24 September 2010

Title: Where the Truth Lies
Author: Jessica Warman
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers, 320 Pages (September 28th 2010)
From: the Publisher, Thank You!

Synopsis: On the surface, Emily Meckler leads the perfect life. She has three best friends, two loving parents, and the ideal setup at the Connecticut prep school where her father is the headmaster. But Emily also suffers from devastating nightmares about fire and water, and nobody knows why. Then the enigmatic Del Sugar enters her life, and Emily is immediately swept away—but her passionate relationship with Del is just the first of many things that aren't quite what they seem in Emily's life. As the lies she's been told start to unravel, Emily must set out to discover the truth regarding her nightmare; on a journey that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about love, family, and her own idyllic past.

This companion novel to Warman's critically acclaimed Breathless proves that sometimes the biggest lies are told to the people you love the most.

Review: 4 Stars - Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman might be a companion novel to Warman’s previous novel – Breathless – however this book has the writing, characters and plot to firmly stand on its own two feet. With twists and turns that were often shocking and sometimes heart wrenching, I found myself feeling for the characters as they made more then a few extremely hard choices.

Lies, betrayals, cover-ups and more are the building blocks in making the story and characters what they are. Each character – main and side - had something hidden about them and as things began to unravel and layers were peeled away, reveling some strong yet wounded teens and even some of the adults, we were able to get to the core of what was the driving force for some of the decisions made in the present and in the past.

Our main character Emily was kind of hard to grasp in the first part of the book. She seemed like such a people pleaser and really I felt she was almost trying to hard to be perfect that I just couldn’t seem to relate to her at all. Once Del enters her life she breaks free from that need to be perfect mold. I felt she was still good, but acted more like a carefree teenager at the same time.

Del, the new kid in school was a mystery wrapped within it’s self. He has many issues in his life and we learn some but not everything. He’s got his scars, but I think that as a surprise even to him - Emily was able to bring out not only more of who he really is and wants to be, but who he could be. The interaction between Emily and Del was sometimes frustrating because you could see Emily questioning things, but never asking them and if she did ask, would he answer?

The side characters were entertaining and gave me as a reader a chance to see Emily change as a person, as we all do and how her relationships changed with each of her friends and roommates.

Emily has a life filled with lies, betrayals and cover-ups and things only get worse as the book progresses. One of the many plots that she goes through, I didn’t see coming. It was shocking to me to watch her deal with it all and though I didn’t agree with some of choices she made, I think she did the best with what she was up against. The main issues are something that many teens these days will unfortunately be able to relate to. When truths come out you could almost feel the characters emotions shift on those last few pages of the book.

All in all, Warman has written a story telling what the effects of such lies create for everyone and how the emotional affects can be carried from one person to the next. How people change and grow and that it’s okay and how you don’t have to be alone to deal with the big stuff that life can throw at you. Where the Truth Lies was shocking yet telling and I enjoyed unraveling the book from its pages to see who the characters really were at the heart of things. I’m looking forward to reading more from Warman in the future and Breathless – thankfully is sitting one of my shelves, Happy reading.

Interview with author, Jessica Warman -

When throughout the writing process did you know you wanted to write a companion novel to Breathless? Can you tell us about the process and how that happened?

Sure. When I finished writing “Breathless,” there were a couple of characters – Mazzie and Renee – who I really wanted to explore a bit further. Renee has a small role in “Breathless,” but she’s one of the major characters in “Where the Truth Lies.” She also happens to be based on somebody who I am quite close with in real life. The process was very organic; the idea for the book just sort of presented itself to me… all I had to do was get it down on the page.

If any of your characters could walk off the pages of the book and be real – whom would you want that to be and why?

That’s an interesting question, because so many of my characters are based on people who I actually know, or have known in the past. But if I had to choose a fictional character to become real, it would definitely be Del Sugar. He is my favorite character hands-down. I’ve written so many short stories about him prior to writing “Where the Truth Lies,” and I even wrote an adult novel (that has never been published) about Del as a grown-up. I simply adore him. It would be such a thrill to see him come to life!

Being that you attended a coed Boarding School – as do your characters in both Breathless and Where The Truth Lies – is there anything within both or either that are based on true events?

There’s so much from both books that is based on true events. I almost don’t even know where to start. Certainly, plenty of the events in Breathless happened to me in real life. The character of Katie Kitrell was based on myself as a teenager. Most of the supporting characters have real-life inspirations. Where the Truth Lies isn’t based nearly as heavily on true events – it’s definitely a work of fiction – but there are several incidents in the book that really happened to me while I was at boarding school. I’ll let you guess what those might be…

Could you share your favorite line or passage from Where The Truth Lies?

I really love the part where Emily tells Del that his favorite red blanket is getting covered in dirt, and he responds that “it’s not covered in dirt. It’s covered in you.”

What did you find was the hardest part in writing this book? Being a companion novel and the process throughout the writing of Where The Truth Lies?

To me, the editing process is always the hardest part of writing any novel. Writing the first draft – that’s easy, because the material is new, and it’s such a thrill to be caught up in the story. But once the first draft has been written, my editor and I work together to polish the manuscript as much as possible. It becomes very difficult – at least for me – to read the same book over and over again, trying to look at it critically in order to improve it. Trust me, after seven or eight reads, it becomes grueling!

Could you tell us a little about what you’re currently working on and when we might get a chance to read it?

Yes! I just finished up my third novel, called Between, which will be out next year. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this book. The reception for it is already somewhat overwhelming. It’s been sold in ten countries so far, which is incredibly exciting to me. I cannot WAIT to see how readers respond! Beyond that, I also have a fourth novel, which is still untitled, scheduled for release in 2012.

Between will be out Fall of 2011.

Thank you so much for stopping by Jessica! It’s been great!

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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