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The Secret to Lying

The Secret to Lying

Written by Todd Mitchell

Narrated by Nick Podehl


The Secret to Lying

Written by Todd Mitchell

Narrated by Nick Podehl

ratings:
4/5 (17 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Released:
Oct 25, 2011
ISBN:
9781455828982
Format:
Audiobook

Description

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), a public boarding school, James decides that it's time to leave the past behind. In a student body 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 comes to discover the secret-and consequence-of lying.


"Opening your eyes and seeing the world - really seeing it - that's what this powerful book is about." -Lauren Myracle, bestselling author of the Internet Girls series and Bliss

"A fascinating, funny, and utterly engaging read." -Laura Resau, author of Red Glass and The Ruby Notebook

"Engrossing and entertaining...A great read." -Publishers Weekly

"A straightforward, from-the-gut story....Mitchell is definitely one to watch." -Kirkus Reviews

Released:
Oct 25, 2011
ISBN:
9781455828982
Format:
Audiobook


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Reviews

What people think about The Secret to Lying

4.1
17 ratings / 15 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Suffice it to say: Todd Mitchell has earned himself a new fan.It took me a while to warm up to The Secret to Lying. It's John Green's fault--the set-up was too reminiscent of the set-up to the delightful Looking for Alaska. This is a completely different book, though, especially after the first few chapters, and by the end, I loved it (dare I say it?) more than either of the John Green books I've read. I eagerly await Mr. Mitchell's next book.
  • (4/5)
    This kept me guessing all throught the book. Are the dreams real or is he crazy?
  • (4/5)
    James, who was a nobody at his local high school, has been accepted at the exclusive public high school for really bright students. He decides to make up things about his past in order to get noticed. Eventually, things get out of control and he ends up needing counseling for his self destructive behavior. The book starts out one way, then seems to want to be something else. Does James simply want to be noticed, or is he mentally ill? Why does Ellie, the perfect girl who turns out to be anorexic, instantly know his problems even though she refuses to talk to him and is overwhelmed with her own demons? The book needs work but also has a lot going for it -- the author, Todd Mitchell, is a good writer.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed the first half of this book quite a bit, but as it got to the middle, that interest faded.The basic story is a good one. 15-year old James lives a pretty normal life in a small town. He decides he's like to do something more interesting and be more interesting, so he applies to a boarding school and gets in. Once he's there, some small lies slip out and before hse knows it, he has built a whole new life for himself. He's now seen as a tough guy with a difficult past. James loves the new role, even as he struggles some with the trouble he's now getting into. He meets a lot of new people - some good influences and some not. He starts to IM with a mysterious person and it seems like that's the only person with whom he might choose to share his real self. So I enjoyed all of that, but then the book started to get into these dreams that James is having. Some hoe these strange dreams have an element of reality to them and seem to impact him when he wakes up. I just found them confusing and could have done without them completely, even though I understand they are central to the story as it's developed.
  • (4/5)
    When 15-year-old James gets accepted into American Science and Mathematics Academy, a boarding school, for the start of his sophomore year he takes the opportunity to reinvent himself. Gone will be the nearly invisible James that no one will remember once high school is over and in his place is a new James, an adventure loving, car stealing, steet fighting James--created by lies. Known across the school now, dating a cool Junior and reviled as the cool kid among all the nerds at the school, James should have a perfect life.But he doesn't. Between nightmares of fighting demons, cutting himself, and event after event that lead to relationship after relationship (of all sorts) ending, and 'perfect girl' Ellie refusing to notice him or care about him, James' life seems to be coming apart.The Secret to Lying is a coming of age story that I'm really glad I got from Early Reviewers because I more than likely wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. James is a really well written character who really is taking the opportunity away from home (at an early age than most get the opportunity) to reinvent himself. It's only after he's living his new life and doing what he thinks he really wants to do that he starts to feel the consequences