There Will Be Lies – Nick Lake

There Will Be Lies – Nick Lake

Title: There Will Be Lies
Author: Nick Lake
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: 1st January 2015
Pages: 454
Rating: 2/5 stars

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There will be two lies, then there will be the truth.
And that will be the hardest of all.

Shelby Jane Cooper is seventeen. She lives with her mom, a court stenographer who likes to do cross-stitch and wants to keep Shelby safe. So safe, she barely goes out. So safe, she has never been to school. Safe as a newborn baby. 

When a car knocks Shelby down, it’s the beginning and the end of everything. Her mother drags her away from her old life. All she can rely on is the lies she’s been told. Without them, who would she be?

This book was an interesting case. I loved the main character, Shelby. She is deaf, a fact I knew going into the novel, but isn’t actually mentioned for quite a few chapters. She is smart and sarcastic as hell. Her mum, Shaylene, is a bit overprotective, but that’s just to be expected.

But when a car crashes into Shelby, shattering her leg and putting her in hospital, her mum gets weird. Suddenly the mother and daughter pair are on the run. First, Shaylene tells Shelby that her abusive father will find them. Then, when that story falls through, she admits that she is an escaped murderess. Only neither of those tales are true. Two lies before the truth.

I wasn’t expecting the heavy Navajo spirituality which occurs throughout the novel. Shelby is constantly drawn into a dreamscape sort of world, where she has to help Coyote set the place to rights. It’s all somehow related to a dream she has been having since she was a child.

I would have really loved the story, had it just been a crime novel without the spiritual dreamscape element. While it was interesting to learn a little bit about Navajo myth, I felt that it didn’t fit particularly well with the other story. However, it was Coyote who was given the best lines.

There was a certain psychological exploration of Shaylene’s motives in carrying out the crime she is eventually found guilty of, but I wish there had been a little bit more. Shaylene, despite being the guilty party in a crime, was a good mother to Shelby, and I liked peering into her mind.

Chasms and canyons were a nice metaphor throughout. Shelby is a bit obsessed with visiting the Grand Canyon, and it becomes a metaphor for the crack in her own reality. (I like obvious metaphors, after struggling to pick apart English texts at school!)

While I really enjoyed the crime aspect of this story, the spiritual side detracted from the exciting parts. It detracted from, rather than added to, the main plot. Had Lake explored his two lines of thought in separate books, both would have been more enjoyable than the mash of genres in There Will Be Lies.

Do you like stories with two major plot trajectories? When do they cross the line and become too different?

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