her, she knows what she wants – to prove she has acting talent worthy of the school drama club, and what she doesn’t want – to romantically fall for someone completely inappropriate. Worries about her veteran brother’s failing health and repugnance at her mother’s unexpected and unwanted pregnancy drive her to seek solace from a seemingly sympathetic, but self-serving teacher. The lies she tells herself hoping to reach solutions to the problems complicating her life merely function to make matters worse. Ultimately, she finds a way to come to terms with life as it reaches an end and life as it begins.
An unfortunate side effect of reading LITTLE RED LIES in one sitting is that I have no notes on my thoughts. An upside is that I was completely immersed in the lives of the characters in LITTLE RED LIES.
The story is begins at the end of WWII when Rachel’s brother returns from the war. He’s changed in ways that the family won’t realize until it’s almost too late. Plus, he’s a complete dick now to his family.
I’m impressed by the subtle things in the narrative that broadcasts the lives of the other characters without Rachel noticing. It really felt like the other characters lived their lives independently from the Rachel’s plot. There were hints of things that happened in early chapters that made an impact on Rachel’s life later on. Some of them were so cleverly hidden that I felt broadsided by the plot twists. HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT COMING?!
I never felt like the dual story lines ever connected in the end. I don’t remember the book saying if the letters written from Jamie, Rachel’s brother, were ever read or if they were destroyed…or whatever. I really wish that the story ended with a scene connecting the letters with Rachel.
However, the ending is poignant and beautiful. This isn’t a HEA, but those looking for a HEA won’t be shell-shocked. Be prepared for a fair amount of crying, yelling at Rachel and Jamie), and reading until the wee hours of the morning. It wasn’t a perfect book, yet this book will leave a mark on your heart (heh, bookmark, get it?).
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)