Tall Tales by Karen Day begins with an honest wish: "I want to make a friend." The narrator is Meg, who, along with her mother, brother, and father, has moved yet again. She wants to stay in one place. She wants to fit in. She wants to protect her family's secrets.
Meg's father is an alcoholic. The word is heavy and not spoken in the house. The other family members walk on eggshells to make sure they don't disturb or upset him. Meg thinks her dad is an okay guy when he's not drinking. She wants to believe that he can get better.
Meg's classmates are naturally curious about the new girl, who really doesn't want any of them - especially her new friend Grace - to find out about her dad. Grace shares Meg's love for reading and writing, and the two girls start writing a story together.
Meg tries to dodge their questions whenever possible, but sometimes she simply can't. She begins to tell stories about her famous (fake) relatives. One little fib leads to another, and another, and another, and before she knows it, she's trapped in the web of lies she's spun.
During all of this, Meg is fully aware of her exaggerations and big lies. She is likable and vulnerable without being naive. Readers will want someone to find out the truth and help her family. Hopefully, those who relate to her story will be inspired to confide in trustworthy friends and adults so that they can get the help they need as well.
Related Posts: Interview: Karen Day, Book Review: No Cream Puffs by Karen Day
The topic of the day seems to be accidental liars. Next up: a review of Lost It by Kristen Tracy. Stay tuned.