The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew

The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew

Published November 14, 2017 by Candlewick Press

Genres YA, Dystopian

Pages 352

Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

Nazi England, 2014. Jessika Keller is a good girl — a champion ice skater, model student of the Bund Deutscher Madel, and dutiful daughter of the Greater German Reich. Her best friend, Clementine, is not so submissive. Passionately different, Clem is outspoken, dangerous, and radical. And the regime has noticed. Jess cannot keep both her perfect life and her dearest friend, her first love. But which can she live without? Haunting, intricate, and unforgettable, The Big Lie unflinchingly interrogates perceptions of revolution, feminism, sexuality, and protest. Back matter includes historical notes from the author discussing her reasons for writing an “alt-history” story and the power of speculative fiction.

This book’s synopsis caught my attention because I read a lot of both historical fiction and history about World War II, particularly the Nazi’s and the Holocaust. This book imagines a dystopian world where the Germany actually won World War II. The main character, Jessika Keller, is living in England, which is under German control and the book is told from her perspective. Jessika has always been a good girl and followed all the rules, staying loyal to the Fuhrer and not causing any problems. However, as she starts to develop feelings for Clementine, who is much more outspoken against the Fuhrer. Jessika has to decide what to do, knowing her actions wil

I always enjoy a good dystopian and this imagined world is very intense, especially reading about Nazi control in 2014. I don’t want to give away any spoilers about the book, but there are some things that really stuck out to me. As I mentioned, I read a lot of nonfiction about World War II and some of the things in this book sound so much like things I have previously read. There is one part in the book where Jessika is taken to the doctor by her mother so she can have what she calls Jessika’s “blip” fixed. Blip referring to the fact that Jessika is attracted to another female and her mother is convinced that hormones will correct this “blip.” The doctor also reassures her Jessika and her mother that her attractions and feelings are caused by a hormone imbalance and begins injecting her with hormones every week. The book also contains so much Nazi propaganda, it was difficult to imagine an alternative history where this is what happened. The book deals with a lot of topics including sexism, freedom, sexuality and loyalty. There were parts of the book that also reminded me of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood. It was definitely one of the most interesting dystopian novels I have read in quite a while and deals with a very difficult alternative history.

Thank you to the publisher, Candlewick Press, for sending me an ARC of this book.

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