In Courtney C. Stevens’ latest young adult novel The Lies About Truth, Sadie is dealing with the aftermath of a car accident that killed her best friend Trent and left her physically scarred. She has become a recluse since the accident, with her sole human interactions (outside of her home) being brief visits to Metal Pete’s salvage yard and emails to Trent’s younger brother Max, whose family moved away after he died. She avoids her former friend Gina and her ex-boyfriend Gray, who were involved in the car accident and later cheated together as Sadie began to withdraw from the world.
This is a melancholy and bittersweet book that focuses on the way Sadie emerges from her shell of grief and trauma (both physical and not). Sadie feels monstrous due to her scars, and is reluctant to venture out. Sadie’s parents have finally decided to nudge Sadie out into the world again, and the story takes place in the summer before Sadie has to return to high school. Sadie has her own personal goals that range from driving for the first time since the accident, to experiencing kissing without worrying about her scars, to forgiving Gray and Gina.
Interspersed with the present are the emails that she has sent to Max over the past year. Throughout the book, Sadie tries to figure out who is sending her mysterious privacy-invading notes that reveal slices of their group’s past friendship, with each note featuring a different reminder of Trent, who was the nucleus of their friend family. While the big secrets didn’t feel quite so dramatic as we were led to believe, this is a quiet book that chronicles Sadie’s transition out of trauma in a convincing way.