For Abigail, a new school could be the fresh start she so desperately needs. With her parents in the army and her sister Beth too far away to run to, she knows this year needs to be different. She’s never been part of the cool crowd and for the first time Abby wants to fit in. And all it takes is just one little white lie…because some truths are too painful to share.
But at Cotswold Community College, Abby isn’t the only one with a past she’d rather forget. And when she stumbles across a closely-guarded secret, Abigail realises that her one little white lie could reveal everything she’s worked so hard to hide…
Review: I reviewed Zoe’s debut, Under My Skin, last year and was blown away by it (you can read my review of Under My Skin here). I’ve also been lucky enough to work with Zoe on both of her book tours – I don’t usually review the books I’m organising tours for but I made an exception on this one because I am completely in love with Zoe’s writing. I love YA. I love dark stories. I love stories that tackle real, emotional issues. Zoe’s books tick all those boxes for me, essentially creating my perfect Young Adult story and I definitely wasn’t disappointed with White Lies.
White Lies follows Abby who, being a child to parents who are both in the army, has never really settled anywhere to long. She’s now been placed in yet another school, but this time it’s a boarding school. In a new place, with new people, Abby is forced way out of her comfort zone and with only her sister to talk to through text, tries desperately hard to fit in. Right from the off, Abby is reluctant to tell people, particularly the girls in her dorm, about her past – so she lies. And that little white lie creates turmoil in her new life and she soon finds out she’s not the only person with a past they wish to forget.
Oh gosh, I devoured this book. Partly for the story, partly for Zoe’s fantastic storytelling skills – I think she could probably make an entire book about socks interesting. But for whatever reason, I found it extremely difficult to put down which is a lot for me because I’m a very slow reader. It starts with a whole lot of mystery – what has happened to Abby in the past? And as we go along and her little white lie gets thicker and thicker, we are further from finding out the truth. The story unravels very nicely – never giving too much away.
I felt so overwhelmingly sad for Abby throughout the entire thing. To me, she was the only truly likeable character – but in a good way. I felt it accentuated her loneliness two fold. I wish I could have just reached into the book and hugged her and told her everything was going to be okay and that she was doing fine. The fact Abby suffers with mental health problems really struck a chord with me and made me relate to her even more. The messages in this book were so bloody important and I particularly loved this line…
Try and forget about the stigma attached to it. All it is, is finding out where you hurt, and how we can help.
The only, tiny reason I didn’t give White Lies the full, 5 stars was because I felt the ending was a little abrupt. I don’t know whether that was just me hoping it would continue for another 40 chapters or what but I was surprised when I hit the end as I didn’t feel like Abby’s story was over (maybe it’s not?) I also worked out the twists – particularly one of them, pretty early on however this doesn’t really take anything away from the book because it was just as amazing regardless.
Zoe is an extremely talented writer and a strong, strong voice for Young Adult literature. Her stories, although obviously unrealistic, provide us with some incredibly important messages. Messages that, if you are a young adult, might apply to you now. Or if you’re not, you might have been through something similar when you were. Broken down, White Lies really is just about a girl who wants to fit in and make friends – and we’ve all been through that haven’t we? But Zoe turns these normal, every day problems of the younger generation into dark, twisting and dangerous tales that grab you by the hand and don’t let go.