If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

Why does the teaser on the back of this book give away key plot developments? Because this YA thriller is suspenseful and fun to read. It doesn’t need a quoted passage from the next-to-the-last chapter printed on the back cover and spoiling the surprises. Bad move on the part of whoever designed the cover.

So don’t read the back cover, but do read the book. Caroline Cooney specializes in Young Adult mystery/thrillers. Her books contain low to nonexistent blood, sex, and gore, lots of tension and excitement, intriguing family dynamics, and good, believable characters. If the Witness Lied has all of the above, and in addition there are some thought-provoking discussions of religion, God, and ethics that I thought were well integrated into the story and not didactic at all.

First lines: “The good thing about Friday is—it’s not Thursday. Jack Fountain lived through Thursday, and nothing bad happened: no cameras, no microphones.”

As the story unfolds we learn that Jack has good reason to fear microphones and cameras and the particular Thursday in question, the anniversary of his dad’s birthday. Jack has two sisters, and they, too, are media-shy and not sure what to do about their dad’s birthday. The remainder of If the Witness Lied tells why.

Blog reviews:
Sarah at The Reading Zone:If the Witness Lied is a thriller through and through! I started the book on Friday afternoon and didn’t put it down until I finished it on Friday night. What a thrilling read! At times, I felt like I was reading a newspaper article because it felt so realistic. Certain touches, like the introduction of a sleazy reality show producer, make this book stand out.”

Reading Junky’s Reading Roost: “Could it be that the one witness of the horrible event may have lied? Could that witness actually be a murderer, and how can three teens and one toddler prove it?”

Liz at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy: “While on the surface an attack on reality TV and those who see themselves as only existing via television, this is actually a heartbreaking look at grief and the destruction of a family.”

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