Saturday, September 19

Jessica Alcott - Even When You Lie to Me

Fans of John Green's Looking for Alaska as well as Lauren Oliver and Sarah Dessen will embrace this provocative debut novel, an exploration of taboo love set against the backdrop of a suburban high school.

Charlie, a senior, isn't looking forward to her last year of high school. Another year of living in the shadow of her best friend, Lila. Another year of hiding behind the covers of her favorite novels. Another year of navigating her tense relationship with her perfectionist mom.

But everything changes when she meets her new English teacher. Mr. Drummond is smart. Irreverent. Funny. Hot. Everyone loves him. And Charlie thinks he's the only one who gets her.

She also thinks she might not be the only one with a crush.

In this stunning debut, Jessica Alcott explores relationships-and their boundaries-in a way that is both searingly honest and sympathetic.

First of all, I don't understand what's with the John-Green-Lauren-Oliver-Sarah-Dessen comparison in the blurb. My, if there ever was a book LESS likely, it would be this. I present to you the frustratingly pointless Even When You Lie to Me.

The book started off with great potential, but I quickly found myself getting frustrated with every turning page. Reason? Charlie. *sighs* Possibly and probably the most annoying MC I've read of so far this year. She thinks she's ugly, boring, plain, unpopular. Yes, I understand we all go through issues like this during puberty. Normal, yeah?  And I have no problem reading about insecure characters because I always try to empathize with them. Body image and popularity within peer groups is something very important during adoloscence, so I completely understand what the author was trying to convey here. But what I don't see is- where's this headed?

We saw ZERO growth in Charlie's character. I've been in this situation one too many times when being with friends who are prettier/ more popular, but seriously? It's like Charlie only has these thoughts. She took great pleasure in self-pity. She was forever comparing herself with her bestfriend, and was even forever at daggers with her mom, who frankly, was just normal. If the author was trying to conjure an annoying-mom image here, she clearly failed. It's always her being green-eyed over her mother, her friends, her teachers or over the whole world in general. Take a look at a few selected quotes: 

"She stripped off her shorts in one swift movement and turned her back as she lifted her shirt up. I couldn’t help looking. Her body was beautifully simple, an unbroken sine wave of curves. My skin didn’t fit the same way; it puckered and spilled out in places as if whoever had engineered me hadn’t bought enough fabric." 

  “Who are you texting?” I asked, glancing at the wall clock. Two minutes till the morning bell. I pressed my hand against the bump on my head as if I were trying to stop it from spreading.
    “What?” Lila said, looking up. “Oh, just some dudebro I gave my number to at ShopRite.”
    This always happened to Lila. We didn’t talk about the fact that it didn’t happen to me.

"Every time Lila hooked up with someone, I felt worse; another guy and her tally of conquests pulled further and further away from mine. It was particularly depressing because mine was zero. I knew I wasn’t supposed to mind. I didn’t want to mind. I pretended not to mind. I hoped someday I actually wouldn’t." 

Oh, and Charlie's hormones wreaking havoc only made me cringe. It's not like guys weren't interested in her. They were. She just LOVED ignoring obvious facts and enjoyed wallowing in self-pity and thinking of what she didn't/couldn't have. A few quotes which had me cringing:  

"Every once in a while I couldn't help looking at the bulge where sometimes the seams of his  jeans would push against—"


"Sometimes when he stretched, I watched his shirt pull taut against his torso; there was something erotic about seeing the fabric straining upward.."

Double okay.

"I thought about being alone with him, working on the newspaper at night, resting my head on his shoulder in frustration. He’d wrap his arm around me and rub my shoulder. I’d look down and notice he had a giant—"


I would have liked it if we had at least witnessed her character growth, but no. We didn't, which brings me to my main concern. What was the point of this book? Imagine a similar girl, in a similar situation reading this. What would she get out of this book? Keep on depreciating yourself and screw over the lives of teachers you take a fancy to? I mean, yeah, the teacher, Drummond, was to blame too- he did turn out to be sick, but ugh. Charlie was clearly VERY messed up. She needed therapy, why did no one see it?!! 

At least something should have come out of this whole story- Charlie learning a lesson, Drummond learning his lesson, a message saying that this is just not right. Anything! The author had a huge responsibility to make this really potential story work out in at least an okayish manner, but she didn't do it justice. If anything, she would have corrupted the mind of the reader. There were too many subject that are fundamentally very wrong that are just not appropriate for teens, God save even younger readers. 

Final verdict: There's nothing in this book. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. 

The story idea: 2/5
The realization of the story: 1/5
The characters: 1/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 1/5


  1. Just reading the quotes I can tell this is a big NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO for me. Gosh.... and a contemporary with no character growth? yeah, you can bet your life I will never pick this. The main thing about contemporary novels are the character devolopment sometimes and if you don't have that... why waste your time?

    1. I know, right? You should read the book JUST for the cringe-worthy writing *ROFL* But in all seriousness, STAY AWAY from this book if you value your life, Noelia, STAY AWAY. I really hated that there was no character growth. Like, what the heck?!!

  2. Oh nooo... I kind of wanted to read this book before but now I don't want to read it at all. No character growth and the MC is annoying? No thanks. And the quotes... Oh boy. Nonononono *shakes head vigorously*

    1. No indeed, Alexandria. This book is just not worth your time. I take great pleasure in warning you to stay away from this book if you value your fragile mind. It totally screws you up. Nope, not for me, not for anyone.

  3. i dnfed this a while ago so i'm happy that this book wasn't very good even though it sounds so mean to say that but at least now i don't have to play that game of should i pick it up again just in case it's really good and wins an award and becomes a movie. i don't know if you noticed this but one thing that bugged me SO MUCH while i was reading this book were the similes? there were so many of them and all so strange (like she compared stuff to vaseline and just weird stuff) so that was the main reason why i dnfed it. i got to chapter 2 and then couldn't do it. the writing was just not for me and from the quotes you included... it sounds like i would have dnfed it sooner or later. i'm already very very uncomfortable from them so i can't even imagine how i would have reacted if i had actually read it.

    1. You certainly wouldn't want to play that game where you wonder whether you should pick it up again or not because even chances of this book being made into a movie are pretty nil, forget about winning an award :D OMG yes, the similes were pretty awful and weird. Weirdly awful, awfully weird- both. *shudders* Good job in dnf-ing this book, Annie! *showers you with sparkles and confetti*


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