My Thoughts On: Lie by Caroline Bock + GIVEAWAY!

Posted June 28, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 31 Comments

Lie by Caroline Bock
Published by St. Martin’s
Publish Date: August 30, 2011
224 Pages
Source:  Finished Copy from publisher

Everybody knows, nobody’s talking. . . .
Seventeen-year-old Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she’s the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she’s seen, but how long can she keep it up?

But Jimmy was her savior . . . .
When her mother died, he was the only person who made her feel safe, protected from the world. But when she begins to appreciate the enormity of what has happened, especially when Carlos Cortez, one of the victims, steps up to demand justice, she starts to have second thoughts about protecting Jimmy. Jimmy’s accomplice, Sean, is facing his own moral quandary. He’s out on bail and has been offered a plea in exchange for testifying against Jimmy.

The truth must be told. . . .
Sean must decide whether or not to turn on his friend in order to save himself. But most important, both he and Skylar need to figure out why they would follow someone like Jimmy in the first place.
(summary from Goodreads)

Lie by Caroline Bock

My Thoughts
:  Lie is one of those stories that was really intense yet also gripping, which kept me from being able to put it down. It was short, which was a good thing, because it kind of had me in knots while I was reading. It is the story of a crime, an awful hate crime, how everyone involved was affected, and what they chose to do about it, if anything.

1. The Story. Jimmy Seeger and his friends go “beaner-hopping” every Saturday night. At first, this started out as something they just did for fun. No one was supposed to be hurt. But on this particular Saturday night, things got out of control. And this time, Skylar and Lisa Marie were there to witness it.

Jimmy and Sean were the only two guys riding this week. They pulled up alongside two men walking on the road, Arturo and Carlos Cortez, and viciously beat them. There was a weapon involved, and Arturo was seriously injured. As in, intensive care, seriously. Carlos suffered minor injuries and was treated and released.

Jimmy and Sean were arrested, of course. In talking with Skylar and Lisa Marie, they all decided that no one would say anything. They would lie. “Everybody’s knows, nobody’s talking” became their mantra. Even when Skylar and Sean started to break down and feel the guilt, Jimmy and Lisa Marie kept reminding them of their deal – lie. Lie! Lie. Not guilty, right? Right?

2. The Characters. The story is told from a lot of perspectives. This sounds daunting and exhausting but I think it works out okay in this case. It gives a very well-rounded point-of-view of everyone, or at least nearly everyone, touched by this crime. These are the four main players: 

  • Jimmy Seeger. Jimmy is a charismatic, smart, 18 year old high school honor student. A natural born leader, everyone says. Other students want to be just like him. He excels in football and baseball. Jimmy has a huge chip on his shoulder about immigrants coming into America and taking what is “ours” – our land, our jobs, etc. Jimmy speaks these ideas to anyone that will listen, and his charisma is such that people around him start to speak that way too and even believe that way in some instances. Jimmy dates Skylar Thompson. 
  • Sean Mayer. Jimmy’s best friend. Sean is a follower and wants to be just like Jimmy. Only 17, he is a baseball teammate of Jimmy’s. Son of one of the local members of the Board of Education, Sean has had an easier life than Jimmy, but he is still impressionable. He lives next door to Skylar. 
  • Skylar Thompson. Jimmy’s girlfriend. Skylar is a smart girl, but she’s mostly identified as Jimmy’s girlfriend after fading away into almost nothing after the death of her mother months ago. Her father buries himself in his work, in his grief, and Skylar buries herself in Jimmy. Skylar used to be a great student, smart, pretty – but now she only thinks of Jimmy constantly because to her, he saved her life.  
  • Lisa Marie Murano. Skylar’s best friend and neighbor. Lisa Marie lives across the street, I think, and has been friends with Skylar and Sean for years as they’ve always lived near each other. Lisa Marie is very concerned with her social status and less with more important issues, although she has a special place in her heart for Skylar since her mother died. Lisa Marie has an odd crush on Jimmy and this becomes obvious as the story unfolds, although it is never really outright mentioned. 
3. The Setting. Lie took place on Long Island, in a community that appeared to be middle/working class, perhaps. Not too rich, not too poor. It appeared to be a melting pot of race, from how the story reads, depending on where you are on the island. (After reading the author’s notes at the end, this story is based on a true story that occurred in or around Long Island, Brooklyn, and rural Pennsylvania several years ago.


