If I Lie
Author: Corrine Jackson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: August 28th 2012.
My rating: 3.5 stars
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.
If I Lie is a book which puts you in a stupor of emotions that my feelings are all over the place about how I feel about this book. On the one hand it’s gritty, raw and Jackson’s writing left me in a huge mess. The unexpected blows kept chipping away until at some points I couldn’t take any more.
Quinn’s life is hell right now; she’s been tagged the school slut for cheating on her boyfriend Carey before he was going to be deployed to Iraq. Carey was the school hero; no one could ever say a bad word about him, and now he’s MIA. So everyone at school comes down that much more on Quinn, it’s her fault end of. Her father acts like a drill sergeant around her, always cold, sticking to a strict schedule at home. He doesn’t even remember Quinn’s a vegetarian anymore, continually serving her meat dishes. Quinn knows why he’s like this, he expects her to turn out just like her mother who also bought the family reputation down.
Quinn honestly doesn’t deserve this sucky life, if people knew the honest truth about why she did cheat then I’m sure they would take back every bad word and insult said about her. But Quinn was such a decent person she decided to keep her promise to Carey, sticking out being ridiculed and teased for months after Carey had left. Judgements made about her that were totally underserved and heartbreak, over losing the boyfriend she loved and the one she could never have.
Jackson’s writing was just incredible; the story she weaved was so delicately thought out and elegantly written. It is hard to believe this is her debut novel, with the amount of inner turmoil I suffered reading this you would think Jackson had been a published author for years. For me those are the best novels you can find, ones that can get under your skin and can leave you reeling afterwards.
Jackson also deals with tough real life issues so well; a large amount is focused on the army life how difficult it can be leaving loved ones behind, losing loved ones in battle and adapting back to life when coming back home. Jackson was able to illustrate how tough of a process it could be. Also the issue of having no one to turn to, Quinn was totally abandoned when everyone found out she cheated, even her best friends didn’t wait to ask her what really happened. They were just quick to pass judgements. Quinn could have spiralled out of control, she’d lost her boyfriend and her best friend and was made the school scapegoat. But she battled on, and that’s what I truly admired about her. She didn’t stay at home and mope away, but continued to go to school and try to hold her head high, for she had every right to do.
My favourite relationship which emerged from this story was the one between George and Quinn. Quinn had initially been forced into helping out at the VA hospital but ended up forming such a close bond with George. He was honest, blunt, but most of all could see the real Quinn, when everyone else dropped her and despite hearing all the gossip he was the same George through and through.
But on the other hand, there were the actions of the characters which really aggravated me and thus bought my rating down. The story slowly eases you into the back story of several characters, so part way through I really thought I got to know them so well, but then some of the things they did made me want to yank my hair out. Even though I didn’t like this as my emotions would quickly change from one extreme to another, the character flaws were done so well, that I often didn’t see them coming.
I have to hand it to Jackson, If I Lie is a poignant story (the way I clutched my kindle over the two days I read it would give a clear indication of how much I was captivated). And yet again I’m pleased to say If I Lie was one of the few book to surprise me with its ending. I’m hoping, actually pleading it ended this way so that we can re-enter Quinn’s complicated world once more.
Thank you to Leanne for reading this with me, you can check out her awesome review out here.