Seven Ways We Lie
Author: Riley Redgate
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
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—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or 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 unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change
Seven Ways We Lie is a very character centric story, there are seven perspectives, some perspectives are more frequent than others, but most of them stand out and you can tell which character you're reading from, their characteristics are clear and that was done amazingly. There is a lot of inner monologue and getting to know the characters and their family lives, there isn't a lot of plot or story other than the ongoing teacher student relationship.
Despite that, Seven Ways We Lie handles a lot of heavy topics. Like holy shit I won't name them all because some are a surprise, but we have the different types of relationships, what we already know, a student and teacher relationship, sexuality and the obvious that comes along with that, slut shaming and double standards. Let's start with that one, shall we?
Olivia is a little lonely, so she'll hook up at parties etc, and yeah, there is an underlining meaning there for why she wants to do it, but at the end of the day, it's her body to do with whatever she wants to do, and people give her shit, but for what? Because she likes sex? Because she's a woman who likes sex? Because women can't like sex, right? So gross. She's a total slut. But hey, see that guy over there that hooked up with two girls in one night? Yeah, you know, that dude, a total hero, right? Double standards. The worse thing though, even her own friend thinks it, too. (Whatever, Claire, just because you aren’t getting any.)
At first I wanted to give Claire a chance, hoping she would grow, because we're all insecure in our own ways and I don't know a person who compares themselves to somebody else, like when I see people who are confident, I wish I was more like that, but the obvious thing to wishing we were more like somebody else is we don't actually know if that person feels confident, they could look it, but looking and feeling are very two different things. So yeah, I wanted her to figure that out, but then she just got worse and when somebody finally handed her ass to her, what she did next is absolutely fucking terrible and it is not okay, because what she did? There's a line, and Claire went too far over it to see it, and I don't care, she never redeemed herself.
The teacher/student relationship plays a little like Ezria's in Pretty Little Liars. They met outside of school, didn't know he was a teacher she a student etc. at a few years older than the student, would it seem like such a big deal? Not as much. The thing with this student and teacher relationship though is more to do with the abuse of position and responsibility, because it didn't make it weird or seedy because she's underage, they haven't had sex.
Seven Ways We Lie also deals with different aspects of sexuality and sometimes lack of sexuality. I'll hide this part, it's a little spoilery, since one is subtle and the other you don't know about straight away
Valentine is asexual? There are a lot of things pointing that way, but it's not actually said. And the way he is (takes things at face value, blunt, things that he says at the way he says things point to being on an autism spectrum (AS?) but again it's not actually said. Lucas is pansexual, but he describes it more along the lines of bisexual because it's easier for people to understand) but I love how it was handled, both of them because we don't get Pan or Asexual in books much, and I've only come across one YA with a character being asexual.
While I didn't connect to some of the characters and some issues didn't get as much light as they should have and feel a bit left open, Seven Ways We Lie nailed diversity and debunking* stereotypes.
*So, I was talking about writing reviews with Amber, and she gave me a word I had to use in my next review, so debunking it was. Anybody want to give me a word to include in my next review?