I don’t want to break the story down much more than that, because I think to do so would be an injustice to the story. First of all, I was not familiar with this crime called beaner-hopping and had to do some research. If I understand it correctly, this is when people go out looking for a Hispanic-appearing person or immigrant to attack. This is venomous, toxic hate. That is plain and simple. And that is what happened in Lie. Jimmy Seeger had opposition to illegal immigrants in America, so he took his hate out on anyone who simply had the appearance of one every Saturday night when he went out with his friends. In Lie, one of the problems with this was 1) that Jimmy’s friends were not only begging to come along and participate, 2) but that they were also boastful about it. They were like a gang of hateful racists, and Jimmy was the leader, the natural born leader. Sean was so impressionable, such a follower, that even though he didn’t feel this way deep down in his heart, he was guilty by association and because he followed right along with Jimmy. But guilty is guilty, and he still participated, and his guilt ate him alive throughout the story. 

Skylar Thompson was a wild card from the very beginning. She had never fully adjusted to anything after the death of her mother and had no real parental support at home. All of her support, all of her love and strength – it came from Jimmy. She spent all of her time with Jimmy, and now he is being held in prison and she has no access to him. She is being told to lie for him for something she knows is absolutely 100% wrong and his fault. Still, she loves this boy and is stuck on what to do. Lie largely deals with her coming to a decision on whether or not to tell the truth. 

Sean Mayer is another wild card. He is not yet seventeen and still has a chance at a “normal life” if he confesses. He can still go to college and make something of himself, move beyond all of this. But he’s struggling with the mantra they all agreed on – “Everyone knows, nobody’s talking.” He promised Jimmy, and Jimmy is his best friend. 

It’s really tough to read Skylar and Sean struggle so much with something
that is so obviously simple to me, the reader. Tell the truth.

Then there are the other perspectives, the other points-of-view: Arturo’s mother. The high school principal. A policeman working the case. Jimmy’s father. Skylar’s father. The baseball coach. Some of these are heartbreaking and some are enraging. 

Lie is not one of those books that I hugged when I was finished. But I will say that it is really excellent and I love how it was written. It broke my heart. It fueled my righteous anger. It made me sad, so very sad. It is one that should be read and for that reason, I’m going to pass it onto one of you guys so I can guarantee that somebody will read it. 

Lie will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary
Issue Books: Hate Crimes
Multiple Points-of-View

Lie by Caroline Bock
is currently available for purchase.

**I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for my thoughts. Thank you, St. Martin’s!

Read books like this every now and then.
Be aware of what some people are going through. 


I’m giving away my PAPERBACK copy of LIE.
Please read it and talk about it, maybe share it with someone else.
This book is fiction, based on stuff that happened RIGHT HERE
in America and it is NOT OKAY.

(Open Internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


31 responses to “My Thoughts On: Lie by Caroline Bock + GIVEAWAY!

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this book with us. I think to often hate crimes are pushed aside as something that will never effect most of us. But, the reality is, they are very real and much more common and painful than most would care to admit. Thank you for talking about such an important topic.

    • I knew this book was about hate crimes when I started reading it, but I didn't expect it to affect me as strongly as it did. I think it bothered me even more because of how the non-English speaking characters were treated just because they weren't understood, like they weren't important or like their injuries or pain wasn't real or something. It just angered me so much to read it. The book is very effective in its message. So good.

  2. Wow, this book is very close to real life. Teens have to deal with this every day. I think this book is a perfect example on why not to do something stupid, and will be a very good read. 😀 Can't wait to read it. And love the cover. Mostly the hair. 😀

  3. I think the important thing about this book for you was that it made you feel. It wasn't one of those books where you close the back cover and immediately go on to the next without thinking about the first. Regardless of whether or not your feelings were positive, negative, or both, at least you felt something! It also sounds like it might have stirred up some topics for discussion! Another positive outcome.

    • Yes, definitely a positive outcome. Speaking of topics for discussion, there are some discussion questions in the back of the book and I actually sat and read through them and thought about them for awhile. You're right, this wasn't one that I put down and immediately chose my next book. I had to really think about it for awhile because I was just so angry and in shock that this was based on real crimes that happen here in my own country.

    • Hey Kris! LIE is indeed gripping and such a great, effective story. I was nervous to start it because I didn't know how it would make me feel. I don't often like the more intense books, but I liked this one because the intensity was more of a righteous anger than a wasted anger based on a non-real, made-up story. This is based on real-life hate crimes, and it just bothers me so much. So I want to make sure other people read this book if they will. I had never even heard of that Saturday night activity the boys did, the beaner-hopping. But if you google it, it's a thing that people have actually done in this country. Unbelievable.

    • Ash, this one is really good. It's a great story, and it's written in a really interesting way. I won't forget it. I'd never even heard of this before. It was really excellent, and you know these types of books aren't books like I normally seek out. I really recommend it.

  4. Wow. I am really glad you shared this book. I just finished reading Shine by Lauren Myracle, and although it sounds very different, it also shares the thread of hate and rage. I can't imagine this would be an easy book to read, but I completely agree that we should all read a book like this from time to time – a book that tells the ugly reality that we don't often think about. Excellent review!

