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To Be Perfectly Honest: A Novel Based on an Untrue Story Hardcover – August 27, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–This coming-of-age novel in verse features Colette, a spunky, untrustworthy narrator whose schoolmates like to joke, “How can you tell/if Colette is lying?/Her mouth/is open.” Readers will root for the teen as she struggles under the shadow of her beautiful, movie-star mother whose permissive parenting style is equally neglectful. But all is not as it seems, as readers are taken on a roller coaster of truth and lies. By “reinventing reality,” Colette creates her own world because, in her words, “my actual life/sucks.” Cheeky Colette is well matched by her precocious younger brother. The siblings are forced to follow their mother “on location” to a small town where the week's main excitement is the farmers' market. In “the armpit/of the universe!” Colette meets Connor, for whom she feels a passion that she will struggle to rein in, much like her indulgence in lying. Sones captures the ache of first love. Readers may find themselves laughing, crying, and wanting to believe the unreliable, well-developed narrator. Excerpts may make for a stepping stone to William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Like Shakespeare's play, this title lends itself to discussion about healthy relationships, setting limits, defining oneself, and evaluating what is real. Fast paced and great for reluctant readers.–Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, Springfield, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Sones’ latest novel in verse is a stealthy tutorial on deception and gullibility. Fifteen-year-old Colette, who first appeared in Sones’ One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies (2004), has a penchant for lying. When she and her adoring little brother, Will, reluctantly join their actress mother on location in small San Luis Obispo, California, she is expecting a boring summer. Enter Connor, who shows up riding alongside Colette’s mother’s limo on his motorcycle. Could Colette’s lost summer be salvaged after all? Readers will be easily drawn in as Sones convincingly relates story after story before revealing that many events were skillfully fabricated by Colette. The well-crafted verse speeds along fluidly, moving readers nimbly through the courtship and the romance, until, yes, they are fooled again. Many readers will recognize their own lives as Connor dramatically beats Colette at her own game and teaches her essential life lessons about vulnerability, honesty, and self-discovery. Grades 9-12. --Gail Bush
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689876041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689876042
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #854,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Audrey on August 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book so much, I could not put it down! Love love love this book so much! The premise was interesting and hilarious at the same time. I had an amazing time and Colette is a great character. The little twist at the end was great! My heart was broken for Colette but she picked herself up and made a great choice to change for Will. Anyway, I read this book in less than 24 hours. I'm a sloooooow reader so that was really an improvement. I couldn't even put it down. I wish all books were written like this--maybe I could finish off hundreds of books within a month.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alecia <3 on May 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved it. My new favorite book. READ THIS BOOK.
(ages 14+)
There is nothng i dislike about this book. Page-turner!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MBscoobylove on April 4, 2014
Format: Audible Audio Edition
I literaly just finished this book and at first I didn't believe anything she said and anyone who has read To Be Perfectly Honest knows exactly why. :) Even the seen where she meets her dream boy over again I thought was all just a big reinventing reality seen again. Cuz we all know she just loves lying like crazy it's just what she does. :) I loved Connar until the jerk had to go and do... all that... well maybe I shouldn't say but just u wait.

I ABSOLUTLY LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!and hopefully u will too. :) :) :)
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By Beauty but a Funny Girl on September 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have a thing about unreliable narrators: I cannot get enough of them. And Colette is easily one of my favorites. Why? Because she's unreliable about being unreliable! She knows she's a big fat liar and then admits to her lies - or admits to the big ones anyway. You never know if she sneaks in a tiny lie and doesn't tell you about it because she admitted to all these other lies she told. So if she admits to the lies, what makes us think she would lie and not tell us about them. She's crafty. Maybe she admits to the big lies so she can sneak in little ones and we would be none the wiser.

I'm sorry. Did your head just explode?

Instead of spending the summer in Paris with friends as planned, her mother, a famous movie star, takes both her and her brother to a small town while she shoots her new movie. Facing a summer of boredom and babysitting Will, they soon meet Connor (a motorcycle-riding tiger-stripped-hair hunk of man meat) who might just make the summer bearable.

Honestly (ha!), I love Colette. I mean, I wouldn't want be her friend, but as a character I love her to pieces. She adores her younger brother, who has the cutest lisp ever and is far too observant for his young age, but also has that naivete about her that comes with adolescence and young love. She lies for the sake of lying, is proud of the lies she tells, and it doesn't seem to phase her when she does it. However, while perhaps not on such a grand scale, who among us hasn't lied about trivial things when we were teenagers?

Sonya did an amazing job with the verse poetry. Each poem flows into the other perfectly and you don't notice that you're reading verse. Even the formatting and stanzas contribute to the feel of the story.
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Format: Paperback
Colette doesn't know who her dad is, nor does her little brother Will. Their mother is a movie star who has a habit of falling for her co-star, getting completely wrapped up in them and then dumping the guy when filming is over. It's no wonder Colette has learned to lie when telling the truth would serve her better. In fact, she's not always able to tell where truth ends and lies begin.
When Mom cancels the trip to Paris she's been pumped about for months, a trip that's supposed to be an awesome time with her three best friends, and instead drags her and Will off to San Luis Obispo where her new film is being shot, Colette is seriously bummed. She knows she'll get stuck babysitting Will while Mom jumps into another affair and constantly breaks her promises. Colette loves her little brother who has an adorable lisp because of teeth he recently lost, but but the fact remains that she's been shafted and her three friends blame her for the cancellation.
Mom decides to drive there in her Prius as a sort of bonding/environmental statement. Colette's zoned out until this amazing guy on a motorcycle pulls along side the car and stares into her eyes. Her imagination goes into overdrive and she begins to fantasize that the mystery guy on the bike has connected with her in some mystical way.
When Connor, the mysterious bike rider, reappears at the hotel where Colette is staying, she's thrilled, but is certain he'll dump her in a heartbeat if he knows she's only fifteen and who her mom really is. This results in both Colette and Will cranking up the lie machine which sets them and Connor on a wild ride where everyone is lying so much and so often that the truth doesn't stand a chance until the very end of the story.
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By Lisa on September 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
3.5 stars!

When I first requested this book for review, I had no idea that it was written in verse. I'd never read a book written in verse, nor did I even know what it was. I'm still not exactly sure. And maybe that's because this book reads almost exactly like a normal book. I probably wouldn't have even known it was written in verse if I hadn't seen reviews mentioning it. I would have just assumed the ebook formatting was off, which happens often with eARCs, and I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it.

This story was quick and straight to the point. I really like that in a book. I flew right through To Be Perfectly Honest, never once feeling a lull or boring spot. It was a quick read that definitely had me thinking. Some good thoughts, some bad.

Let me start at the beginning. The extent of lying in this book, especially in the very beginning, really started to get on my nerves. I know that's the point of the story, which later all made sense to me, but in the beginning I was constantly frustrated that she would stop mid-sentence and tell us it was all a lie, and it didn't happen that way. At one point I wanted to smack the girl. Buuuuuut, I got over it. ;)

Something that really rubbed me the wrong way the entire story was the fact that Colette was only 15 years old. My niece is 16, and if she EVER did half of the stuff Colette did, I would have a hissy fit (to put it nicely). Maybe I'm aging myself now. Maybe this is totally normal behavior for a 15-year-old girl nowadays. But when I was 15, it wasn't like that.

I did enjoy the characters, especially Colette's little wise-beyond-his-years brother, Will. His little lisp definitely added to his charm. Colette's movie star mother, Marissa Shawn, was fun too...
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