The Boy Who Lied by Kim Slater

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The Boy Who Lied by Kim Slater

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Ed is the boy who cried wolf so many times that nobody believes a word he says. So how will he convince everyone that he is telling the truth about his missing little brother. Page-turning thriller combined with empathetic exploration of poverty in contemporary Britain.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: May 2018
Publisher: Macmillan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1509842308

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None of them believed me. Nobody believed I really couldn't remember what happened to my brother. I wanted to scream at them to listen. Because, for the first time in a long, long time, I was actually telling the truth.

Ed Clayton is a teller of tall stories. He just can't help it - even though he knows and everybody else knows that most of what comes out of his mouth is complete fantasy. It all started when Ed's father was accused of fraud and sent to prison. Then mum's mental health went to pieces. Then, with nobody bringing money into the house, poverty - real, grinding, poverty - set in and life became all about scratching about for pennies and visiting the food bank. All of this is horribly shaming, so is it any wonder that Ed has become a bit of a Billy Liar, hiding the truth of his home life in the hopes the power of imagination can make it all disappear?

The Boy Who Lied opens when Ed's brother, Sam, goes missing. One minute Ed and Sam are at the park and Sam is talking to someone hiding in the bushes. Ed falls and hits his head and when he comes round, Sam is gone. And nobody believes Ed when he says he can't remember what happens. Nobody, that is, except for new neighbour Fallon. As the police investigation stalls and as press interest hangs Ed's family out to dry, Fallon and Ed conduct their own investigation. And begin to unravel some dark secrets...

This story combines a genuinely gripping thriller with an exploration of poverty in contemporary Britain. Slater covers a lot - from the awful behaviour of sensationalist tabloid reporters through the shame of attending food banks to Ed's reaction to the traumatic events that have brought his family low. But she never neglects the tension of the mystery narrative - where is Sam? Why was he abducted? And is Dad, languishing in prison, really guilty of the crime for which he was sentenced?

I read The Boy Who Lied in one rather breathless sitting. It's a fast-paced mystery with plenty of twists and turns but it's also a heartfelt and powerful piece of social commentary. I thought it was great.


The Harder They Fall by Bali Rai also talks about bullying and poverty and is brilliantly, passionately written. It's also great for dyslexic readers.

Buy The Boy Who Lied by Kim Slater at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Boy Who Lied by Kim Slater at

Buy The Boy Who Lied by Kim Slater at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Boy Who Lied by Kim Slater at


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