What happens when your life becomes a lie?
*2011 Colorado Book Award Winner*
*Texas Library Association Teen Reading List Selection*
*Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards Selection*
“Engrossing and entertaining… a great read.” —Publishers Weekly
“An artful blurring between reality and fantasy, The Secret to Lying masterfully delves into one teen’s struggle to be noticed. Bold writing… coupled with an endearing plot that very cleverly manipulates the lines between dreaming and awake, fiction and reality, create a perfect novel for an emotional ride the reader is guaranteed to remain on until the ending.” —A Good Addiction Book Reviews
“An impressive debut… Mitchell brilliantly explores the pain of isolation so many teens experience.” —The Buffalo News
“…a surprisingly humorous and almost heart breaking look into a young man’s mind.” —Tina’s Book Reviews
“A novel to be recommended, not only for teen readers, but for parents of teens, as it takes readers for an inside look at some self-destructive adolescent behaviors and the reasons that may lie behind them.” —The Examiner (Five stars)
A teenage boy’s self-reinvention gets out of control in a sharp, funny, poignant, and compulsively readable novel that gives a familiar theme a surprising twist.
James was the guy no one noticed —another fifteen-year-old living in a small town. So when he gets into the American Science and Mathematics Academy (or ASMA), James decides to leave his boring past behind. In a public boarding school made up of nerds and geeks, being cool is easy. All it takes is a few harmless lies to invent the new James: rebel, punk, street fighter. Everyone’s impressed —except for the beautiful Ellie Frost, whose icy demeanor holds an inexplicable attraction for James, and the mysterious ghost44, an IM presence who sees right through his new identity.
But James is riding high —playing pranks and hooking up with the luscious Jessica Keen. Things seem perfect until he begins having strange dreams of a dark city haunted by demons. As the line between dreams and reality blurs, James begins to wonder: What’s the price for being the coolest guy around?
Funny and real, Todd Mitchell’s debut YA novel takes readers into a school for the intellectually gifted and socially awkward, as readers discover the secret —and consequences— to lying. (Candlewick Press, 2010, ages 13 & up)
Read a free sample chapter!
Want a behind-the-scenes look into The Secret to Lying? Read this (and see a picture of me in high school).
“James’s character is compelling as he straddles the line between fantasy and reality, builds friendships, pulls off outrageous pranks, and deals with the angst of first love. He and his friends are real teens–funny, intelligent, and still a bit vulnerable… This coming-of-age novel is imbued with wry humor and offers a thoughtful take on the importance of learning to live in your own skin.” —School Library Journal
“…real issues of cutting and eating disorders are confronted in a poignant and interesting fashion. …a thought-provoking look at intelligent kids and the trouble isolation and loneliness can create.” —VOYA (starred)
“James is a credible, well-developed character …[the book depicts] a satisfying arc of growing beyond the need to be noticed into the need to be known, to which many readers will relate.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Opening your eyes and seeing the world —really seeing it— that’s what this powerful book is about.” —Lauren Myracle (bestselling author of TTYL and Bliss)
“Don’t miss this fascinating, funny, and utterly engaging read for teens and adults alike!” —Laura Resau (author of Red Glass and The Indigo Notebook)
“The author’s voice captures the reader’s attention immediately and the plot sucks you in even more. All in all, it was a one-of-a-kind book.” —Flamingnet Book Reviews
“Tactical strikes of humor and perceptive insights… keep this investigation of teen identity issues aloft, and the unusual focus on a male cutter helps set it apart.” —Booklist
“[Mitchell’s] voice is definitely one to watch.” —Kirkus
“James and his friends hit all the usual marks, as in any well-written YA novel, but what elevates this story above the crowd is this: while James is playing out his seemingly self-destructive reinvention, he’s also experiencing life on a couple of extra levels: he’s having a series of mysterious IM conversations with ‘Ghost44’, who seems to be a fellow ASMA student who can see right through his inventions, and he’s having a series of relentlessly vivid dreams in which he explores a city in his subconscious, battling demons, aided by a pair of spirit guides. While any one of these three plot devices – invented history, IM conversations, Matrix-like alternate reality – would be sufficient for the average YA novel, I have to applaud Todd Mitchell for finding a way to bring them all together in a richly layered narrative. Fans of John Green’s novels, especially Looking for Alaska, may come to The Secret to Lying expecting a clone of the master’s work, but they’ll be pleased to discover they’ve gotten a surprise upgrade.” —John Mesjak (Five stars)