Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

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The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
2010; Harper Teen


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. (courtesy of Goodreads)


Have you ever wished that you had a long-lost twin sister? I think most of us have. The wish is even more poignant for someone like Emma, who has spent most of her hard, lonely life in and out of foster homes. The idea that someone would know you intimately and love you unconditionally is understandably enticing to Emma. And her wish comes true! She discovers that she has a twin sister named Sutton in Tucson. Her dreams are quickly dashed when she goes to meet Sutton only to discover that Sutton is dead and the killer is after her too. Emma has to pretend to be Sutton to stay alive.

Emma is a simple, likeable girl. Despite her hard life, she's kind, timid, and relatively innocent. She makes a good vessel through which the story can be told. The reader can't help but root for Emma.

Sutton is essentially two different people. Part of The Lying Game is told through Sutton's eyes from the beyond. Somehow when Sutton died, her memories were completely erased. She's viewing her own life as a stranger. In death, Sutton seems like a nice, quiet girl. A big contrast to the living Sutton. She was the sterotype of a mean girl. Pretty, popular, athletic. But principally, mean. She and her friends concocted a Lying Game each year where they would basically torture each other for fun. That's in addition to the cruel jokes they would play on other people. Sutton was rude to her classmates, her friends, and her family. Definitely not a likeable character. It's interesting to see Emma, certainly not a "mean girl" have to transform into Sutton while still remaining true to herself.

The story moves quickly through Emma's introduction into Sutton's world. It becomes clear quickly that someone is still after Sutton. There are so many people who it could be - Sutton wasn't short on enemies. Could it be a stranger, a friend, or even a family member? All seem possible. The Lying Game takes the reader on a ride as we try to figure out who, if anyone, Emma can trust.

My main problem with this book is that it is so incomplete. The Lying Game is the start of a series. The reader is left with tons of questions at the end of this book. I don't mind being left wondering about certain aspects of a world, but I like a book that can somewhat stand on its own. This definitely cannot. There are a lot of crucial pieces of information that I didn't know by the end of the novel. Not cliff-hanger material, but big background information. I prefer first books that build the world substantially, not just introduce it. I'd rather be enticed to read the next book with a cliff-hanger than unanswered questions.

My issues aside, The Lying Game was a quick read, full of mystery and suspense. I'm excited to read the next one to learn more about Sutton and Emma's worlds.

Rating: 3.5 / 5


  1. Sounds good. I may pick this one up at some point. Great review. I agree, I don't mind cliffhangers, bu I have to feel like I've been given some answers and information. I also like to have the world of the novel clearly defined by the end of the first book if it's a series.

  2. Really nice review Alison, you always do such a fabulous job of explaining your reactions to books:) I really enjoyed this one, but you do make a good point about it clearly being book one of I think three, and it does end with a ton of questions unanswered. That didn't bother me in this one as much as it has in others, but it was still a detraction from the story:)

  3. I'm sorry it was so incomplete! I hate when they are. I agree that they should somewhat be able to stand on their own. Based on the description though, it does sound really interesting.

    Rebecca @ kindle fever

  4. I was really frustrated with this one. I would only read the second one if someone told me there were some explanations or resolutions.
    Nice review.

  5. After reading some of the Pretty Little Liars books I think I've learned not to pick up any Sara Shepard books until the whole series has been published. I'm glad to hear you liked the story so far.

  6. Yup, when I first read that the book couldn't stand alone as its own story, I got turned off. I mean, background info is what creates the story! Agh!

    I better go before I start to rant. LOL

  7. This has been on my TBR list for a while and I absolutely hear where you are coming from that the first book in a series really should build the world completely. Hmm... maybe I'll wait until the next book comes out? Great review!

  8. I read this book expecting so much out of it and I was so disappointed! I agree, so much was left hanging at the end. Plus, have you read the entire Pretty Little Liars series? There are a ridiculous amount of parallels between the two. Anyway, before I go on a tangent, great review :)


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