Welcome to the last day of the Tell Me No Lies blog tour & Happy Book Birthday to this amazing novel. I was so pumped to be chosen to do a review of this book – let’s get to it 🙂
Tell Me No Lies
by Adele Griffin
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: June 12, 2018
A riveting novel about secrecy, complicated friendships, and heartbreak, set against the iconic backdrop of the late 1980s.
Lizzy Swift is a senior in high school, emerging from her nerd chrysalis to become a social butterfly. She starts dating popular Matt Ashley, whom she’s been pining for since freshman year. She’s delighted when rebellious new girl Claire Reynolds introduces her to Center City Philadelphia—clubs, street life, and the eye-opening art scene. As Lizzy begins to question her own long-held dreams, the changes in her life mirror the upheaval of a decade marked by a drug epidemic and the AIDS crisis. She’s no longer sure of her Ivy League ambition. While she has a special connection with Matt, something’s missing. And Claire carries around a mysterious sadness and talks about a breakup so bad she changed schools—but she won’t tell the whole story. Lizzy wants Claire to confide in her, even as she keeps her own embarrassing secrets.
Before too long, the heady thrill of her new life starts to crumble under insecurities and deceptions. When the truth emerges from the wreckage, will it be too late for Lizzy, Claire, and Matt to save their love and friendships?
Whatever happened, however it happened, was beside the point. The point was the experience. The point was change.
Tell Me No Lies was so much more than I was expecting. When I first read the description I thought that it would be a cute coming of age story that just happened to be set in the 80s & since I was born in that time, I was excited to see how Griffin would handle life for these high school students before the age of the internet and cell phones.
And for the majority of the book, I felt like it really could have been set during any time period. Turns out high school stresses, new friendships, first loves and just general coming of age nonsense is actually quite universal. If it weren’t for the occasion mention of cassette tapes or Joy Division, I would find myself forgetting that this book was set 30 years ago. Lizzy and Claire and Matt just seemed so current, like I could walk into a restaurant in downtown Philadelphia today and just find them in a booth in the back, eating burgers.
And then, so gradually it was barely noticeable, we were quite clearly in the 1980s.
“I didn’t even believe in monsters till last year. But now I know better. Just because I couldn’t see them, didn’t mean they weren’t right in front of me. And they are, Lizzy. And no matter where I live, no matter what I do, I’ll always be on the lookout for them.”
There are so many serious subject matters in the novel that by the end I felt a little raw. I also felt myself really hoping that this book would resonate in the same way for young adults today. Unfortunately, I suspect perhaps they might just be too far removed from life in 1988 for this story to make the same impact as it did for me and that is really a shame.
This story is incredibly character driven & I adored the friendships in this novel most of all. I loved how Claire and Lizzy’s friendship developed so realistically over the course of the year. Even though they were both incredibly secretive & they definitely hit some bumps in the road, they were always there for each other.
“Neither of us should beat ourselves up with stories that make us feel horrible. Let those old stories crumble, because it’s the new ones that matter. The new stories are all we need.”
The one thing that nagged at me about this book were Lizzy’s parents. I’m not sure why so many young adult books these days have such awful parents (that are usually disguised as good parents). Maybe it is because I am a parent now myself, but I hate it when authors make parents into villains for generally no reason at all & I felt that way here.
Tell Me No Lies is really a story about friendship & those are generally my favorite types of YA these days. I found myself really wishing at the end of the book that Lizzy, Claire & Matt are still out there today, 30 years later, together.
“The silence is nice here, right? I’m always searching for the most beautiful kinds of silence.”
Adele Griffin is the highly acclaimed author of almost thirty books for Young Adult and middle grade readers.
Her works include the National Book Award Finalists Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, as well as the popular Oodlethunks series for younger readers. The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone was a YALSA Best Book of 2015, an Amazon Best YA Book of the Year, a Booklist Top Ten Arts Books for Youth, a Junior Library Guild selection, a Romantic Times Finalist for Book of the Year, and a School Library Journal Top Fiction pick. Her latest novel Tell Me No Lies is publishing in June 2018 with Algonquin Books.
Adele serves on the Board of Directors of the MacDowell Colony, and is on the advisory board of 826NYC. She lives with her husband, Erich, their two young children, and their dog, Edith, in Brooklyn, New York.
And finally, here is your chance to WIN a copy of Tell Me No Lies
This contest is open to the US only and will run through 6/19.
Follow the rest of the tour with us 🙂