So the story opens with Shelby Cooper, a seventeen year old girl who lives possibly the most sheltered life with her overprotective mum. She’s homeschooled, isn’t allowed to go out alone, she rarely speaks to anyone other than her mum and her life is strictly planned with the same routines every week.
Did I say she rarely speaks to anyone other than her mum? Okay, she does sometimes speak to Mark, a boy at her local library. He’s super hot and mysterious and, when Shelby gets hit by a car right outside the library, it's no coincidence that he was on the scene.
Despite her smothery upbringing, Shelby is refreshingly (and surprisingly) well-rounded. She reads, she plays baseball (on her own, in a batting cage, which is like the saddest thing I’ve read all year) and she thinks almost entirely in sarcasm.
Gym Rat doesn’t say, You feel like hooking up? but he does say, You feel like hanging out? so I was close.
I shake my head as I walk past, and I see his mouth say, Bitch, silently.
So yeah, sad face. I really missed out there.
I really enjoyed her narration and I think the way she looked at some pretty freaky events with such side-eye made me like this book an awful lot more than I would have otherwise. Now, I’m not saying that without Shelby I wouldn’t have enjoyed There Will Be Lies at all. It was still a pretty decent read. But her narration gave it at least one extra star.
The book was a mixture of contemporary, mythology, spec fic and thriller. I say mixture rather than blend because it felt just like that: a mixture. Part of the book was set in the real world, where a pretty thrilling mystery was unravelling, and part was set in The Dreaming, this before-time-began dreamworld full of Native American mythology. Both were good, and I got how events in The Dreaming had resonance in the real world, but it left me feeling like I was reading two separate books.
I had virtually no prior knowledge of Native American mythology, so I’m not really in a position to comment of the accuracy of its portrayal in The Dreaming, but it’s inclusion was really interesting and engaging.
I do, however, have a lot of prior knowledge of contemporary and thrillers and the real life plotline was excellent. It had me on the edge of my seat - it was real thrills and spills stuff and some events had me reading with my mouth hanging open unattractively. Coupled with the brilliant narrative it made for a story that had me reading way past my bedtime.
It’s not often I say that the narration was absolutely crucial in a book; in fact, I can’t think of a book I’ve read recently where this was the case, but with this book it was true. Shelby as a character really papered over any cracks this book might have had and made it a really decent read.