In Live To Tell, Lisa Harrington broaches the sensitive subject of teenage drinking and driving.
Elizabeth (Libby) Thorne awakens from being unconscious to find herself in hospital badly injured after having an accident. She learns from Dr. Murray that she has a concussion, a broken leg and a damaged spleen but that she will recover. Libby can't remember anything about the accident or the time immediately before the accident. Her mother tells Libby that she and her best friend Kasey Evans went to a Halloween party at a friend's house. Libby drank alot and drove away from the party with a boy named Cal. There was a terrible accident but Cal suffered only minor injuries and was able to call 911.
While still in the hospital, Libby overhears that she will be charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm. Her parents explain to her that she hit someone who has been seriously injured. Libby is completely devastated to learn this.
As Libby struggles to cope with what has happened, she learns that Cal has been coming to the hospital every day to try to see her. When Libby's mother suggests that her younger sister, Emma come to visit, she tells her mom she doesn't want visitors. However, she does receive a surprise visit from her friend, Kasey.
Kasey helps Libby remember why she didn't go to the party with Nate; she gradually remembers that she and Nate broke up the week before the party. Libby decides that she needs to talk with Cal so she can try to find out what happened the night of the accident. But when Cal comes to her room he seems mostly unhelpful and unwilling to talk about what happened.
When Libby is discharged from the hospital she is taken into custody, charged and then released to her parents. This is very traumatic for her and she is barely able to cope with what is happening. She is depressed and can't eat. Once home, Kasey comes to visit her, but strangely sneaks in through Libby's bedroom window.
After Libby's first appearance in court, her lawyer, Diane Edwards, comes to visit her at home. She fills Libby in on more of the details about the accident. The night of the accident was foggy and rainy and Libby was seen leaving the party at 11:30pm. The accident occurred around midnight which leads Libby to wonder what happened to her during that half hour. Although Cal wasn't seriously injured in the accident he claims he was unconscious for about a half hour and he didn't call 911 until 12:28pm.
After hearing these details, Libby is desperate to speak further with Cal. However, Cal's visits leave Libby with more questions than answers - and answers are what she needs. With the encouragement of Kasey and little bit of help from her, Libby works to find the answers she needs and to regain her memory. And the truth is more painful than she can ever have imagined.
Live To Tell is a psychological thriller with a big twist at the end. There's really not much in the way of character development as this short novel is mostly driven by the mystery surrounding what happened to Libby that night. Most readers will find part of the storyline very predictable, but likely won't see the twist at the end coming. The story is set in Halifax, and Harrington uses some local Canadian colloquialisms such as going to "Tims" a reference to the Tim Horton's coffee store chain.
Overall, the novel should appeal to those who are looking for a high-interest, quick read. Live To Tell is a 2014 White Pine Nominee.
Live To Tell by Lisa Harrington
Cormorant Books 2012