Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney
Jack Fountain knows that what’s happened to his family sounds like the most horrible soap opera anyone could ever write. But it happened—to Jack; his parents; his sisters, Smithy and Madison. And to his baby brother, Tris. What made it worse was that the media wanted to know every detail.

Now it’s almost Tris’s third birthday, and everything’s starting again. Aunt Cheryl, who’s living with the Fountain children now that their parents are gone, has decided that they will heal only if they work through their pain—on camera. The very identities they’ve created for themselves are called into question. In less than twenty-four hours their fate will change yet again, but this time they vow to not be exploited and to discover the truth.

In this gripping thriller, Caroline B. Cooney details how love, devotion, and forgiveness make resilience—and recovery—possible.


If the Witness Lied was a thrilling and original novel by one of my favorite authors. While this isn’t my favorite novel by Caroline (that would be The Face on the Milk Carton) I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

After losing both their parents, Jack, Madison, and Smithy Fountain have grown apart. Jack is living at home with his horrid “Aunt” Cheryl and younger brother, Tris (who was blamed for both of their parents’ deaths and is only two). I think Jack was my favorite of the siblings. He stayed strong and brave throughout the ordeal and never let anything happen to Tris. The press was such a bother to the Fountain Family and I understood their annoyance with them. Nothing about their life was private anymore, and the worst thing was the press was trying to make baby Tris seem like a monster killer, when neither death was really his fault.

Madison and Smithy were also good characters, but I felt like they shouldn’t have been so quick to abandon their brothers. Madison is insightful and she uncovered a lot of clues that proved especially useful. When Cheryl decides to have a docudrama filmed starring herself and the Fountain children, Jack, Madison, and Smithy know they need to stop her. Tris had been through enough, they want to keep him safe and out of the spotlight.

Once all the children are together again, they start to uncover some sickening details about their father’s death and the title of the novel is brought into play: did the witness lie?

The novel was just over 200 pages, so it moved rapidly and I was able to finish it over the course of a few hours. By the middle of If the Witness Lied, I was having a hard time putting it down. What was going to happen to the Fountain children? Would the mystery be solved?

I definitely recommend this to both male and female readers. It is a fast paced and intriguing look at how one person can affect the lives of so many others. While it had it’s flaws, I still enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading more of Caroline’s novels in the future!

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

May 12, 2009/Delacorte Books for Young Readers/224 Pages/Young Adult

Source: Publicist (Hardcover)

1 comment:

  1. I loved If the Witness lied, and i am doing it for a book talk. i still need to find out where jack, tris, and cheryl lived, and what school jack went to. do you have any idea?


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