Julie Mayhew’s The Big Lie takes place in 2014—but in a world very different from our recent 2014. In this alternative history, the Nazis won World War II and are the harsh ruling party. Free thoughts, freedom of expression and any orientation other than heterosexual are crimes against this state.
Jessika Keller is a patriotic schoolgirl, a talented ice skater and a citizen of the Greater German Reich in England. Jessika’s next-door neighbor and best friend says things about governmental leaders that make Jessika uncomfortable and confused. Whenever she has dinner at her friend’s house, the dinner conversation evolves into politics, with her friend’s parents speaking out against the current regime. At first, she is shocked, but gradually she begins to question aspects of her life and society that she never thought about before these conversations.
Also confusing Jessika are her mixed feelings towards two peers: one a member of her own sex and one of the opposite sex. She knows that romantic feelings towards girls are in direct opposition to her father’s beliefs, but can she deny this part of herself? In this coming-of-age story, Jessika must grapple with several very real and scary ideas, ultimately deciding what she stands for and what she’s willing to risk, whether it affects her family, her friends or her country. Mayhew includes helpful historical notes and English translations of the German used in this fast-paced, imaginative story.