of his lies and not being himself.I think that the story was very well written--showing James progress from getting to ASMA, to creating his new persona and all that came with it, to the end. The secondary characters and their stories added to the plot (and James' story) too while being interesting in and of themselves.The part that I don't think worked so well were the nightmares that he had and the little alternate world created by them. I know that the dreams James was having (and his battles within them) were supposed to mirror his inner turmoil/give it a sort of physical manifestation, but it never completely connected for me. It always seemed like there was just that last piece that needed to be added/written for the connection to be there (or be great).I think that this is a great book with a male main character, YA especially and one that will appeal to boys but also to girls.
  • (4/5)
    Great story, I really enjoyed the boarding school setting and characters. I liked the coming-of-age theme but the demon-hunting aspect was a little weak. However, I liked it enough to look for future books by Todd Mitchell.
  • (4/5)
    I had high hopes for this one, but it just did not live up to my expectations. I was initially attracted by the demon hunting warrior aspect of the book, but it was my least favorite part. It felt contrived, almost like it did not belong with the rest of the stories. Skipping the demon parts, the rest of the book though is great.
  • (4/5)
    Overall I enjoyed this first young adult novel by Mitchell (and as a high school librarian, I read a lot of YA books). The characters and their motivations/actions are believable and the public boarding school setting is intriguing. As a reader, I was rooting for the book's main character - bright but disaffected 15-year-old James who wants so badly to be viewed by his peers as cool and above it all - but I do think that the author add a few too many storytelling elements going on. In addition to the straightforward narrative, there are also several dream sequences in which James battles demons in an urban underworld and instant messaging passages between James and an unknown female admirer. Midway through the book, I found myself skimming these section, particularly the dream sequences. I understand what the author was trying to do with them, but the symbolism just seemed too heavy handed.
  • (3/5)
    This is a book about a 15 year old guy, who's tired of being invisible at his school and in his life, who often wishes that he could just go anywhere else and be someone else. Well, he gets his chance - when he gets accepted into a school for students who are gifted in the subjects of math and science. It all starts out with his dorm-mate telling one story about him, and he starts his school year telling lies about who he is and what he has done in his life. Then the dreams start, where he's fighting monsters and demons every night - leading up to a battle for his own reality. I think the premise of this story was really good, but I'm not sure I really enjoyed the execution of it. I was not gripped by the story to keep reading through until the end, and often found myself not wanting to finish this book. I did, and it was okay. I think I just wanted a little more.
  • (5/5)
    James is tired of being a nobody, the kid everyone overlooks because he's just plain average. He jumps at the chance to attend a public boarding school for gifted kids, where he reinvents himself as a rebel. He's got it made now - purple hair, ripped jeans, and a few lies have given him a reputation. But his dreams suggest that more is going on beneath the surface than even James realizes.Todd Mitchell's first book for teens explores the common theme of identity in an inventive way. James' dreams reflect what he's doing to his self, and you see that acting one way and being another really affects his psyche deeply. I actually thought the dream sequences were the weakest part of the story, preferring the interactions with friends, teachers, and the IMs with "ghost44." Mitchell does a good job of discussing teen issues, like cutting, without ever making them the focal point of the story. The focus instead is all on James - who is he, and who will he choose to be? Moments of humor also keep this from being a heavy read; one of my favorite parts was his description of the gifted school's cheers as using words that the opposing team needed dictionaries to understand. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more books by this author.
  • (5/5)
    All James wants is to fit and be noticed by his peers, so when he starts a new school he creates a new persona based on lies. This book contains a three different story lines that all tie together to create a wonderfully written story. The dream sequences and IM conversations add to James' story in a way nothing else could. I found many parts of this book similar to John Green's Looking For Alaska, but in a totally new and different way. This would be great book for Green fans and boys looking for a high school story that doesn't involve sports. I really enjoyed it and think it's a great book for high school boys. This refers to an advanced reading copy.
