Little Red Lies
Little Red Lies
Tundra Books (NY), Hardcover, 9781770493131, 340pp.
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
The war is over, but for thirteen-year-old Rachel, the battle has just begun. Putting childhood behind her, she knows what she wants - to prove she has acting talent worthy of the school drama club, and what she doesn't want - to romantically fall for someone completely inappropriate. Worries about her veteran brother's failing health and repugnance at her mother's unexpected and unwanted pregnancy drive her to seek solace from a seemingly sympathetic, but self-serving teacher. The lies she tells herself hoping to reach solutions to the problems complicating her life merely function to make matters worse. Ultimately, she finds a way to come to terms with life as it reaches an end and life as it begins.
“Rachel’s down-to-earth, dry humour and ironic perspective on herself make this story sparkle with adolescent verve; at the same time, Johnston writes with emotional depth, compassion and poignancy of the very real losses that threaten Rachel and her family. Once again Johnston proves herself one of Canada’s outstanding writers for young adults—funny and serious, irreverent and moving.”
— The Toronto Star
"Johnston . . . plays out her very rich themes thoroughly yet with great subtlety, and in Rachel she creates a narrator as sympathetic as she is (for the time being) naive.” – The Horn Book Magazine
“[Rachel’s] growth—and potential for further wising up—is credibly portrayed. Secondary characters are robustly drawn, and the unpredictability of the plotline should keep readers engrossed through each of Rachel’s cringe-worthy blunders.”
—The Bulletin of The Center for Children's Books
“Johnston has crafted a beautifully written, low-key, yet emotional story of a family dealing with the return of a son at the close of war. Jamie is wracked with survivor’s guilt…. His letters to Rachel … are painfully realistic, the antithesis of the glamour that teens too often assign to war….”
— Starred Review, Booklist
“Filled with bumbling characters who achingly love each other, this coming-of-age tale rises above a crowded field to take readers on a moving journey of discovery.”
—Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews