LIE (Bock)

Book Reviews
(Young adult.) Bock's (Confessions of a Carb Queen) first YA novel is a smart, topical story about a racially motivated hate crime, its far-ranging consequences, and the community determined to keep it under wraps. Skylar Thompson, a sensitive and complex loner, is deeply reliant on her boyfriend, Jimmy Seeger, a cocky, clean-cut jock. Shortly before their high school graduation, Jimmy and his best friend Sean are arrested for the vicious beating of Arturo Cortez, a young El Salvadoran mason, who subsequently dies of his injuries. Charismatic but cruel, Jimmy has been leading a gang that goes "beaner-hopping" on Saturday nights, assaulting Latinos for sick thrills. Skylar, who witnessed Jimmy's unprovoked attack on Arturo, suffers a crisis of conscience over whether to cover for her boyfriend; the lies Skylar and others are pressured to tell cut through the town like the Long Island Expressway the title plays on. Avoiding preachiness, Bock handles the novel's multiple viewpoints exceptionally well, rotating among the painfully believable voices of high school students and adults. Her characters may keep the truth inside, but their story reads like a confessional.
Publishers Weekly


(Grade 7 & up.) Skylar's life hasn't been the same since her mother died of cancer. The only bright light has been her relationship with her boyfriend, Jimmy, a Scholar-Athlete of the Year, but now he stands accused of assaulting two Salvadoran immigrants and she is the prime witness. The full story slowly comes into focus through the many different perspectives of people in a Long Island town that has seen its demographics change dramatically in recent years. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Skylar navigates her precarious position. As she puts the pieces together and ponders her own future, can she speak out against her boyfriend? And should she? Bock successfully captures a range of voices in addition to Skylar's, from teens close to the perpetrator to the victim's family and community members and richly develops this ripped-from-the-headlines tale. Within the larger picture of tension around illegal immigration is the lesser-known practice of "beaner-hopping," in which teens attack suspected illegal immigrants as a sick sort of sport. While readers are not given direct insight into Jimmy's views, he comes to life as a multifaceted person who unfortunately inherited many of his father's grudge-laden, bigoted opinions. Bock's debut will grip readers searching for complete realism in their fiction. —Jennifer Barnes, Malden Public Library, MA
School Library Journal


(Starred review.) This effective, character-driven, episodic story examines the consequences of a hate crime on the teens involved in it.... Realistic and devastatingly insightful, this novel can serve as a springboard to classroom and family discussions. Unusual and important. (12 & up).
Kirkus Reviews

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