Title: The Rules for Lying Author: L.A. Kelley Published: January 25th 2015 by Wildflowers Format: Paperback, 336 pages Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
I admit that I have never heard of this author before, but who could pass up a synopsis like this:
“No good will come from reading this book. The story contains theft, murder, corruption, sass talk, demons, animals committing felonies, gleefully plotted revenge, and a host of bad things happening to good people for no particular reason. It won’t encourage any good habits and probably fine tune several bad ones. The only lesson learned is you have no business being a liar unless you’re a good one. Peter Whistler is living an uneventful life at the Little Angels Home for Orphan Boys. Life in New Jersey is hard during the Great Depression, but Peter discovers an exceptional ability to lie. He hones the talent, convinced it will be the ticket to easy fortune and a life free of responsibilities. He certainly doesn’t foresee the arrival of a murderous conjurer with mysterious designs on a little blind girl named Esther. Drawn into a nefarious plot to unleash a demon, Peter leads Esther on a desperate escape from New Jersey to the Louisiana bayou. Welcome to Peter Whistler’s world where a little luck, magical lying, and a dash of Cajun crazy can steer even an ordinary orphan to an extraordinary life.”
It has taken me forever to get around to writing this review. It is not that I did not like the book, I loved it, but for most of it, the book was completely obvious. A good versus evil, that will play well with preteens and those that like a bit of dry snarky humor with their paranormal fantasy.
From the first pages, I was enthralled with the life of Peter Whistler. In 1918, a boy with no name was taken in by Mrs. Hart and given a good life. When each new child came into the Little Angels Home for Orphan Boys, Mrs. Hart worked to find them homes. Peter was different, she kept him close. He may have had run-ins with the local kids and the local law enforcement, but there was still something special about this boy. There is a loyalty between these two and that is challenged on the night that Dr. Pike arrives. With his burning eyes and mind befuddling trickery this conjurer is about to change everyone's world and it is up to Peter Whistler and his Rules for Lying to help his new family.
Rule #1: A lie on the fly will surely die. Lies must be practiced and when you fully believe what you are saying so will the receiver of this lie. This turns out to be the most important one of all. If Peter did not believe that he had to power to save Esther, a blind girl that Pike is determined to use to get past the fiery demon from hell, then all would be lost and the world would forever be at the whim of evil.
Lie #2: Lies prevail with few detail. Once again, keep it simple.
Throughout the book, the reader learns about eight rules that keep Peter and his band of misfit, from the children of society to the families that live in the bayou, from the evil clutches of Feu De L’enfer (The Fire of Hell).
There is a burgeoning story of young love that is awkward and adorable at the same time. This part will make the parents smile and touch a sensitive giggly nerve for younger readers.
As I said earlier, this book is not for everyone. You have to suspend belief - this is a young adult paranormal book and there are a few undertones that could possibly not sit well with your personal religious beliefs and you may have to explain a few things to your younger children.
Most importantly, there is humor and strength and bonding and a sense of family that carries throughout the book. You might not want to read it to younger children that might decide to come up with their own rules, but for older kids that know the difference, you could use this as a family read-a-loud to get everyone laughing and exclaiming at the same time.