Seven Ways We Lie Review: High School at its Best and Worst

July 29, 2016 by Jenna | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Seven Ways We Lie Review: High School at its Best and WorstSeven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
Published by Harry N. Abrams on March 8th 2016
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

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—from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage, to 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 seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

The finest contemporaries are realistic and Seven Ways We Lie was just that. Set in a high school in a small town, this novel is a very realistic exploration of the teenage mind and the issues that high schoolers deal with. The story begins with a rumour of a student-teacher relationship but the book is about much more than that. Rather than focusing on the student-teacher relationship and the mystery of who it might be, the novel uses it as a platform to explore other issues.

It’s not a mystery who the student and teacher are. In fact, from about page 50, it was obvious who the student was and it took very little guessing to determine who the teacher involved in the romantic relationship was. But it’s not supposed to be about the mystery. It’s about how the students, in particular the seven protagonists of the story, react to the rumours and how they behave towards themselves and those around them while this event is taking place. Each of the protagonists in the novel represents one of the seven deadly sins and I love how these character flaws were incorporated into the story. It was done in such a relatable and realistic way that it didn’t feel overly dramatic or forced. These characters have very real and human issues and it was nice to be able to relate to them because I know that I definitely deal with or have dealt with some of the problems that they’re having in the book.

Even though Seven Ways We Lie has seven POVs, I felt that it was done quite successfully. I didn’t feel like I was jumping around too much and every single perspective was necessary and made sense. I did struggle a little bit at the start because I felt like all of the character voices sounded very similar. It took a while to get used to all the perspectives and to distinguish them but when I figured it out, it was wonderful. What I found a little bit strange was that one perspective was written in verse, while the other six were in prose. And as beautiful as the poetry was, I didn’t really understand why it was included. That aside, my main issue with the writing was the dialogue. At times, it came across as a bit unnatural and fake. I couldn’t really imagine two people having a conversation and saying the things that they did. But as I progressed through the book, I became so engrossed by the story itself that I stopped noticing the dialogue.

Hearts fit together like hands.
Not by necessity.
By choice.

This is a very character-driven book and I enjoyed most of the characters in the book. There were standouts like Lucas and Valentine but I also really liked the other characters too. I had some issues with them at the start but they definitely grew on me and by the end of the book, I was completely rooting for them. There was such great diversity among the seven protagonists. We have a pansexual character, a character who has Asperger’s, a half-Mexican character and a character with suspected depression. It was great to see all these different things given so much attention in the book. All the characters had wonderful development and it was beautiful to see them either overcome their issues or learn to ignore them. The only character who I absolutely hated was Claire. She was just such a terrible friend and human being and did things that made me feel so sad for the people around her. Even though I liked her character growth in the novel, I still really dislike her.


While it did take me a while to get into Seven Ways We Lie, when I eventually did, it was a joy to read. It was so relatable and the characters were likeable for the most part. I enjoyed the writing and thought that the multiple perspectives were handled very well. This is probably the most realistic contemporary novel with a high school setting that I’ve ever read.

Rating: 4 out of 5



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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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23 responses to “Seven Ways We Lie Review: High School at its Best and Worst

  1. Oh man, I can never do any books with the teacher/student relationships, but it definitely sounds like it was done really well in this case, even though it was predictrable. It's great to hear that the different point of views are done really well! Thanks for the review Jenna.

    • Yeah I don't really like teacher/student relationships either. The few that I've read have been really mediocre. This one was great because it wasn't the focus of the book!

  2. The diversity in this book is amazing! I loved all the characters in this book (except one, for reasons I will not mention) and this made the multiple perspectives even more successful. I hope you can get your hands on this one because it was wonderful!

  3. Totally agree with you! I really enjoyed the characters in this book (Lucas and Valentine were also my favorites!) and I HATED Claire- she was the worst! The diversity was wonderful- and like you said, I guessed who was who early on also, but it didn't make any difference at all! Great review 🙂

    • Lucas and Valentine together was amazing! I loved their friendship and how they stood up for each other. It was wonderful to see Valentine come out of his shell and make friends. I'm keen to read more from this author!

  4. I'm really glad you liked this one Jenna! It's been on my TBR for ages, so I definitely have to pick it up soon. I also really like the fact that each character is based on the seven deadly sins. That's pretty cool, and leaves room for lots of characterizations!

    • I think this is a contemporary that you might like, Aila! It's got a pretty realistic high school setting, lots of diversity and hopefully nothing that will make your eye twitch HAHA.

  5. keionda

    I AM OBSESSED with the sound of this book! <3 I like the idea that all of the 7 deadly sins are used in this book. 🙂 I've seen other books do the same thing but this one sounds SO FREAKING EPICAL. I'm intruiged to see how all of it plays out with the teacher/student relationship. It sounds like a world full of drama and trouble.


    • Haha the student-teacher relationship was actually a pretty minor part of the book but it was done pretty tastefully. All of the seven perspectives were great and the concept of the deadly sins was wonderful. It was done very subtly and I loved it!

    • That's awesome! I knew what pansexuality was but this book definitely gave me a lot more insight on it. I just really enjoyed the diversity of the characters and thought it was a beautiful character-driven story!

    • Thanks Joy! I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did since the beginning was a bit of a hurdle for me. But I thought it was a realistic story and I enjoyed the concept a lot.

    • The concept of the book is definitely great. It was also subtle and at times it was hard to tell which character represented which deadly sin, which I thought was really great. There's nothing worse than a book that's over the top like "Look here! I'm wrath!"

    • Omg if I had a friend like Claire…. I really hope I don't have a friend like Claire. What she did was so horrible and hurtful and it was so nice of the other characters to accept her back into the group because I wouldn't have done that.

  6. Nick

    This sounds so lovely, Jenna. I've seen it around, but it didn't catch my attention. It sounds amazing and I especially love the sound of the character development. I'll admit that my eyes went wide when I saw it had 7 POVs but the fact that they are handled well makes it very appealing. I'll have to read this one for sure.
    Wonderful review, Jenna!
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    • I noticed it when it was first released but I never really read any reviews because of the multiple perspectives. But then it was recommended to me at a book club so I decided to pick it up. I actually think that the 7 POVs are actually what make this book really good because it's a character driven story. Definitely one to pick up if you want a good high school contemporary!

  7. This book sounds like such a lovely diverse book! I'm glad it covers the pov from such a wide range of characters. 7 perspectives is a lot to pull off but it sounds like it was done well! Lovely review Jenna.

    • I was a little skeptical of the 7 POVs at the start but it definitely worked. I did find the voices to be a bit too similar though. It wasn't really until I got to know the characters better that they stopped being the same person for me 😀

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