Thursday, August 4, 2016

Review: Seven Ways We Lie - Riley Redgate

Seven Ways We Lie
Riley Redgate
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Amulet Books
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

For the longest time I couldn't figure out how I felt about this. I thought the concept sounded so cool so I actually bought it from Barnes & Noble instead of just sitting in the store and reading it in a few hours sitting and putting it back on the shelf.

So this book has 7 main characters/7 PoVs as you might be able to guess from the title. These characters are: Olivia, Kat, Matt, Juniper, Valentine, and Claire. They all have the stereotypes that follow them, whether it be the slut or the perfect one or the weird one. It all ended up feeling very classic high school. This is the blurb:

Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

Doesn't this sound like the wildest ride???? It's so ambiguous and appealing that even when I was 3/4 of the way through the book I thought something crazy would happen. But it played out like basically the same way that all books about high school do. 

The /main/ plot of the teacher-student affair really drives the story -- there's a little romance and family struggles and stuff on the side, but mostly it's about this. You can probably guess from the first few chapters who was involved. But the affair was probably the worst written part of the novel.  It felt really reminiscent (I hate to make this reference) of Aria & Ezra from PLL, meaning, it felt so much like a trope. However, it's a trope that I like to see hashed out and I think this book did a good job of that.

I did enjoy some of the subplots -- Olivia & Kat's family issues and Lucas' identity crisis were at the top of that list. I really did enjoy the way Claire's character was played out -- she's an unlikeable character who's mostly just used to move the plot along by constantly comparing herself to others, but she was good in a way that I think really showed jealousy. I think envy is something that is usually not vocalized but Claire was written in a way that showed how ugly envy can really be. A lot of the reviews I read said Claire was one of the worst characters but I don't know, I liked having an unsympathetic character. 

This book has a good deal of ~sensitive topics~ discussed -- I'm really hyped that sexuality is discussed candidly (cough cough they actually talk about pansexuality which never happens) (sidenote I noticed this when reading the book but I wouldn't have put it in the review if I hadn't seen another person mention it while scrolling through goodreads so credits to that person). The issues between Kat and Olivia, the issues of slut shaming and drugs and being the outsider and sleeping with the teacher -- I liked that all of these things came up and none were ignored or kind of shoved to the side as not that destructive. 

All in all I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book -- I want so much to say I really enjoyed it because the topics discussed were interesting and each character definitely had a unique voice, but I think the nature of most of plot points to be kind of unoriginal was a turn off for me. I also think that 7 PoVs were kind of choppy for this kind of story. SIGH I don't know I've changed the number of stars this book gets like at least three times throughout the story. Read it yourselves and let me know how you feel!
- Amrutha

What books with a lot of PoVs do you like?
Let us know in the comments!

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