This review is spoiler free.
“I’ll see you around, right?”
Troy responded with a smile. and then he said, “Look for me.”
Published: 2018, by Weapenry Co-Op.
Format: eBook/ARC from Netgalley
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Crime, LGBT, Romance
Contains: Death, Mentions of suicide, Murder, Violence, Anger, Drugs/Alcohol, Strong Language, Homophobia, Blood/Gore, Bullying
I received a copy of this book from Weapenry Co-Op through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
‘School Lies’ follows the events of Levi Abrams life after the sudden death of his father. After finding him slumped over his desk from a gunshot wound, Levi is more than ready to leave Hulbert behind and move on with his life. Troy Byrne thinks similarly, yet the sudden disappearance of his sister is forcing him to return to the halls of Hulbert three years after his expulsion. Levi and Troy have a long history, yet they agree to ignore it to get what they want, if only their feelings could remain in the past, also.
I first requested this book on Netgalley a while back, yet after receiving it things kept preventing me from starting it; university, newer books, other outside priorities. I was starting to believe it was something of a bad omen. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Levi Abrams life takes a sudden turn for the worse as his father supposedly commits suicide in his office as Headmaster of Hulbert’s. However, Levi begins to suspect otherwise and researches further into his death. Levi is a character with depth; there’s so many layers of emotional anguish to him that you can’t help but find him painstakingly real. From a neglectful home, he tries to find refuge at the boarding school, yet events lead him to only become more secluded. The level of homophobia that surrounds this character weighs him down, leading him to live a turmoil life of secrecy. I loved this about his character, the realness of his actions and beliefs from past events makes us empathise and relate to him in so many ways; nothing he did seemed unprovoked.
Troy’s character was similar. Although, his personality differed from Levi in many ways, their troubled pasts combined filled the books with relatability and authenticity. Their interactions between another were a joy to read, especially towards the ending of the novel, while the journey to unearthing the truth of their families gripped us on every page.
However, the secondary characters were a little difficult to grasp. I found myself questioning myself on characters when their names cropped up at times, which ruined the sudden dramatics at the finale of the novel as the mystery was resolved.
The story itself is fairly slow paced, yet with a plot this size and the large amount of characters its understandable. The level of depth and romance between the protagonists was more than enough to satisfy me.
Overall, this book has everything that could be asked of a YA Mystery novel; sharp twists, pop culture references and angsty teens, all with a thought provoking purpose.