A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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?
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