Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman


Impressive characterisation, powerful writing and a thrilling plot. If you love plot-based fiction, you will love this book. If you prefer character-driven stories, you’ll equally want to read this. I’d give it 6 stars if I could.

Skye’s sister, Luisa, died in a tragic accident last summer and Skye is still struggling to come to terms with both the events she witnessed and the loss of her sister. It’s, therefore, not surprising that she welcomes the opportunity to escape – even if it is on a holiday for bereaved teens. She’s up for anything that will stop her thinking about the past so she’s totally unprepared when she starts receiving text messages from an account only Luisa had access to. Rather than erasing all thoughts of the past, Skye finds herself having to confront her worst fears.

It’s unusual for a review but I’m going to start with a warning. Don’t start reading this book unless you know you have the time read it through to the end. This is a rare treat of a book that is almost impossible to put down. I read the first chapter in my lunch break and was then practically counting the minutes until I could pick it up again. When I did return to read on, I found my whole evening disappear and couldn’t go to bed until I’d read the last page.

Debut author Sue Wallman has created an appealing teen lead with an authentic voice that draws us immediately into the story and refuses to let us go. Skye has plenty of attitude but also an emotional depth and maturity beyond the much more familiar teenage angst. The supporting characters are equally believable and three dimensional, each with a detailed backstory that explains their behaviour and attitudes.

This impressive characterisation coupled with the powerful writing (that is reminiscent in many ways of a John Green novel) might lead you to assume this is a story that focuses on internal character development. It is. But it is much more than this. Lying About Last Summer is simultaneously a carefully plotted page-turning thriller with a suitably dramatic, and largely unexpected, climax.

What more can I say? If you love plot-based fiction, you will love this book. If you prefer character-driven stories, you’ll equally want to read this story. I’d give it 6 stars if I could.

If you enjoyed the drama and plot in Lying About Last Summer, you should check out All My Secrets by Sophie McKenzie. Alternatively, if it’s the beautiful writing and characterisation that appeals, you must read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. And, if you like the combination of both and would like to read another 5 star teen debut, you really should grab yourself a copy of More of Me by Kathryn Evans.

ISBN: 978-1407165363
Publication Date: May 2016
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 272
Author: Sue Wallman

Madge's 5 / 5 Star Book rating
Review first published on The Bookbag

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