ARC/Book Review: Seven Ways We Lie – Riley Redgate


Title: Seven Ways We Lie (2016)
Author: Riley Redgate
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 352 pages
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Description

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.


It’s always harder to review books I like because there’s generally less to talk about, but I will try. 😛

As many of you know, I’m not a fan of multiple/alternate perspectives and often find them lacking–but not so with this book. This book has seven main characters, all of whom have distinctive personalities, voices, thoughts, opinions and stories to tell–something that’s extremely hard to get right. Here’s a quick breakdown of the characters and their respective characteristics:

  • Olivia Scott: Hooks up with lots of men. The school thinks she’s a slut. Arguably the main character of the main characters.
  • Juniper Kipling: The seemingly untouchable ‘perfect’ girl.
  • Claire Lombardi: Envies other people a lot, particularly her best friends. Compares herself to others and is therefore never satisfied.
  • Kat Scott: Olivia’s twin sister. Anger issues. Hates people.
  • Valentine Simmons: Socially awkward. Doesn’t understand people.
  • Lucas McCallum: A sunny disposition. Comes from a poor family but was schooled where the rich kids are.
  • Matt Jackson: His parents fight a lot. Has a younger brother he’s sort of responsible for.

These characters are not necessarily bad people, but they also do not shy away from doing things that are considered ‘bad’, making them flawed, multi-layered and therefore realistic (my favourite kind!). Hearing from their perspectives helps us see why they did what they did, why they made the choice that they made, and how they deal with the fallout–and there is always, always a fallout. I genuinely love that.

It’s hard to pinpoint a favourite character since all of them are extremely special in their own ways. At most I cared for them and really wanted their problems to work out; at the very least I identified with certain parts of their personality: Olivia’s loneliness, Claire’s urge to compare herself to other people, Valentine’s occasional inability to understand why people act the way they do, Lucas’s need to appear rich and perfect and just as how others see him.

All these characters contribute to the story in their own special way, and what results is a compelling yet original account of the ups and downs of high school, seen through the eyes of seven different peopleIt’s downright engaging, and I liked how the story developed and how it ended up intertwining in the end.

From the start to the end, Seven Ways We Lie flowed organically. The most amazing thing, personally, is that none of the characters really overtook the other, and they each had space to learn from their mistakes and become a better person. I’ve never seen multiple POVs handled so skillfully and honestly, Redgate’s next book is an insta-addition to the TBR for me based on this fact alone.

I only have one issue with this book: the teacher-student romance. I won’t say too much about it to avoid spoilers, but I really think it should have been handled more harshly. The age difference may not mean anything if you’re in your thirties or even twenties, but when one of the parties involved is a teenager and the other is their teacher, there is a certain power play that could very easily lend itself to an abusive relationship. The teacher got away too easily in my opinion, and I would encourage the parents of the student in question to be more vigilant as there were some self-destructive behaviours that had nothing to do with the romance itself.

I actually hovered between a four and a five for this book, but I think it’s more of a five (I don’t do half-stars). I did have the one main issue with the book, but I think in the grand scheme of things, Seven Ways We Lie is a solid debut and really re-instilled my faith in books with more than two protagonists. It was surprisingly original, the writing flowed really well, and more importantly, it was fun. I finished this book feeling very satisfied indeed.

PS: I actually have trouble deciding which of the Seven Deadly Sins each of the character is! Anyone with more insight is very welcome to tell me. 😛

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book.

25 thoughts on “ARC/Book Review: Seven Ways We Lie – Riley Redgate

  1. I am glad you liked the book since I really enjoyed it as well!
    Do you watch Pretty Little Liars? Because I think that the teacher/student relationship was handled a lot like in the show, also from the getting-to-know phase and onwards, therefore I sort of understood why there were no harsher consequences. I am still having troubles picturing the teacher from the book, because he seemed very young too, but I could never get a grasp on his exact age.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yay! 🙂

      I don’t, actually, but I think I am iffy with teacher-student relationships in general when the student is in high school. I’m in my (early?) 20s and personally can’t imagine dating someone still in high school; we’ll be at very different life stages and I don’t know how I’ll find them ‘mature’ enough to even be attracted to them… but maybe I put too much of myself into imagining the situation, haha. Oops? 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t picture it myself either, but I’ve had a couple of friends who have had relationships with elder/younger people and sometimes it works surprisingly well, while at other times it’s just a disaster. I guess it always depends on the situation and the person, some people can be very mature for their age when they are still in HS.


        • Some people can be very mature for their age, absolutely. I also know people whose age difference with their partners ranges from 12-19 years, and those relationships are working out well, too.

          Add the age difference to the teacher-student status though and well, I suppose at the end of the day, I’m just not convinced dating your teacher is a good idea. In other books and other contexts, perhaps? 😛

          Liked by 1 person

          • I guess the reason why this teacher-student relationship didn’t bother me that much, was the fact that he wasn’t her teacher. They just happened to be at the same school, but she wasn’t in any of his classes. Because I think the fact that they have gone out for a while until they even found out about the school-thing is an important factor in the story. They didn’t meet in school, that would have been wrong too, but they met in a completely different context. Does that make sense?


  2. The teacher student relationship was handled a bit strangely but I think I was mostly because Olivia told everyone it was completely consensual and they didn’t cross any boundaries. Loved this review! 🙂


    • Thanks! And yeah, that’s a good point–I suppose it was completely consensual, but sometimes I imagine dating someone in high school right now and it just feels really off, you know? Like you’re not at the same life stage at all, and the imbalance would be really hard to get away from, personally. I’m sure it has happened before, though. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s slightly forgivable here because they didn’t know they were student and teacher when they met. I will never understand student teacher relationships! Even if he’s only a few years older, it feels…wrong 😐 Like you said, they’re at completely different stages of life. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me haha. 😛


  3. Such a great review! I’m not a fan of multiple POv either, but I was so happy that this book managed to have very distinctive voices for each of the characters. I enjoyed reading all of their stories, which rarely happens when reading from multiple perspectives. I can’t wait to read more from that author! 🙂


  4. This is the way I matched up characters with deadly sins (but the entire point of my review is that it’s unfair to label them this way, that sins are but the work of a moment, in most cases):
    Lust, Juniper
    Greed, Lucas
    Sloth, Kat
    Wrath, Olivia
    Envy, Claire
    Gluttony, Matt
    Pride, Valentine
    I would love it if you came over and argued with me, though!


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