I find it strange that some readers have claimed that kind of response to the hate crime described in LIE, my debut young adult novel, never could have happened, not this way. LIE is the story of the aftermath of a brutal hate crime, of the decision of the two main characters, Skylar and Sean, to tell the truth, or to keep with their friends and lie about what happened. LIE is also the story of a community in the midst of upheaval and change, forced now to face ingrained sentiments about race, and hence, LIE is told in 10 distinct first person voices.
Certainly, some character in the novel would have told about the beating sprees, or realized the 'true' character of the mastermind, Jimmy, behind them, and rebelled, or at least, personalizing the story, the readers claim that they would have come forward.
In fact, in the 2008 Long Island murder of Marcelo Lucero that, in part, inspired this novel, nobody came forward. Even though, according to news reports, it was widely known within the teen circles of this Long Island town that a group of their peers, including several school athletes, regularly went out to beat up Hispanics. I even start the novel with a quote from the real New York Times front page story attesting to this: "The attacks were such an established pastime that the youths, who have pleaded not guilty, had a casual and derogatory term for it, 'beaner-hopping.'"
So I find some readers comments strange. Strange.
One last thought on 'strange.' I wrote LIE listening to Billie Holiday's famous song, "Strange Fruit" and re-reading the poem by the New York City schoolteacher, which comprises the words to this blues lyric about lynchings. I even taught the poem to my college world humanities class, played the song in class, and while we have traveled far from that song, I found it strange still, strange enough to write LIE.
Bottom line: You read LIE. You decide.
Onward into 2012 -- may it be a happy, healthy, inspired new year for all!