This year I read two books with multiple points of view and was disappointed in both at the sameness of the voices. Perhaps the shear scale of each let them down: seven and five POVs is a lot to juggle.
I was looking forward to Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate (Amulet Books, 2016) for months. I bought it for the cover, designed by a fav US book designer Maria T. Middleton.
The premise also enticed me: Seven Deadly Sins with bonus lies – two of my favourite things! Sadly, my expectations didn’t meet the hype.
Some of the sins were clever, others I couldn’t work out eg. Valentine’s Pride. Some characters seemed really forced eg. Kat’s Wrath, Olivia’s Lust and Juniper’s unpoetical verse. I liked Lucas’ pansexual and Valentine’s asexual characters, but mostly I was bored, especially with the big secret. It took half the book to get there, and all that time I wondered where are these lies I was promised!?
Keeping a secret isn’t much of a lie. Seven Ways We Lie lied to me. But…
“Every time she goes quiet like this, I feel her leaving me a little more, like a word written on the back of your hand that wears away with every washing. Soon she’ll be completely gone.”
I love this line. It made think of the words written on hands of We Were Liars, an exceptional unreliable narration. Did Riley Redgate read We Were Liars and aspire to her own unreliable characters? Her premise is clever, but her execution not to my liking. Occassionally Riley Redgate’s writing surprised me and I look forward to how her career progresses.
Sarah Ayoub’s five voices had little to distinguish them and I was as bored with The Yearbook Committee (HarperCollins, 2016). A pretty cover sucked me in again. If it was a library book, I wouldn’t have finished. And I never can say no to a signed copy.
Five students who don’t like each other thrown together, entirely predictable that they’ll help each other and finish the school year better for their friendship. Whatever. I didn’t even care when the big tragedy happened. It was a shock, but see Goodreads for my spoilery opinion on this.
The characters were wise beyond their years, sounding like the author telling readers: there’s life after high school. Here’s hoping it’s more interesting than these five teen’s dull existence!
Both books have alluring cover design. Those name tags of Seven Ways We Lie! When each POV changed, the internal design helped me distinguish characters, although I didn’t so much like the layout choices of The Yearbook Committee.
Let it be known that my boredom with these books isn’t shared by the Goodreads hive mind. You’ll have to read them both and make up your own mind.