Carnegie Longlist 2016 · Carnegie Nominations 2016 · Carnegie Shortlist 2016

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

‘There Will Be Lies’ is a young adult thriller/mystery with some magical realism mixed in. The protagonist Shelby has been living an isolated and ordinary life with her mother until one day she is hit by a car and everything about her life changes. The story follows Shelby on her journey to discover the truth about her life.

I had really mixed feelings about this book and I think it’s because the story was split into two distinct parts, one based in the real world and one based in a surreal alternative reality called the Dreaming. I loved the elements in the real world; it was a fast paced psychological thriller with lots of plot twists, a likeable and relatable main character and was written in a distinct style that I found really enjoyable to read. In comparison the elements in the Dreaming (which was based on aspects of Native American mythology) seemed to slow the plot right down, felt confusing and disjointed from the main story and unnecessarily long. At the end of the story the Dreaming is explained and you realise what it is and how it fits into the story as a whole but I just expected more and was left unsatisfied since it had taken up such a large portion of the book.

Ultimately I think that this book would have been better without the Dreaming or perhaps not so much of it. It could have worked brilliantly as just a thriller without the fantasy side of it; the story had so much merit without the dreaming that it just didn’t feel necessary. The concept of the Dreaming was interesting and perhaps I would have liked it more if I knew a bit more about Native American mythology but I don’t think the two elements fully came together and probably would have been better as two separate stories.

I would definitely still recommend this book to teenagers as the mystery element really does keep you hooked and I think this is going to be a great one for discussions as it will split opinions.

Would love to have some comments and opinions from anyone else who has read or is planning to read the story!

Reviewed by Jodie

2 thoughts on “There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

  1. I wasn’t sure how much I enjoyed this book. The psychological thriller part was well written. It was a little slow to get started but when it took off it hooked me in. Unfortunately near the end it slowed down again. With the dreaming part I was initially intrigued but when looking back I feel it was too basic and not fully developed. For example a main character is Coyote who is a trickster, who fails to play any tricks. The dreaming also includes elements of European folklore which I’m not sure mixed well. I feel the author wanted to write about native American mythology but failed to do the topic justice.


  2. I have just finished reading There Will be Lies and have to admit that I had read the comments above before starting. I was determined to give it all a go including the dreaming part and found that after the first visit to the dreaming I was not inspired to find out more as it did drag on. I was beginning to dread getting to those parts of the story so decided that I would skim them. I truly did not feel that I missed out on anything as the main story was great. I can see why the dreaming was important but far too much time, in my opinion, was wasted on what could otherwise have been a fast and dramatic story. I think if I had not read the comments above and realised that it was possible to skip the dreaming and still understand the story may have lost interest in the story altogether. Saying all of that I am glad I finished it. Don’t think it would be my winning choice.


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