This Story Is a Lie by Tom Pollock | SLJ Review

Gr 9 Up –Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is a math prodigy. Math permeates everything in his life, including helping him deal with his almost-daily panic attacks.

redstarPOLLOCK, Tom. This Story Is a Lie. 336p. Soho Teen. Aug. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781616959111. POP

Gr 9 Up –Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is a math prodigy. Math permeates everything in his life, including helping him deal with his almost-daily panic attacks. Peter survives largely with the support of his brilliant scientist mother; his twin sister, Bel; and his best friend Ingrid. When Peter watches an assassination attempt on his mother and her subsequent kidnapping, and then Bel disappears, a colossal panic attack strikes him down. He is swept up into a shady government conspiracy that revolves around his mom and Bel (and, bizarrely, Ingrid). None of them are anywhere near the people Peter thinks them to be. Whirlwind adventures across the country change Peter’s perceptions of his family, his past, and who he actually is. Gripping, dazzling, and pulse-pounding, Pollock’s YA debut is a thrill from the first page to the last. Peter is supremely amiable; a kid who just wants to be liked and understood and “normal” is painfully hiding behind all of the advanced math and nervousness and panic episodes. Credit should go to Pollock for making all of the hyper-advanced math reader-friendly as well. The final twist is well disguised and truly revelatory. An abrupt, ambiguous conclusion will frustrate some, intrigue others, and have many teens fiercely debating what really happened ­VERDICT A fast-paced STEM thriller, and a worthy choice for YA shelves.–Tyler Hixson, Brooklyn Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2018 issue.

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