  • (4/5)
    I have mixed feelings about this book.It was written smoothly and with a solid voice, and though sometimes it seemed the author tried a little too hard for humor, I did on several occasions chuckle out loud. My problem is, ultimately, with the main character. I was enjoying it well enough as it began, when the main character decided to start over at a new school and reinvent himself from a nobody to a somebody, but after a while I found I could not sympathize with him and he made me feel mildly uncomfortable. I think the discomfort was intentional on the author's part, given the way the plot moves, but the associated loss of sympathy, I think, wasn't. Teen readers may be more forgiving and empathize more.
  • (4/5)
     I'm still not sure if I liked this book. It is a clever novel about a boy, James, who spends his days invisible at high school. One day, his teacher suggest he should go to a private school (for nerds) and he decides to be someone else. So he starts lying and eventually everything slips out of control. I think the book was good, it does address a lot of the reasons why James lies (instead of just brushing them aside) . But I just don't know if I liked it.
  • (4/5)
    High school sophomore James arrives at the American Science and Mathematics Academy boarding school (yes we are finally seeing a YA dork academy and not the gothic, creepy one normal to this genre) looking for a fresh start and a new life. James takes the opportunity to reinvent himself to the students. Instead of the nobody he was, he claims “rebel outsider” whom spent the majority of his time as a freshman, street fighting and stealing cars. Of course this places James in the ranks of drool-worthy stardom amongst the herd of nerds at this school and it’s not long before he stands out as a true rebel. While James finds some quick pleasure in the lies and friendships based upon his faulty exterior, inside he is a very sad and confused guy. Disturbing nightmares begin to take a toll on James as fantasy begins to mix with his reality. Sword fights in the dream land become real razors in the bathroom. Teachers, students and friends try to reach out and help James but addicted to his own destruction, he aimlessly tosses away one relationship after the other. Mitchell’s use of the dark dreams and paranormal demon fighting were as I understood it- used metaphorically to link James mental turmoil in wanting to be that someone and the self-destruction of his cutting together. I understand why these elements were used but I felt it almost didn’t fit in with the coming of age story delivered. Not that this was a bad thing, but had it been left out it wouldn’t have been missed.The Secret to Lying was a surprisingly humorous and almost heart breaking look into a young man’s mind of low self esteem and self-discovery. Todd Mitchell’s writing was fantastic, I felt he sincerely knew how to talk to the young teen, but was also able to pull me (a woman no longer a teen) back to a time in my life where James was highly relatable and recognizable. James is the average teen, and what I liked about this book even with the tad bit of paranormal flair on the side- he remains average. Never does James launch into this unbelievable super-hero of a guy but becomes the super-hero of overcoming real life issues. The ending for me was very heartfelt and left me with a sense of hope for the future life of this character.
  • (4/5)
    If you read the blubs describing this novel, you might miss how funny it is. I’m often amused when reading, but rarely actually laugh out loud. I was laughing out loud at the cheers the ‘smart kids’ school used when playing against other schools in sports:“That’s all right, That’s ok. You’re gonna work for us someday.”“Forget Defense. Defenestrate!”The beginning of this book is so clever and funny especially some of the pranks and Operation Ultimate Freak, a very funny protest over the school’s cafeteria food. However it gets much darker by mid-book. James is having strange dreams and is ‘haunted’ via IM by ghost44, who is one of his classmates, but which one?I enjoy books that dare to go dark, but it would have been nice to spread some of the funny parts into the second half of the book, to break up the tension a little. However, it moves right along, and the many of the characters are really….characters! I liked it quite a bit, and would recommend it to any smart/quirky kids, my own smart, quirky kid loved it and is trying to figure out how to get away with some of the pranks!I never comment on errors in ARCs, but this copy had a page that fell out on the very first reading, that’s rather annoying as I share my books with 7/8th grade classrooms. I also think that the cover and the title do not really 'fit' the story inside.