How We Learned to Lie by Meredith Miller is a gritty young adult contemporary—which I’m totally here for. 🔥
There’s secrets, there’s lies, so I couldn’t help but be along for the ride.
And I’m a part of its blog tour! 🖤
Enjoy this ORIGINAL book tag inspired by this book, and don’t miss out on the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!
- Joan: a female character in STEM
- Daisy: a character with a unique nickname
- Water and electricity: BFFs completely opposite of each other
- Officer Kemp: a shitty character that gets what they deserve
- How We Learned to Lie: a book that’s characters just won’t stop lying
How We Learned to Lie by Meredith Miller
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
A voice-driven and explosive novel about friendship, love, and letting go, from the author of Little Wrecks
Violence in the small, suburban town of Highbone, Long Island, is escalating, and best friends Joan and Daisy are finding themselves in the center of it.
Joan has always been fascinated by the inner workings of living things: dogfish, eels, stingrays. But the more she sees of life outside her microscope, the more she realizes that people aren’t as easy to read as cells on a slide, and no one, not even Daisy, tells the truth.
Daisy’s always wished he had a family more like Joan’s, and that desire has only grown since his dad went to jail. But not even Joan can help Daisy keep his deadbeat older brother from putting everyone close to them in more danger.
When tragedy strikes too close to home, Joan and Daisy need each other more than ever. But no matter how hard they try, their secrets and lies have driven them apart. It’s only a matter of time before their friendship, just like their town, goes up in flames.
Sharp-edged and voice-driven, Meredith Miller’s How We Learned to Lie is a keenly observed story about friendship, violence, and life in a town on the brink.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meredith Miller is the author of Little Wrecks and How We Learned to Lie. She grew up in a large, unruly family on Long Island, New York, and now lives in the UK. She is a published short story writer and literary critic with a great love for big nineteenth-century novels and for the sea. Her short stories have appeared most recently in Stand, Short Fiction, Prole, Alt Hist, and The View from Here.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads. I appreciated the characters in the book—especially because they were all flawed—and I enjoyed its darker elements.
Joan and Daisy’s friendship was interesting in that they were so completely different. Though it wasn’t the focus of the book, I thought their conversations about these differences were important, and not just because Joan is into marine biology and Daisy is into phone-phreaking. Daisy is white and identifies as a male, and Joan is black and identifies as a female. Daisy is continuously ignorant about how Joan’s experiences are different than his own; he doesn’t think about his privilege, which Joan calls him out on occasionally, and the concerns and fears and struggles that Joan faces because of her race and gender.
Even though both Joan and Daisy both had positive qualities, Joan aggravated me to my core throughout the novel. At times I did not like her. She was judgmental and critical, even though she herself made decisions that were selfish and stupid. Ugh. But she was a well-rounded, passionate character, though.
I also did find the timeline of the book confusing, which made it hard to get into at first. For the first chunk of the book, there are flashbacks and the events are not in order, and I think the book would have been stronger if it followed a forward-moving timeline.
Last, I thought the darker elements in the book could have been further developed to make the terrible things that go down more believable.
All that said, though, I thought it was solid and appreciated its gritty (super, super gritty) elements.
🖤 “What I learned that night when my family fell apart is that silence isn’t just the lack of sound. It’s distance. It’s weight. When things get heavy, people back away. the more something matters, the less people want to talk about it.”
🖤 “People use words as camouflage. Ink, though—ink never lies.”
🖤 “‘I don’t think being who you’re supposed to be means you get everything you want. It’s how you deal with what you get.'”
🖤 “You can’t open people up and see how they work, anyway. Everything they do is just the surface effect of some infinite, screwed-up mess…”
🖤 “The thing is, once your questions stop being the ‘why is the sky blue?’ kind and start to really matter, people panic. You might break the silence everybody’s using to glue their lives together. People either gave me a load of pointless advice or tried to make me shut up. Like the truth was just some problem I had. Some phase I was going through. They were all trying to calm me down and shush me.”
- PRIZE: 2 hardcover copies of HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE by Meredith Miller
- US Only
- Starts: 8/2
- Ends: 8/13
Check out the rest of the stops along this book tour!