A week or so after finishing If I Lie I still can't feel more or less for it. This is hard because I so badly want to feel more for it due to several reasons. For one, I knew this book would be harder for me to understand than many others. Unlike many other countries, and especially America as this book plays out in, my own home country, Sweden, our military isn't exactly like America's. With that I mean that we don't have as many soldiers in the middle of wars like we hear of other countries. That said, I don't know – can't even fathom – what it's like to have someone you love dearly hundreds of miles away where he/she might be killed in this very moment.
If I Lie follows Quinn while she is portrayed as the town slut, has lost all her friends and family, and is keeping one major secret for her ex-boyfriend Carey who is a soldier shipped over seas and has gone MIA. All of these things are a bit out of my reach to understand the joining emotions behind it. While the author does a great job showing this through the narrative of Quinn, it's just out of my reach to truly connect to the character. Therefore this book is one of those it's not you, it's me.
Had this book solely focused on the soldier shipped over seas part and Quinn processing it, the book would've fallen in rating for me, again, because of me, not the book! However, there are many more elements making Quinn's story worth following. The relationship between her and her strict military father is something I've never seen quite this well handled before – especially not by a debut author! After it's public that Quinn kissed another boy while still together with Carey her father and she barely speak, must less listen to the other. The journey through the book and both their transformation as new facts unfold is definitely worth upping the rating a star alone. Plus the interaction with her mother coming back to town after abandoning them. I'd say this book is more about Quinn's relationship to the town than anything military topic.
Another thing the author did awfully good was the romance. In a way it's both heavy and light due to certain events and how it's tied to Carey and Quinn's relationship. The best thing with it is that it's not the main focus. It's there, it's not very prominent or insta as so many other romances. I can't say much more than that and not spoil it, but I honestly enjoyed it.
If I had to say anything negative about this work, it's that I felt some of the scenes were jumped between too quickly and that it could've had a bit more information after the ending. The first thing is due to some of the events felt unfinished, but not necessarily in a bad way. Just that way when you wish for more. Second thing, the ending, was that, for me, the story should've followed Quinn just a little while longer to see how she and others react when secrets are spilled. But, overall, a great debut. I'll definitely look into other work of this author!