Bookanista Rec :: IF I LIE

Today’s Bookanista recommendation is a fabulous contemporary from Corrine Jackson – If I Lie

From Goodreads – A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception… Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town. Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend… and her promise.

As a general rule, I don’t read military-inspired books. Nor do I watch military-inspired TV shows or movies. As an Army wife of almost ten years, I find that fictionalized accounts of the military and its ways of life are often either inaccurate or incredibly melodramatic (I’m looking at you, Army Wives.) Furthermore, I find cheating/adultery to be a far-too-common plot element in military-inspired stories. Honestly. The vast majority of service members (and their significant others) are not fickle bedhoppers.

So, you might understand why it took me so long to pick up Corrine Jackson’s If I Lie.  I know Cory through the Bookanistas and while I think she is absolutely lovely, I have to admit that I didn’t plan on reading If I Lie. I love a good contemporary YA novel, but this one had strikes against it from the get-go. Luckily, several of my trusted book friends read If I Lie and had all kinds of wonderful things to say about it. I realized I might be missing out, so I bought myself a copy. I flew through it in two days.

If I Lie is not just a military book, nor is it just a cheating book, and it’s definitely free of melodramatics  There’s SO MUCH to Quinn’s story: weighty family issues, bullying, genuine (though rather untraditional) friendships, and incomprehensibly difficult choices. Poor Quinn has so much on her plate, more than enough to crush the average girl. Good thing she’s the oft-talked about “strong female character” personified. Quinn is smart and steadfast and determined, loyal to her own detriment. And yet, she’s sensitive enough to be relatable — the whole time I was reading I just wanted to give her a big hug.

The dynamic between Quinn, Carey, and their good friend Blake was incredibly compelling. Throughout the novel, Corrine Jackson jumps seamlessly into flashbacks that show the development of the trio’s friendship, as well as its unraveling. We find out on the first page of the story that young Marine Carey has gone MIA while overseas on a deployment, and his disappearance — as well as Quinn’s staggering personal growth — propel the plot forward. The writing in If I Lie is lovely, nuanced and authentic and without fluff. Corrine Jackson appears to write the teen voice effortlessly; I especially loved Quinn’s thoughtful observations about the people around her, and her dry wit.

So, ignore any preconceived notions you might have about military-inspired books. If I Lie is a perfect choice for fans of contemporary young adult fiction. Please do read it soon if you haven’t already!

And don’t forget to check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca  marvels at MIND GAMES by Kiersten White

Shelli Johannes-Wells  explores ESSENCE by Kimberly Derting

Elana Johson  is gaga for GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFever

Stasia Ward Kehoe discusses THE DIFFERENT GIRL by Gordon Dahlquist

Jessica Love delves into BITTERSWEET by Sarah Ockler

Nikki Katz gets lost in THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay

Tell Me: Have you read If I Lie? Thoughts? Do you have a favorite military-inspired book?