What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
There are a lot of reasons to read this book—it’s got a mystery, a romance, a mother –daughter relationship, parental betrayal, shady business deals, secrets kept from World War II, the revelation of the anti-Semitism of the time, and a murder trial. The writing is good. It has enough of a historical setting (1947 East Coast/Palm Beach, Florida) that it would be a good choice for a project that begins with historical fiction, like the Chaffey High senior project for English.
The novel takes place in 1947. Fifteen-year-old Evie’s stepfather, Joe, has returned from the European front after WW II. He appears very loving toward both Evie and her drop-dead gorgeous mom. Now happy, the family decides to take a vacation and drives down the coast to Palm Beach, Florida. Since it’s off-season, few people are around, but they find an open resort and there meet the Graysons, with whom Joe appears to want to do business. Another man shows up at the resort—young and handsome Peter Coleridge, who had served in the army with Joe. Evie is immediately infatuated, but finds that there is a strange tension between Joe and Peter.
It takes Evie some time to understand what is happening around her since everyone is lying to her. No one is who s/he pretends to be, and Evie learns secrets of the Graysons, of both Joe and Peter, and the personally devastating secrets of her mother’s life. When someone turns up dead, what will Evie tell about what she knows?