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The Secret to Lying by Todd Mitchell (2010)

ghost44:  No one ever talks about IT.
johnnyrotton:  What’s “IT”?
ghost44:  The things that matter.  What’s at the center.  People talk and talk, but they never say much.  Sometimes we get close, but we rarely mention the truth.
johnnyrotton:  What truth?
ghost44:  That no one ever really knows anyone else.

When James Turner gets into the American Science and Mathematics Society, he sees it as an opportunity to reinvent himself.  At his old school, James was nearly invisible, but at ASMA he makes up stories about his past life, letting his new peers see him as a street-fighting, car-stealing, bad-ass.  For the first time in his life, James is noticed.  At first it’s innocent; a couple of pranks, sneaking into his girlfriend’s room, staging a protest over the cafeteria food.  But no matter what he does, or how much attention he gets, James still feels nothing and must resort to increasingly alarming antics.  As his behavior becomes riskier, the line between the lies and the truth, between dreams and reality, becomes so blurred that Jame’s life begins to swing out of control. 

The Secret to Lying is a thoroughly engrossing coming-of-age story that doesn’t shy away from tough issues and questions just how much we really know anyone-including ourselves.

Read-alike:  The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Young Adult Literature