Book Review: There Will Be Lies

There Will Be Lies
Published By: Bloomsbury Childrens (UK, AUS)
Publication Date: January 1, 2015
Page Count: 464
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Genre: YA Thriller

Seventeen year old Shelby Jane Cooper has led a very sheltered life. Homeschooled by her mother, her routine is pretty much the same every day, except Fridays, when they go to the batting cages, eat ice cream for dinner, and go to the library. This Friday, however, something is different. Shelby is going to be hit by a car, and everything will change. 

 When she wakes up after the accident with a broken ankle, a coyote appears to be talking to her. It tells her that there will be two lies followed by the truth. 

After her surgery she’s whisked out of the hospital pretty quickly by her mother, who has rented a car and is heading out of town. Shelby is confused about this change to their established routine, and she soon finds out that her mother isn’t who she thought she was. She herself may not even be who she thought she was. When they meet up with a man at a campsite, Shelby’s mother starts acting in an even more bizarre manner and Shelby has no idea what has become of her mild-mannered, stenographer mother. When the road trip comes to a sudden end, Shelby’s world is completely shattered. 

 Throughout the story Shelby sporadically enters the Dreaming, where she meets the Coyote who spoke to her after her accident. Here we are introduced to elements of Native American mythology, and Shelby is given a task to complete in the Dreaming. She’s told that failure to complete this task will have dire consequences in the real world. 

 As a thriller, this books works really well, and personally, I’d have enjoyed it just as much, if not more, without the Dreaming sequences. I can see why they are there, and what they add to the story, but I worked out the connection a long way before the big reveal, and didn’t need these sequences to bring it all together. I have one other minor quibble with the book and that is the way Shelby talks about her mother in the opening pages, in particular the fat shaming she does. I can accept that most teenagers are actually pretty scathing when it comes to their parents, but it does make for slightly uncomfortable reading. 

 Over all, I found it incredibly enjoyable. There’s a small reveal early on in the book which shows Shelby to be a very different character to most of those found in YA, and it’s a difference I found very refreshing. 

 I can see this book being taught in English/Language Arts classes as there are so many themes to explore and so many possible interpretations of the role of Coyote and the Dreaming. 

 If you’re looking for a thriller with a very different feel, then this comes highly recommended.

In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.

Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.

All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Award-winning author Nick Lake proves his skills as a master storyteller in this heart-pounding new novel. This emotionally charged thrill ride leads to a shocking ending that will have readers flipping back to the beginning.


  1. I have never read this book or a review for it, but I have seen it popping up in a few places, which interests me a lot. I don't think this one is for me but I am glad you liked it.


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