Friday, 13 May 2016

3D Review – Lying About Last Summer - Sue Wallman

Adults Review:

With the tag line; ‘You can’t hide the truth forever’, and it’s dabble-varnished cover depicting a hand flaying in a tirade of bubbles tinted red, you instantly know without even opening the book, that at the heart of the truth someone drowned. The cover incites intrigue willing you to open up and read to discover the truth, which is testament to both the writing and the stunning cover design.

The story within the beautiful (and tactile) cover is full of intrigue, as the reader is transported into the mind of Skye and a snippet of the day last summer and the source of the lies. It seems innocent enough, two sisters lounging by the family pool, when Skye’s older sister ‘Luisa’ who’s back from university for summer break, tells Skye to hide. Safely concealed in the changing room, Skye hears a man’s voice, arguing, then screams and a splash.

A year later and Skye is packed off to an outwards bound week at ‘Morley Hill Activity and Adventure Centre,’ organised by a charity for bereaved kids. It’s not Skye’s idea of fun, and despite formally being lithe and sporty and an active member of a swimming club, she’s not a fit or as slim as she was last summer. But that’s not the only reason she’s anxious; Morley Hill is close to her old home, Yew Tree Cottage’ where her sister died, stirring up unwanted memories. But the worst part is, being surrounded by other kids who’ve lost love ones. How long will she be able to conceal the truth about Luisa’s dark business affairs, and her own hand in her sister’s demise?

Morley Hill isn’t as bad as Skye feared, she soon discovers that water activities aside, that she enjoys doing the sports, and if she avoids the optional therapy sessions, then things are tolerable. Her fellow group members are a mixed bag, with only one morbid thing in common. Her room mates are the timid, bookish Fay who’s living with the shame of believing she caused her father’s death, and Danielle who seeks dangerous thrills and equally dangerous highs. Then there are the boys, easy going Brandon whose brother died from illness, and Joe a surfer with charm and confidence to spare, whose girlfriend committed suicide.

Life at Morley Hill is more endure that enjoyment, but thing take a sinister turn when she starts to receive messages from her dead sister, Luisa. Skye knows that it can’t be Luisa, but whoever is messaging her knows things, secret stuff that only Luisa would know, unless they’ve read all the archived messages on her sisters secret message account. As the weeks draw on, the messages turn from innocuous to threatening and everyone at Morley Hill is a potential suspect.

As Skye tries to work out who is posing as her sister and why, she becomes suspicious of Joe, whose behaviour towards her becomes erratic and aggressive. At the same time she watches the Too-Perfect-to-be-true Joe forge a relationship with timid Fay.

The text and Joe behaviour has Skye increasingly on edge, when a fortunately timed message from Luisa proves Brandon can’t be the culprit, and together they take a pilgrimage to Yew Tree Cottage, to confront old fears and new threats, uncovering the identity of the fake Luisa.

When Skye and Brandon get back to Morley Hill, they find it’s far from peaceful, as Fay has gone missing, taking Danielle’s drugs with her. It’s a race against time, and a battle of wits against an unlikely foe that Skye must overcome if she is going to save Fay and in doing so finally come to terms with what happened last summer and the part she played in the events that led up to her sister’s death.

Lying about last summer is an intelligent and intricately plotted thriller with an emotional heart, as you follow Skye on her difficult journey of self-forgiveness. Sue Wallman has achieved a compelling and authentic teenage voice and has tackled many difficult subjects such as, suicide, drug-dealing, death and betrayal, in a responsible and empathic way. Lying About last summer is a fantastic read, which will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Child Review by Beatriz aged 12

Summer. A lovely time of year, or so Skye thought, until Luisa (Skye’s sister) tragically died from a misfortunate event, changing Skye’s world forever.

Being sent to a summer camp for bereaved kids, Skye makes new friends, but can she trust anyone? For when she receives messages from someone claiming to be her dead sister, Skye knows it has to be someone at camp, or someone that is silently watching her every movement. Wanting it to be true, Skye replies to the messages but the stalker already knows her secret…

Skye meets new people, including a mysterious boy called Joe, Danielle - a drug taking, smoking roommate, Brandon - someone Skye thinks she can trust, and Fay - someone who won’t forgive herself, sometimes annoying friend…

At rock climbing (inside), Skye just can’t bear to leave her phone in her dorm. Breaking the rules Skye sneaks her phone into her pocket. At the top, Skye faces a moment of fear as her phone drops out of her pocket, onto the crash mat below, leaving her phone with a cracked screen. Brandon offers to help, but can she trust him?

After several days of endless activities Skye’s roommate and friend: Fay disappears, leaving a note behind saying

Mum, I can’t live with the shame.
I’m sorry for everything.

Fay x

As well as this unusual happening, Danielle’s drugs have disappeared. Is Fay in danger?

I love this book because it builds tension as you read, you just can’t put it down! The way that the book is written makes Skye’s emotions stand out. This book is unique because it has a variety of mysterious happenings which are all different and gives you many questions about what will happen next. I really recommend this book because it is amazing, emotional and mysterious!

If you adore this book, then you might like:

ACB with Honora Lee-this relates to the family problems aspect.

I hope you enjoy this book, like I did, and I hope you never want to put it down till you have read it all!!!

We have more 'Lying About Last Summer' features coming up over the next few days, so pop back to read our interviews with Author, Sue Wallman, and her Editor, Lucy Rogers.

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