Hi there! Today I’m sharing newly-released THERE WILL BE LIES, a YA adventure from Nick Lake. I usually read YA romance, but this? This was different. Not romance. More adventure-meets-mysticism-meets-well…so many things I can’t quite fit it all without giving away giant sections of the plot. So….
About the book:
In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.
Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.
All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.
This is a book that will stay with me. Shelby lives a very sheltered life. She’s almost 18 and has never gone to school. She is homeschooled by her mother, Shaylene, and spends 6 of 7 days a week in their apartment in Scottsdale, AZ. Every Friday they leave the apartment together, so Shelby can hit balls at the local batting cage, then they have ice cream for dinner and Shelby goes to the library, unescorted, for a few hours while her mother works. This library time is the only time Shelby is ever left alone outside their apartment.
She has never has a friend, and has no siblings. Her father is dead, and he was horrible, or so she has been told. Then, one Friday, while waiting to get picked up outside the library, Shelby is struck by a car. In her pain she meets, well, a coyote, who advises her that she will learn two lies and one truth about her life.
For a moment I wondered if Shelby had hit the peyote, but she hadn’t. She did have a broken ankle, however, and in the aftermath of her care finds herself and her mother on the road. Escaping, her mother tells her, from her (dead) father. Because if he finds them, they’re as good as dead. Yep. Guess Shelby’s dad isn’t so dead after all.
Or, is he? How can Shelby trust her mom–as she watches her befriend unsuspecting men with the objective of stealing their vehicles. And, the coyote continues to return.
When Shelby sleeps she falls into the Dreaming, a place of myth and mystery where she is the Maiden and must rescue the crying Child from a malevolent force in order to restore the rain and keep the Dreaming alive. In this mythical place Shelby is aided by the trickster Coyote, as well as the stalwart Elk and strong Eagle. It is here she is told she has 8 days to save the Child or the Dreaming–and Shelby’s whole universe–will be destroyed.
This is a strongly metaphysical book, with real and mythical touch points. In her waking life, Shelby learns that there are very big portions of her life that are lies, and the truth that is revealed is just as devastating. There are car chases, and police actions and people who try to help but end up only causing more harm.
I adored the elements of First Nations mysticism and mythology that were interwoven. This book sang with cultural tenets, and a realistic depiction of a displaced teen. Shelby, herself, is at a major disadvantage as her own advocate–not because she is young (she’s almost an adult) but because people assume she is disabled. She has some difficulties, but that doesn’t diminish her capability. Throughout Shelby is self-possessed and as independent as she is ever allowed to be.
I am not ashamed to admit there were twists I didn’t see coming. I did, however, predict the bulk of the ending–as the foreshadowing was excellent. The ticking time bomb of Shelby’s world is a motivator, but she can’t often access the tools, or skills, she needs to complete her quest in the Dreaming, and must return to reality to marshal resources. In the end, the heartache that is Shelby’s life is greatly resolved, on her terms for a change. No more isolation. Actual friendships and autonomy, and a family she never expected.
About the Author: (In his words…)
My name is Nick and I write and edit books for young adults. My first YA novel IN DARKNESS, was published by Bloomsbury in 2012 and won the Michael L Printz Award for Excellence in YA Literature. I also wrote a book called HOSTAGE THREE about a girl kidnapped by Somali pirates.
THERE WILL BE LIES is about a girl who learns that everything she knows is a lie. To say it’s a book with a twist in the story would be a massive understatement. There is also a talking coyote in it.
I live with my wife, daughter and son in a 16th century house in England with almost 19th century amenities. Sometimes the heating even works.
I like: reading, art, music, food containing sugar, cities at night, the countryside in the daytime, vintage furniture, modern standards of heating (see above), traveling.
I dislike: being sick, failing, being underdressed in the cold, being overdressed in the heat, the unnecessary suffering of children, being punched in the face.
Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!