Read Between the Lies

Publisher: Zephyr Books

Teenagers Tommy and Ryan are going to be stepbrothers – a prospect about which neither boy is exactly enamoured.

Fresh out of a spell in a young offenders’ unit, tough-talking Tommy just wants to keep his head down now and avoid another. Ryan, on the other hand, is bored with playing the quiet, piano-playing A-grade student, and eager to change people’s perceptions of him.

Thrown together when their parents move in together, the one thing both boys can agree on is that they have nothing in common. But each starts to realise that the other may in fact be able to serve a useful purpose. Not everything is quite as it seems, however, and they will ultimately discover that they have more –  far more – in common than they could have imagined.

With chapters alternately narrated by Ryan and Tommy, this is a clever and absorbing book that builds slowly and works on so many levels. It’s about adjusting to life in a blended family, coping with challenges, navigating change and hiding pretty big secrets. It also carries a powerful message about managing one’s mistakes and learning to handle difficult truths. Dyslexia is a key theme and yet it’s one that complements the plot rather than dominating it, casually illustrating both the impact that the right support and strategies can have, as well as the sheer agony of trying to hide one’s reading difficulties.

Well-paced and highly engaging, readers will be surprised by more than one satisfying twist.

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