At the moment I'm finding it hard to believe we're already almost halfway through September. But that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying the cooler temps, bright blue sky, and lack of humidity. Fall is my favorite season and I couldn't be happier with the way this fall is going so far. Not only has the weather been fabulous, but MAJOR HOTSAUCE got some great career news, and we have a few other big things to look forward to in the coming months as well. :-)
It's been tough this summer for me to find time to read, but when Corrine Jackson's IF I LIE came out last week, I dropped everything and ran to get a copy. This book has been on my radar for literally years, and I was so excited to finally read it...and now share all the awesomeness with you!
Full disclosure: Cory is a fellow Bookanista, and a friend. But that doesn't take away from the beauty that is this book. First, the basics...
From Goodreads: 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.
Okay, first, a confession. As excited as I was for Cory when we first talked about her book, and as much as I wanted to read it...I was nervous. As an Army wife, I don't generally read books or watch movies about Army life. Sometimes it's because they're so unrealistic I find them incredibly cheesy and frustrating, but more often because the situations and hell, even seeing men in uniform, remind me of the dangers MAJOR HOTSAUCE faces and the challenges our family goes through, with deployments, sudden moves, and the general uncertainty of the military lifestyle. I prefer my books and movies as entertainment, not as a reminder of "real" life.
So, while I had every confidence Cory had NOT written an unrealistic, cheesy book about the military that would frustrate me, I was worried that she had written a book that would be tough, emotionally, for me to get through.
The truth is IF I LIE is an emotional, at times "tough", read. But in all the very best ways. Yes, I cried. Yes, I emotionally invested in Quinn's struggles. Yes, there were a few times when I had to put the book down and take a little break. But it wasn't because of the military elements of the story. It was because Cory did such a fantastic job at opening a portal into Quinn's life and emotions. It was because I was so drawn into this character's struggles and relationships and hopes and regrets and conflicts that I felt I was living the emotional rollercoaster with her. Although, unlike Quinn, when it got a little too intense or uncomfortable, I could step away for a minute and get my bearings.
The writing is beautiful and visceral, the conflicts real and relatable. While the central "problem" in the book comes from Quinn's relationship with her boyfriend Carey, the element that resonated the most for me was Quinn's friendship with George, a Vietnam vet she often visits. That storyline added a depth and poignancy to the book that lifted it from high-concept romantic drama to emotional exploration of why and how some people come into our lives and leave us forever changed. All of the different relationships/conflicts/moving parts worked for me...I am so impressed at how Cory handled the many characters and their interactions with Quinn. Everything built on itself and each moment had weight.
It's true that if I didn't know Cory personally, I probably wouldn't have picked this book off the shelf. As I said, I usually stay away from books with a military bent and/or that look like they might make me cry. But I am so, SO happy I made an exception for this one. I enjoyed every word...and every tear I shed reading it. Cory did a fabulous job, and I can't wait to read more of her lovely writing!
Please pick up your own copy of IF I LIE, or look for it in your local library. You won't regret it! :-)
Check out what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to this week!
Katy Upperman raves about NOBODY BUT US
Corrine Jackson adores ADORKABLE
Jesscia Love speaks up for UNSPOKEN