Sunday, September 28, 2014

To Be Perfectly Honest: A Novel Based on an Untrue Story by Sonya Sones (Review)

Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Verse, Poetry
Publication.Date:August 27, 2014
Pages:496 (paperback)
Published By:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Website:Sonya Sones 

To Be Perfectly Honest on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

Her friends
have a joke about her:
How can you tell if Colette is lying?

Her mouth is open.

Fifteen-year-old Colette is addicted to lying. Her shrink says this is because she’s got a very bad case of Daughter-of-a-famous-movie-star Disorder—so she lies to escape out from under her mother’s massive shadow. But Colette doesn’t see it that way. She says she lies because it’s the most fun she can have with her clothes on. Not that she’s had that much fun with her clothes off. At least not yet, anyway…

When her mother drags her away from Hollywood to spend the entire summer on location in a boring little town in the middle of nowhere, Colette is less than thrilled. But then she meets a sexy biker named Connor. He’s older, gorgeous, funny, and totally into her. So what if she lies to him about her age, and about who her mother is? I mean, she has to keep her mother’s identity a secret from him. If he finds out who she really is, he’ll forget all about Colette, and start panting and drooling and asking her for her mother’s autograph. Just like everyone always does.

But what Colette doesn’t know is that Connor is keeping a secret of his own… (Goodreads)

I have a thing about unreliable narrators: I cannot get enough of them. And Colette is easily one of my favorites. Why? Because she's unreliable about being unreliable! She knows she's a big fat liar and then admits to her lies - or admits to the big ones anyway. You never know if she sneaks in a tiny lie and doesn't tell you about it because she admitted to all these other lies she told. So if she admits to the lies, what makes us think she would lie and not tell us about them. She's crafty. Maybe she admits to the big lies so she can sneak in little ones and we would be none the wiser.

If a person says
"You can't believe a word I say,"
is her statement true or false?

If her statement is true,
then everything in her statement
has to be true. Right?

But, because her statement is
tells us we can't believe
a word she says,

then everything in her statement
has to be false.

I'm sorry. Did your head just explode?

Instead of spending the summer in Paris with friends as planned, her mother, a famous movie star, takes both her and her brother to San Luis Obispo while she shoots her new movie. Facing a summer of boredom and babysitting Will, they soon meet Connor (a motorcycle-riding tiger-stripped-hair hunk of man meat) who might just make the summer bearable.

Honestly (ha!), I love Colette. I mean, I wouldn't want be her friend, but as a character I love her to pieces. She adores her younger brother, who has the cutest lisp ever and is far too observant for his young age, but also has that naivete about her that comes with adolescence and young love. She lies for the sake of lying, is proud of the lies she tells, and it doesn't seem to phase her when she does it. However, while perhaps not on such a grand scale, who among us hasn't lied about trivial things when we were teenagers?

Sonya did an amazing job with the verse poetry. Each poem flows into the other perfectly and you don't notice that you're reading verse. Even the formatting and stanzas contribute to the feel of the story. The way your eyes dance across each word and each line enhances both the plot and your reading experience.

An engaging story, To Be Perfectly Honest grabs hold of you from the beginning and continues to suck you into Colette's lies with every page. The unreliable narration is the magnetism that makes this story what it is, that makes you wonder where exactly the lies began.

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