    • Oh wow, Shine is one that I've wanted to read for the longest time but it is ALWAYS checked out of my library. Sadly enough, if I'm not mistakened, Shine is set in my home state of NC? Am I right about that?

      I agree that we need to read stuff like this from time to time. Such a great, great book and I think the author did a great job bringing light to something I would have never otherwise known about.

  5. After reading what the book was about, I honestly feel like I need to read this one. It sounds like it's got a story that would make me and any other reader think twice about issues like the ones in the book – and that's definitely a great book to me.

    • Absolutely, Alexa. That's exactly what it'll make you do. I cannot fathom the amount of hate and poison the people who committed these crimes felt and spewed, yet the author wrote it in such a way that it was easy to read and not too heavy for me. I won't forget this one. I just can't believe this happened here in America and I wouldn't have known about it were it not for LIE. Great, great book. I highly recommend it.

  6. Christina K.

    I hadn't heard of this type of crime either! It's awful! It's great YA is addressing these kinds of issues because most other literature isn't.

    Thanks for the giveaway and the great review and the choice of book for giveaway. This is the kind of book everyone should read.

    • You're right Christina! I hadn't thought about it, but YA is the place to go to address and learn about these sorts of issues. I agree that everyone should read books like this from time to time. I'm SO GLAD that I read it and I hope that at least one or two people that read this blog post will pick it up. It's such a great book about a horrible topic, but I won't forget it, and I think that was the point.

  7. This sounds like a really powerful novel. And while it's just utterly horrifying, it still is believable.

    I've been wanting to read the emotion in this novel.

    • Exactly, Vivien. Horrifying yet believable. I think you just said it better than I did in a bazillion more words than you did.

      There is a ton of emotion in this book, but I think you will feel as much or more than the characters.

  8. I hadn't heard of this one before so thanks for introducing me to it. Sounds like a powerful, gripping read! Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    • Rebecca, this isn't my go-to favorite type of book, for sure. But I read it, and I actually loved it. I loved it because I won't forget it and I loved that I learned so much from it. What I learned wasn't all great and lovely, I just feel more informed and I think that is part of the author's point.

      I'm so shocked and horrified and angry and sad. But this book is excellent and I highly recommend it if you can get your hands on a copy. It's a quick read but it packs a punch that I doubt you'll forget either.

  9. This is the first i've heard of this book, but after reading your review i'm going to have to add it to my tbr list. i like that it's short since it's an intense and gripping book, especially since you said you couldn't put it down. I also like that it's told from different perspectives because i feel like that helps me to understand even better what is really going on in the story and how it affects different characters in different ways. I feel like i could probably learn a lot from reading this book.

  10. This story sounds so intense!! I've never heard of the book before, but now I have to! I'm a little worried, because I don't really read books with crimes in it, but after your review I must read it! I can't believe it's based on true story and it really happened! It's horrible!

  11. I'm very excited for this book. The summary caught my attention let alone the cover. Wow the cover looks amazing. It almost feels like I'm there 😀

  12. Wow, so I definitely need to read this one, this thing holds a tight grip to my heart, you know?, that just because of the way I look and because of where I am from someone could jump at me and beat me up with bats or something… it's disgusting and horrifing that so many americans don't know/don't care about this, because those people trying to have a better life should be helped and not hated.

    Ugh, makes me sad and mad to even talk about this.

  13. You know, I was really not impressed with this one, TBH. I was so excited to read it, b/c it's exactly my kind of book- intense, emotional, deals with controversial/painful/tragic topics etc. etc. And while I definitely think that more people need to be reading about and aware of hate crimes, I didn't feel like this one did a very good job at all… I remember writing up a review a while ago and felt that the whole book missed the mark it was trying to hit.

    Glad that you liked it though, that it connected with some people 🙂 And I'll also say- It totally warms my heart to see you reading and enjoying so much Contemporary! 🙂

  14. Thanks for pointing this one out to me, Asheley, I don't know how I missed it! The fact that it was a Long Island read certainly piqued my interest, but the subject matter also really interests me. I haven't lived on Long Island long, but I did grow up in a community with a large Hispanic minority, where most of the local racism is aimed–so I can certainly identify with that! Also, unfortunately, I grew up in Wyoming with the Matthew Sheppard case, so I'm no stranger to hate crimes. This book seems heavy and intense, but like one that is certainly worth the read!

  15. Na

    This sounds like the sort of story where I can relate and at the same time can't. The issues are things I want to understand more and see them from different angles.

  16. I like to read books that talks about real problems and real life because you can make your mind about this situations and yes, you can make mistake, we are human, but that doesn't mean we can do everything we want. Violence and hate are the worst crimes humanity still deals with and is a really sad thing. I'm really looking forward to read this book, sounds awesomenly good!(ileana-rafflecopter)

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