Adi Rule writes an intriguing story about Viveca North in Why Would I Lie? Rule’s protagonist has a plan—a fool-proof, clockwork plan for success. It involves being intense and having an extreme work ethic to achieve “perfect grades, perfect extracurriculars, perfect recommendations. Then a perfect launch, an upward trajectory into the life that has always felt out of reach” (1-2). Viveca dreams of attending Everett College and majoring in psychology. Her ticket to that dream is earning status as valedictorian and winning the Pinniped County Futurists Scholarship Contest.

Currently a student at Elton Prep, a swanky private school, Viveca can’t wait to get out of Elton and on with her life.  Then, Jamison Sharpe from Los Angeles via Paris waltzes in, wafting charisma, and vies for Viveca’s crown. Will he unseat her from that top spot in the competition for valedictorian?

After Viveca catches Jamison in what might be a lie, she’s afraid the dots she connects might repeat a fiasco from junior high. Fearful about repeating that mistake, Viveca decides she’d rather be known as an over-achiever than a conspiracy theorist. Still, living with a father who concocts outrageous falsehoods, Viveca has developed a radar for lies, and she’s suspicious of Jamison, wondering if he’s her dad, levelled up. Is Jamison a “calculating devil” or a “likeable study buddy” (106)?

When she’s not focused on perfection, Viveca doodles to think. Like some people smoke, drawing gives her something to do with her hands. In fact, she’s more authentic when she talks about art and works on her comics with her best friend, Wren Beagle. Wren, who has a creative mind and a sparkling personality lives life off-the-beaten- path.

While Rule weaves her plot and her characters move through their conflicts and towards some resolution, the novel also shares insight about one’s world view. The scholarship essay topic invites us all to consider how we see the world. Is everything “conditional, precarious, and corrupt,” (90) or are we all searching for our path and purpose in an ongoing pursuit?

With Wren’s harsh assessment about her obsession with perfection, Viveca learns that people are more than what’s on paper. Although grades are important, the people we share our lives with and the memories we make surpass any numbers, rubrics, and data on a spreadsheet. In this curvy tale of surprises, the reader will learn the value of following one’s dreams without losing sight of what’s important.

  • Posted by Donna

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