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If I Lie
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"Relationships and their dynamics play themselves out naturally and with satisfying complexity" (Kirkus Reviews) in this dramatic and powerful novel that explores the gray space between truth and perception. Cheater. Traitor. Slut. Quinn's done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Shunned by everyone she knows, Quinn loses her friends, her reputation, and her identity. Because Carey's not just any guy--he's a Marine who's serving overseas, and beloved by everyone in their small, military town. But Quinn didn't cheat. She could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets she's vowed to keep--secrets that aren't hers to share. So she stays silent, and she waits for Carey to come home. Then Carey goes MIA, and Quinn must decide how far she'll go to protect her boyfriend...and her promise.
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Just before high school senior Quinn's boyfriend deploys to Afghanistan with the Marines, a picture surfaces on Facebook that shows her kissing a boy-and it isn't Carey. Soon after, Carey goes missing in action, causing Quinn's classmates, and many adults in her military town, to treat her like "the slut that cheated on our hero." But Quinn is committed to keeping a secret about Carey and what led to that photographed kiss. Military culture permeates Jackson's debut; in addition to themes of honor and sacrifice, Quinn's father is a Marine, and her mother left the family years ago, unable to cope with "how the war changed him." Additionally, Quinn bonds with George, an elderly veteran who gets her involved in recording other vets' stories. Jackson throws a lot at readers: beyond Carey's secret, Quinn faces her mother's return, George's decline, and her feelings for the boy she was photographed kissing. Quinn's relationship with George is well-drawn, but other characters and plot lines lack this fullness. Readers may find the focus on military communities and culture the most engaging aspect of Quinn's story. Ages 14-up. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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