There Will Be Lies

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
There Will Be Lies Book Poster Image
Deaf teen learns scary truths in suspenseful thriller.

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

There Will Be Lies realistically addresses the challenges that often face the hearing-impaired. The book also explores aspects of Native American mythology and paints a vivid picture of the American southwest.

Positive Messages

There Will Be Lies emphasizes the importance of being honest, whether to yourself or to those you care about. It shows some of the daily difficulties that hearing-impaired people face, without pity or condescension.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Shelby begins There Will Be Lies willing to accept whatever instructions her mother gives her. As she learns more about herself, her independent streak begins to shine through, and she's able to reconcile the secrets of her past with her goals for the future. She's brave in the face of physical danger and empathetic to people who've been hurt.


A few infrequent, generally understated scenes of violence. The most intense is when Shelby's mother stabs a meddling acquaintance in the hand. In a dream sequence, Shelby is presented with a human heart on a plate and told to eat it. A standoff involves a shotgun.


Although Shelby's mother warns her daughter to stay away from men, she flirts with an older male traveler and spends a night with him behind closed doors. Shelby develops a crush on a boy named Mark, who eventually inhabits her dreams. 


"Hell," "fricking" used frequently. "Ass," "bitch," and "pissed" used a few times each.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Shelby's mother drinks alcohol to make her acquaintance Luke let down his guard. Late in There Will Be Lies, Shelby starts smoking as a signal of her independence, although she doesn't particularly enjoy it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nick Lake's There Will Be Lies is an intense thriller about a deaf teenager who learns that much of her relationship with her mother is based on lies. There's some strong language ("hell" and "fricking" are used frequently, "bitch," "ass," and "pissed" less so) and a few violent scenes, the most intense of which include a stabbing and a standoff with a shotgun. Shelby's mom flirts with an older male acquaintance and spends the night with him behind closed doors. Shelby begins to smoke tobacco late in the novel, and her mother drinks alcohol in one scene.

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written byHeLlo4321 May 9, 2016

This book is Fantastic

This book may contain swearing but also it can mean a lot of things I like it because its just plot after plot after plot it is a thrilling exciting ride into f... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 1, 2018

What's the story?

Hearing-impaired, homeschooled, and kept away from members of the opposite sex, Shelby Cooper depends on her mother for nearly everything in her life. After she's struck by a car and sent to the emergency room in Scottsdale, Ariz., Shelby sets off with her mom on a sudden quest to visit the Grand Canyon. Uprooted and confused, Shelby isn't sure what to make of her mother's behavior or of her own strange dreams, which feature a shape-shifting boy named Mark and a cast of talking animals. Gradually, however, she begins to understand that she has difficult, dangerous choices to make in whichever world she resides and that even more upsetting revelations lie ahead.

Is it any good?

THERE WILL BE LIES is a tricky thriller with a believable and sympathetic teen protagonist. Author Nick Lake sustains the suspense from first chapter to last, delivering plenty of plot twists while still paying attention to the psychological reality of the story he's devised.

Because Shelby's visits to the Dreaming at first feel unconnected from the main narrative, those scenes feel a little draggy, until Lake makes it clear how high the stakes truly are. He also treats the Native American mythology with respect, capturing the conflicted nature of the trickster god Coyote, and he paints a vivid portrait of the Southwest.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the hearing-impaired are depicted in books, TV shows, and films. What challenges do deaf people face in their everyday lives?

  • How is Native American mythology used in popular culture? Which lessons do Native folklore try to impart?

  • What is the role of the Trickster in world mythology? Why do different cultures have different versions of this figure?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrillers

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