February 21, 2018

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The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew | SLJ Review

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redstarMAYHEW, Julie. The Big Lie. 352p. Candlewick. Nov. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763691257.

Gr 10 Up –Imagine a world in which the iron fist of the Third Reich clamped over England and never let go. Jess enjoys her strict routine—classes, ice-skating, classes again, and home to her government-favored father. Only when her neighbor and friend Clementine begins to show uncomfortable signs of sedition does Jess begin to question things. Why does their house get raided in the middle of the night? Why is it acceptable for some people to have better goods and services if they are all supposed to be equal? In this alt-history novel, Mayhew explores the very unnerving scenario of a world in which the Nazi regime is still in power and thriving—and why. Aside from normal teenage issues, Mayhew grapples with how homosexuality is presented and dealt with in this fictional—but frighteningly factual—story. When Clementine gives a hard sacrifice to attain freedom, Jess’s rose-colored glasses finally break. How can she reconcile her entire upbringing with what she saw and the aftermath? Terrifying and eerily timely, this is a difficult read—emotionally—for mature readers. VERDICT An excellent choice for most YA shelves.–Amanda C. Buschmann, Carroll Elementary School, Houston

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.

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