Review of young adult novel The Finest Lies by David J. Naiman
2021 Best Teen Book Award Finalist Indies Today
High schooler Nicole Hallett has just about had it with her brother Jay, so when a mysterious man appears with an offer to replace him with a better one, she doesn’t hesitate. Nicole has always been impulsive, but this time, she finds herself in a predicament far worse than anything she’s experienced. Just like that, an average snow day—usually filled with hot cocoa and snowball fights—is commandeered by the stranger, who forces the siblings into a dangerous game.
Confronted by past reflections, tested by present complications, and threatened by future possibilities, Nicole has until the end of the day to disentangle the riddle of her life.
This suspenseful, yet winsome novel by award-winning author David J. Naiman explores the power of family and forgiveness. But take heed. The truth can cut like shards of glass, especially for those who’d rather avoid it. Sometimes, only the finest lies will do.
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Excerpt from The Finest Lies
Maybe I should call, Nicole thought. A brand new brother sounds perfect.
“That’s it. New and improved! Call now.”
Nicole smiled, sensing a personal connection as though this commercial spoke directly to her. She cradled her phone in her hands. A fingertip flicked across the screen without her even needing to concentrate. Her phone had long ago become an appendage, as integral as a foot or a kidney.
After Nicole entered the number, her finger hovered above the dial icon. Something held her back, but she couldn’t imagine what it could be. She might have guessed self-preservation had she any means to gauge the lurking danger. Had she any inkling her impetuous nature would fix her on a chaotic course beyond her control.
She did want a new brother. As long as he wasn’t like Jay, who always said things to upset her and never did what she wanted him to do. She thrust aside her unease and tapped the icon. Instead of a ring, Nicole heard more of a choking sound, a gasp as if someone strangled.
“Hello, Nicole. Are you ready to change your life?”
The voice on her phone was identical to the voice-over in the commercial. Nicole figured this guy must own the company or something. “Maybe,” she said. The man on the TV screen stared at her while she spoke. Nicole leaned to the left and right, and the man’s face tracked her each time. She hesitated. “How much does it cost?”
My Review of The Finest Lies
Loved this so much. Starting with this statement because it’s true. I’m an only child, but I’ve watched enough of my friends who have siblings go from loving them to wanting to murder them in their sleep enough to get the relationships this book examines, and it was just beautifully done. This is for the YA crowd, but it didn’t shy from some big questions and serious topics, but everything was handled in an age-appropriate way and with grace. I really just had so many feelings reading this.
I saw a lot of teenage me in Nicole. At the same time, I saw a lot of other teenagers I disliked (okay, back then, hated) in Nicole. She is complex and struggles to figure herself out. She embodies the teen years, and I loved watching her transformation as she was forced and chose to see her past from multiple angles. Wouldn’t we all be better people if we could see the events that led up to the critical moments in our lives from all perspectives? The symmetry between Jay and Nicole’s stories brought everything together, and I won’t spoil the ending, but it was just perfect.
So much going on in here, and I can’t possibly touch on it all in a brief review. I wouldn’t want to, anyway. It was so good—just go read it and find out for yourself. 5 stars. Recommend.
About David J. Naiman
David J. Naiman is a best-selling independent author of award-winning books for children, teens, and adults including The Finest Lies and Jake, Lucid Dreamer, first place winner of the Purple Dragonfly Book Award and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in pre-teen fiction and Didn’t Get Frazzled, humorous medical fiction written under the pen name David Z Hirsch. He is also a successful physician specializing in internal medicine and an unsuccessful speller specializing in vowels that sound identical to other vowels. He lives with his wife and two children in Maryland.
David J. Naiman will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.