Toby's Lie - Daniel Vilmure

Ladymol's Review

Wow. I’m not sure that any review I write for this novel can do it justice. It was an impulse buy, less than that: a bored-at-work-one-click-on-Amazon dangerous moment. I wasn’t even sure why I’d bought it. I am so glad that I did.

Tobias (Toby) is seventeen and about to graduate from the Catholic school he attends. He has two parents and a boyfriend, Ian. He also has a dream that he and Ian will dance together at the Prom, thus declaring their love and coming out at the same time. He thinks this is the biggest problem on his plate until his world begins to dissolve around him: his mother moving out and not telling his father where she’s gone; his friends behaving strangely; Ian getting him involved with a strange patient in a hospital.

The title says that this book is about lies, and that is the main theme of the novel, but who is lying and what they are lying about is something that kept me guessing to the very end of the novel. It’s a roller-coaster ride of emotion told by a very intelligent, yet oddly naïve seventeen year old. Through it all, all Toby wants is to go to the Prom and dance with his boyfriend.

The cast of characters in this book is amazing, especially Juice, Toby’s best friend and Ian, the enigmatic boyfriend. The book has a very strong gay theme throughout, but the sex is entirely natural and just how you would imagine sex between boys this age. For all their worldly-wisdom, almost cynicism about things such as drugs, guns, violence, death, AIDS, they stay very true to their age about sex.

I can’t recommend this book too highly for a startling read that will leave you reeling and needing to immediately go back and read it again. There’s not a single throw away line in this novel; everything leads to the eventual dénouement, only you won’t see that until the end.