Book Review: WHITE RABBIT, RED WOLF by Tom Pollock

In the US, this book is titled THIS STORY IS A LIE

Genre: Thriller
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Series: standalone


white rabbit red wolf

Peter is a maths prodigy, who also suffers from severe panic attacks. The love and support of his twin, Bel, and mother helps him cope day to day, but living a fearful life is hard.

On the day his mother is about to receive an award for her scientific research she’s critically stabbed and Bel goes missing. Peter is thrust into a world of lies and espionage – his mother had been working for a secret government organisation.

What was she working on, and how does it affect Peter and Bel? If he’s going to survive t find out the truth, he’ll have to trust his mind and instincts, but where do the lies end and the truth begin?

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This book has left me with so many questions – in a very good way. The ending throws a series of sharp twists so fast that there’s no time to process exactly what they mean for the rest of the book, beyond a ‘oh my gosh, what?’ reaction. The last sentence doesn’t answer the biggest question, leaving it there is a frustratingly satisfying way.

Normally, non-linear books frustrate me with the constant cutting back and forth, but alternating chapters of past and present worked so well here. It really built up the impression of what it was like in Peter’s mind, thinking non-linearly. His panic attacks and the thought spirals were handled well, but also the coping mechanisms.

The characters as a whole are great – Ingrid is my favourite supporting character who I have so many questions about. Bel is the next. I’d have liked more page-time to get to know her, but that’s kind of the point. The mystery sucks you in (I read this in three hours rather than studying).

The middle section is a whirlwind. The twist that sets this section in motion doesn’t make any sense at first. Initially, I was very sceptical, and concerned that it was too unbelievable and that the story would go downhill from there. It doesn’t, and the twist is explained in the first (and only really) major explanation of his mother’s research and just what exactly is going on. I’m not sure exactly how believable the construct is, but it’s a YA thriller so my suspension-of-disbelief is a little higher than for, say, a Bond novel.

What you can’t see in the cover picture are the shiny butterflies. They only appear when you look close and tilt the book to catch the light. It’s such a clever detail, that doesn’t fully make sense until the ending.

Read my reviews of other books by Tom Pollock


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