Lies I Tell Myself

S. & S./Atheneum. Jun. 2022. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665900881.
Gr 4-6–In this companion novel to To Tell You the Truth, 11-year-old Raymond is sent to spend the summer at his grandparents’ house in Winter’s Peak, ME. Some kids might not find this so bad, but Raymond doesn’t remember his grandparents. In fact, he can barely remember his mom, Abigail, who abandoned his family six years before. Of course, Gigi and Jack don’t really know Raymond either. They believe he’s “troubled” and “backwards” and needs a summer full of bike riding, swimming, and making friends—too bad Raymond can’t ride a bike, swim, or easily make friends. Still, he is determined to try. With the help of his grandfather’s journal, the tween sets out to make the best of the summer and maybe even find some truth in the lies he tells himself. Readers see Raymond grow in confidence and ability over the months, so the inner strength he exhibits in the final chapters is believable. The cast is primarily white. In this novel with intergenerational themes, the author takes care that no one, child or adult, comes across as all good or all bad.
VERDICT Readers don’t need to be familiar with the previous book to enjoy this story of a boy learning who he is. Recommended.

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