The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

author’s website: website
author’s HarperTeen website: link
release date: December 7, 2010
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Suspense / Contemporary
length: 320 pages
publisher: HarperTeen
overall rating: 4 stars

*the inside flap*
I had a life anyone would kill for.
Then someone did.
The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.
Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?
Let the lying game begin.

*my review*
I was a little hesitant to pick up “The Lying Game” because I have read a few reviews that described it as similar to the Pretty Little Liars series that Sara Shepard is famous for. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the PLL series! But I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read a similar series with different characters. However. . .when The Lying Game came in at the library, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read it, and I am SO glad that I did!

Are there similarities between “The Lying Game” and Pretty Little Liars? In a word, yes. Both books have an unknown killer, rich popular girls as the main characters, and mysterious notes warning that secrecy is the only way to stay safe. BUT if you think about the mystery/suspense genre, ALL mystery stories have the ingredient of an unknown killer – that’s why they are mysteries!

Beyond those minor similarities, I felt that this book was quite different from the PLL series! In “The Lying Game” we meet Emma and Sutton; twin sisters separated for a lifetime, who learn about each other because of a tragic event – Sutton’s murder! Though the story is narrated by Sutton, Emma (who was raised in the foster system, and is two weeks shy of turning 18, when the story begins) is really the main character (since she’s alive). Sutton accompanies Emma in a very interesting way. Sutton can hear and see everything that Emma can hear or see. She can also “hear” Emma’s thoughts and understand her memories. What is even more interesting is that Sutton can’t seem to remember her own memories with the exception of quick images or feelings here and there. When Emma goes to Arizona and is forced into assuming Sutton’s life, there is suspense, excitement, and mystery at every turn.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and read it in one sitting! Having a narrator that knows everything about the main character, but isn’t the main character, gave this book an interesting perspective. (It almost felt like the voice-overs that Mary Alice gives on Desperate Housewives, if you’re familiar with that show.) The story line itself was excellent. The style that Shepard developed in the PLL series of introducing a ton of seemingly minor characters, who will eventually play larger roles, seems to be continued in this series. The secret identity ingredient also adds to the suspense, because throughout, I was just waiting for someone to figure out that Emma wasn’t really Sutton.

Overall, this was a great read, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to the next installment!

*short and snappy*
writing: Character driven and filled with details and suspense, but in a way that was never confusing or tedious to read.
plot: Suspenseful and entertaining with twists galore
characters: The main characters (Emma and Sutton) are obviously well developed, and tons of seemingly minor characters were introduced throughout the story, making me wonder what roles they will play
memorable line: “She swiveled to the computer, clicked the mouse on Sutton’s Facebook status update window, and began to type: Game on, bitches.” p. 204
(*Note: I try to keep the language on this blog clean, but after reading the PLL series, watching the TV show, and now reading this book; there are some times when adding “bitches” to the end of a statement just makes it more powerful. . .not necessarily appropriate, but powerful :) )
judging by the cover: I LOVE the juxtaposition of the twins on the front cover. It is also a fun way to keep the partial portraits that were used in the PLL series.
miscellaneous: The Lying Game website has several fun things including an interview with Sara Shepard


Lauren said...

I loved this book!
I agree, it had some similarities, like the mystery, suspense, etc., but that's what makes a GREAT novel!!
And thanks for posting the video, I've never seen it before:)

Christina T said...

Sounds fantastic! Great review. I look forward to reading the book myself. I think I'd like this more than Pretty Little Liars. I only read the first book in that series.

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