Seven Ways We Lie
Author: Riley Redgate
Publication: March 8th, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LGBTQ+
Read: February 2017
In Seven Ways We Lie, a chance encounter tangles the lives of seven high school students, each resisting the allure of one of the seven deadly sins, and each telling their story from their seven distinct points of view.
The juniors at Paloma High School all have their secrets, whether it’s the thespian who hides her trust issues onstage, the closeted pansexual who only cares about his drug-dealing profits, or the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal. But it’s Juniper Kipling who has the furthest to fall. No one would argue that Juniper—obedient daughter, salutatorian, natural beauty, and loyal friend—is anything but perfect. Everyone knows she’s a saint, not a sinner; but when love is involved, who is Juniper to resist temptation? When she begins to crave more and more of the one person she can’t have, her charmed life starts to unravel.
Then rumors of a student–teacher affair hit the fan. After Juniper accidentally exposes her secret at a party, her fate falls into the hands of the other six sinners, bringing them into one another’s orbits. All seven are guilty of something. Together, they could save one another from their temptations—or be ruined by them.
Riley Redgate’s twisty YA debut effortlessly weaves humor, heartbreak, and redemption into a drama that fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins will adore.
Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The first half of this book was painfully slow, it took me so long to get interested in it. I didn’t really want to pick it up but as I continued, the second half improved and was much more entertaining. Some things were kind of boring and it wasn’t as engaging as I was hoping it would be. It’s a coming of age story with important themes throughout but it just didn’t capture my attention.
Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
It was really confusing and complicated, it was really hard for me to understand what was happening. I understand what the author was trying to do but there were way too many POVs. However, they were each distinct to each character which was good, I just couldn’t keep up with them, even though the writing style was very simple and easy to read.
Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Usually this is the section where I talk about the main characters and a little bit in general about side characters, but this book in particular has seven main characters so I’m just gonna share my thoughts in general. First off, seven is way too many main characters for me. I thought the concept was a really interesting one, each character is meant to represent a deadly sin (you can hypothesize who is who which was great discussion in my book club). However, because there were so many, I didn’t connect with the majority of them. I enjoyed some of their points of views, I hate others, but in general, I just had a meh feeling towards them, specially added with the fact that the first part of the book was slow. Olivia is spunky, Matt is kind and quiet, Valentine is pretty peculiar, Juniper was okay, I hated Claire with a passion and I felt like Kat wasn’t really needed. I just realized that I didn’t mention Julian in my notes at all. I liked him but that just further proves that I was overwhelmed with the amount of characters.
I was really looking forward to reading this book since I’d heard a lot of great things but I was really disappointed by it in the end.
The plot was boring. We follow the lives of the seven protagonists as they react and deal with the news of a teacher and student relationship at their school. I don’t really know what kinds of things I was expecting from this book, but one of those things was definitely to be entertained and I wasn’t. The first half was really slow and boring. The premise (the relationship) was introduced in the first chapter of the book, but it took such a long time to introduce and differentiate between all the characters that I started to lose interest. You have to build their lives at school, their lives at home, their friends, their personal struggles, their distinct voice and point of view. All of that basically took the entire first half of the book and I just wanted things to get going. I liked the premise and I wanted to know more about this conflict so having to drag through the points of views of so many different characters was annoying and boring and not really what I wanted to be reading about at that time. The second half of the plot was much, much better. Things started being revealed to different people and the characters started to interact with each other more. However, I kept waiting for a big climax that never actually happened. I feel like teacher/student relationships shouldn’t be something to be encouraged, and while I don’t think this book did that per se, I feel like it was taken too lightly by a lot of different characters. I was expecting a much more outraged reaction, specially by the younger character’s parents considering the consequences that come from this particular relationship. There’s a lot of underage drinking and weed smoking in this book and while it doesn’t bother me much in general, I felt like this book lacked what most YA contemporary books lack and that’s a strong parental presence. There were too many shenanigans and not enough supervision! haha I sound like an old lady, I know, but it’s honestly something that bothers me a lot in YA books. The ending was also kind of meh. I expected more from it as well and I got kind of annoyed because a character I hated was placed back into the fold seamlessly and I’m bitter. Honestly, I was just generally disappointed because I feel like this book had a lot of potential to be mind blowing and it didn’t quite reach the mark for me.
I feel like the author took on more than she could chew when it comes to the characters. Some were done well and developed in an organic way and then I felt like there were some that weren’t even needed for the plot at all. Out of the seven protagonists, my favorites were definitely Olivia and Matt. She was really spunky and had a feminist attitude about sex and her own body that I really loved and resonated with. Matt is biracial (Mexican and white/Mexican American) and I wish that was something that would’ve been explored more with him. He was really laid back, almost in a very lazy way, but he was also very kind and sweet and I kind of like his shyness. I hated Claire with a passion, everything she did just rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t really think her character development was enough for the resolution she had at the end of the book but I get why the author would decide to do that. Both Kat and Juniper were kind of meh for me. I think Kat could’ve easily been placed as a side character and nothing of the book would’ve changed except for one less POV. Though I did enjoy the dynamic and development between her particular family unit. Again, I missed two characters in my notes now that I’m looking through them. Valentine was a very peculiar character, he had a very analytical and logical way of thinking. For some reason, I thought he was a girl when I first started reading, maybe because of the name, but nothing really concrete. Also I want to say that I think he could be asexual, aromantic or even both, though the author doesn’t mention any of those words. I’m neither so I can’t really say but I think it might be something to look into if you’ve been looking for rep for those identities. Lastly, there’s Julian, he’s pansexual which was really interesting to read about. I liked the way he described his identity toward the different people in the book. He was really positive and just had a sunshiny personality. I quite liked him even though it doesn’t seem like it since I forgot him twice while writing my thoughts of this book.
Overall, this book really disappointed me. The plot and the premise had a lot of freaking potential but everything fell a little bit short of what I wanted. There were too many characters so it took too long for the plot to get going and I felt like the ending was too simple.
So that’s it for this post! I’d love to know your thoughts on this book and what you think of my thoughts. I know a lot of people love this one so I really want to know what you all read that I totally missed. I have an ARC of this author’s upcoming novel which is about acapella which I love so I’m hoping that one is much more my speed. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!