Sharp-edged and voice-driven, Meredith Miller’s How We Learned to Lie is a raw and unflinching look at friendship, violence, and life in a town on the brink. Perfect for fans of Lynn Weingarten and Meg Medina. This isn't a love story, but it is a story about love.
This is the story of Joan Harris and Daisy McNamara and the year everything in their lives came apart.
It starts when Robbie McNamara appears at Joan’s house with someone else’s blood dripping from his hands. Then it all unravels from there in a string of bad angel dust, good biology teachers, rusty scalpels, and stunning car crashes. People keep disappearing, and everyone is lying.
There was always Joan and Daisy, just Daisy and Joan. The thing is, even if you love someone, how long should you hold on before letting go to save yourself?
The newest YA novel from Miller (Little Wrecks) takes place circa 1979 1980 on Long Island with chapters alternating between Joan and Daisy, best friends and neighbors who have wildly dissimilar interests. Joan, who is black, is interested in marine biology; Daisy, a white boy who was nicknamed by his mother, has a knack for hacking into phone systems. Both have complicated families, which in Daisy's case, leads to his being abandoned. An undercurrent of dread runs throughout the story, and Miller's vivid, haunting writing is filled with prose gems ("I took a big breath and dove straight into Nick Tomaszewski without checking first to see how shallow he was," Joan narrates). Daisy and Joan's longtime friendship is engaging, and their internal monologues are revealing and compelling, yet narrative murkiness impedes forward momentum: by the time tragedy is set in motion, the events feel anticlimactic and disconnected, even for these two promising characters. Ages 14 up.