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Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
Pub. Date: March 8, 2016
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Amulet!)
Summary: 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.
Genre: YA, Contemporary

A rumored teacher-student affair sets off a chain reaction of secrets throughout Paloma High School. From the boy who realizes he might also be into guys to the girl who really, really enjoys hooking up, nearly every student is fighting an inner battle that ultimately bubbles to the surface.

Told through MANY eyes, Seven Ways should have been the kind of book I love. I take a ‘the more, the merrier’ approach to POVs, but this time around, I wasn’t feeling it. One girl – the budding alcoholic – told her story in verse full off purple prose and barely there metaphors. The stoner’s chapters were a lazy, hazy jumble of “so then I was like..”

My problems with this book started early and hit hard: Olivia’s bestie Claire feels the need to mother Liv and try to understand her need for sleeping around. It’s one thing to be a concerned friend, but Claire made a point of making Olivia’s business her own and I’m not at all surprised Claire ended up being the third wheel to their other BFF Juniper. At one point in the book, Matt decides to get high mere feet from his 3-year-old brother. Real nice, Matt! Kat is angry that her mother left and takes that anger out on everyone. Valentine overheard a conversation that sparked the entire affair rumor. He didn’t actually see anyone (apart from the girl’s hair) but that was enough for him to send an anonymous note to the school and start a wildfire of accusations that seriously hurt teachers’ reputations.

The more I think about Seven Ways We Lie the less I like it. What could have been a great read boiled down to a checklist of every ‘teen issue’ the author could think of to cram within its pages: abandonment, divorce, teacher/student relationship, drugs, sex, coming to terms with your sexuality (or asexuality in one character,) underage drinking (including being the supplier at school and an alcohol poisoning subplot,) sibling and family dynamic, social status, etc etc.

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