In this gripping YA novel about social media bullying and half-truths, one girl’s discovery of a dead baby in her high school locker room rocks an entire community.
Nobody in Beckett’s life seems to be telling the whole story. Her boyfriend Jake keeps hiding texts and might be cheating on her. Her father lied about losing his job before his shocking death. And everyone in school seems to be whispering about her and her family behind her back.
But none of that compares to the day Beckett finds the body of a newborn baby in a gym bag-Jake’s gym bag -on the floor of her high school locker room. As word leaks out, rumors that Beckett’s the mother take off like wildfire in a town all too ready to believe the worst of her. And as the police investigation unfolds, she discovers that everyone has a secret to hide and the truth could alter everything she thought she knew.
Title: Every Single Lie
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Realistic Fiction
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never really came to that realization. I’ve been writing stories literally since I could hold a pencil. Since I was five years old. I went through high school thinking I’d either become an editor or an English teacher, and that if I taught, I’d write books during my summer breaks. I did teach for a short while after college, but I didn’t finish my first novel until I was around twenty-six, staying home with two kids and babysitting my infant nephew. I wrote three novels in ten months before it occurred to me to try to sell one. So, I’ve always been a writer, but it didn’t really occur to me that writing could be my job until I was in my late twenties.
Do you have any writing advice for prospective writers?
Advice is always going to be a “your milage may vary” kind of situation. Different things work for different people. Simplistically put, I believe that in any story, there are the things that happen (the A-to-B plot points) and the way they feel. The way they make the reader feel. That first part is relatively easy, once you’ve got plot and motivation down. It’s making sure that the events feel right that’s the hard part. So, as I go over what I’ve written (over, and over, and over) I ask myself if I’ve struck the right tone. Does my word choice convey the right mood? Does my dialogue feel authentic? Have I dug deeply enough into the emotion of the moment? If not, I take a break, then I reassess when I feel fresh. That’s the part that can’t be rushed. If you don’t take the time to gain some distance from your own words, you won’t be able to see the proverbial forest for the trees.
Why did you decide to share the story of Beckett in “Every Single Lie”?
A friend of mine gave me some advice. She said I should write a story I have a personal connection to, but I resisted that idea. I spent literally years believing that nothing interesting had ever happened to me. Nothing anyone would want to read about, anyway, because I didn’t grow up rich, or even middle class. I never had a family vacation as a kid. I never even had a birthday party until a friend threw one for my 18th. I was also worried that if I wrote about the things that shaped my youth, I’d be hurting my family. Finally, I realized that I have every right to write about the experiences that formed me as a person, and that someone might actually want to hear about them. Beckett’s story isn’t my story, but it did grow out of my experiences.
What do you most want your readers to learn or get out of “Every Single Lie”?
That’s a tough one. I didn’t write it as any sort of object lesson, and I still don’t think of it as one. I think the thing that’s most important for me, in the book, is the realization that we are not responsible for other people’s decisions. Not our parents’. Not our siblings’. Not our friends’. We can be there for them, but we can’t run their lives.
The other big one is Beckett’s sense of disillusionment. The realization, which begins for her before the book even starts, that our parents make mistakes. Big ones, sometimes. That the people responsible for guiding us through life are often having trouble keeping their own lives on track. That can make everything feel chaotic and unstable, which is scary when you’re a kid. When so much of what happens to you is already beyond your control. Beckett’s way of dealing with that is to try to wrestle control of the investigation. To take back the narrative of her own life and clear her name. We all deal with that kind of chaos and grief differently. I’m not sure it’s even possible to get it right, but we all have to try.
Was this a challenging book to write or did the story come easily to you?
Both? The seed of the story comes from a rumor that circulated when I was in high school, and it bloomed pretty logically into a fictionalized version. But digging deep into topics like addiction and grief was difficult. As it should be. Getting out of my own way and letting Beckett tell her story turned out to be the key.
Can you tell us anything about your next project? What should we expect?
My next release is RED WOLF, coming in July, 2021. It’s part Little Red Riding Hood retelling, part Big Bad Wolf origin story, all girl-power monster-hunting. While it’s paranormal, full of action, and dark in a different way than EVERY SINGLE LIE, Adele, the heroine, faces a similar emotional challenge as Beckett, as she struggles to exert control over her own life and…unpack her grief over her father’s tragic and horrific death.
Hmm… I hadn’t realized I’d written a recurring theme until just now, and I honestly have no idea where it came from. My dad is alive and well, and living in Dallas. 😉
About the Author
Rachel Vincent is the New York Times bestselling author of several pulse-pounding series for teens and adults. A former English teacher and a champion of the serial comma, Rachel has written more than twenty novels and remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy. Rachel shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her number one fan from the start. You can find out more about Rachel on her website www.rachelvincent.com or by following her on Twitter @rachelkvincent.