Publication Date: 5 May 2016
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery
Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman is a young adult mystery novel that was published on 5 May 2016.
The novel was a really easy, enjoyable read, and the plot was simple to follow. I was hoping for a creepy story with a good plot twist, but as it was young adult, it read more like a drama. Therefore, the mystery aspects of this novel did not come across as that surprising, but combined the genres of young adult and mystery in a decent way.
In Lying About Last Summer, Skye spends a week at a bereavement camp one year after her sister dies. Skye encounters many diverse people, and participates in various camp-related activities. The novel occasionally switches between the past and the present, and the readers learn more about what happened when Skye’s sister died.
During her week away, Skye starts receiving messages from her dead sister. Suspicions arise over where the messages are coming from, considering that her sister is supposed to be dead. Not only is there a mystery surrounding Skye’s sister, but there is something else involving the campers that Skye unintentionally gets involved with.
I liked the setting of the novel, as it was unique. A camp for teenagers to bond with other teenagers who have lost someone close to them is an interesting idea. Also giving Skye’s old house a name, which was ‘Yew Tree House’, helped contribute to creating a visual world for the readers. The only thing that I could fault about the setting was that it was difficult to picture all of the camp activities in my mind.
The characters seemed to be different and distinguishable, which really helped, because there were quite a few to remember. A flaw of Skye’s was that she was sometimes quick to judge. In particular, she often criticised her roommate and friend Fay, who was an underweight and unsure girl. I did not really appreciate this about Skye because people should generally have more compassion for those who are grieving. Although, I enjoyed the character of Brandon, who was a nice boy that Skye befriended and helped Skye when she needed it.
Overall, the twist was surprising. It was not overly impressive, but I was still satisfied by it. The mystery kept me reading, as I wanted to know who was behind the messages. The pace of the novel picked up a bit more once the messages started coming in. It would have been nice to perhaps include more scenes in the past because it was supposed to be a big focus of the story.
The novel was light and entertaining. I would recommend it to younger readers and to those who are interested by the premise.