Where the Truth Lies: Good Writing and Character Development, But My Least Favorite Type(s) of Romance

Where the Truth Lies is written by Jessica Warman (who also wrote Between, which I reviewed here). It was published in 2010 by Walker & Company. Warman’s site can be found here.

Genre: Realistic, Tough Read


“On the surface, Emily Meckler leads the perfect life. She has three best friends, two loving parents, and an ideal setup at the ritzy Connecticut prep school where her father is headmaster. But below the surface, Emily is suffering from devastating nightmares—about either fire or water—and nobody knows why.

When Del Sugar enters her life, Emily is immediately swept away. Del is gorgeous and troubled, the school’s bad boy. But their passionate relationship is just the first of many things that aren’t quite what they seem in Emily’s life.

As the lies she’s been told start to unravel, Emily must set out to discover the truth behind her nightmares, a journey that will lead her to question everything she once thought she knew about love, family, and her own idyllic past.”

~Inside Flap


“I have insomnia. Actually, I have something called night terrors. So it’s not that I can’t sleep—it’s more like I’m afraid to sleep. And when I finally do, it’s almost always that kind of half-awake struggle, a fight to find some rest in between the real world and the part of my subconscious where nightmares unfold and wrap themselves around me. It’s always hard to tell the difference, to know where I really am. Most of the time, I wake up gasping for air. Sometimes—but not very often—I’ll find my breath and wake up screaming .My nightmares are always about the same things: fire or water. Never both at once.”

~Warman 3

I shake my head. “How do you know everyone thinks it’s a bad idea?”

“Because we’ve been talking about it. I know Del is all hot and mysterious and brilliant. But there’s something so off about him. Something isn’t right. What kind of person is involved in beating someone up with a baseball bat?” I’m not sure how, exactly, but by now everyone has heard one version or another of what happened at Del’s last school. I certainly haven’t been the one telling them. “Think about it, Emily,” she continues. “how well do you actually know him?”

~Warman 92-93

Cover Art

Warnings: Drug abuse, drinking, teenage sex, teenage pregnancy, swearing, student/teacher relationship.

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Rating: 2.5/5

What I Liked:

This was pretty well-written. I appreciate Warman’s ability to not have to throw in swear words to make something seem more “tense” or “realistic” or whatever. I also appreciate her not throwing in diversity for diversity’s sake, as is oh-so-common in YA these days.

Also, spoiler, thank goodness this didn’t follow the usual good-girl-falls-for-bad-boy-and-she-changes-her-image-because-it’s-love (Grease, I’m looking at you). Emily actually does the smart thing for once and realizes that this is a bad thing what are you doing this is a terrible idea, end spoiler. Her character development overall was very good.

I’m curious as to what really happened to Madeline. Warman never explains, and I’m wondering if it’s explained in Warman’s first book, Breathless, as a character is mentioned that is from that book (Added Note: It’s not). Or if Warman just didn’t want to explain it and left it up to the reader’s imagination.

What I Didn’t Like:

So, I hate good-girl-falls-for-bad-boy romances. I also hate love-at-first-sight and forbidden-love-is-the-best-love romances, and this book was, unfortunately, all three. It handled the three adequately, I suppose, but once spoiler Emily got pregnant end spoiler I was over the whole thing. Also, what kind of name is Del Sugar? Is Warman trying to get some kind of metaphorical thing going here, such as sugar tastes good but is actually bad for you type of thing?

The Big Reveal about the source of Emily’s nightmares was very…meh. I was expecting more for some reason. It was very unsatisfactory after having to slog through Del’s cliché and corny dialogue.

Dreams of fire and water–sounds mysterious, thrilling and scary. Turns out it’s none of the above.

Overall Review:

Where the Truth Lies is a mediocre YA novel. The character growth and the writing were good, but the plot and the characters are pretty uneventful and forgettable. There are better books out there to read.

Coming Up Next: Reached by Ally Condie

One thought on “Where the Truth Lies: Good Writing and Character Development, But My Least Favorite Type(s) of Romance

  1. Pingback: If I Lie: Don’t Waste Your Time Reading This. Seriously. | Leaf's Reviews

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