Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: December 7th, 2010

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?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of thePretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

This book wasn't bad. I'm going to HAVE to read the 2nd book, Never Have I Ever, because the ending was such a cliffhanger. I didn't love the book though. Honestly, I would have liked at least some answers. Even a hint would have been nice. Toward the final third of the book, I thought I was starting to figure things out, but by the end, we were back to "everyone's a suspect". I feel a little jipped. That said, I enjoyed the book. It was a fast paced, easy read, and I'm a sucker for mystery and intrigue. This book definitely had both. The idea was original, and the perspectives it was told from were brilliant. I loved that the ghost of the dead sister (Sutton) was narrating and watching everything that was going on with the living sister (Emma), but that the living sister wasn't aware of any of it and had to sort it all out on her own. I also liked that the Sutton's death was a mystery even to her. When I began reading this book, I was under the impression that the Sutton was somehow communicating with the Emma; that they were working to solve the mystery together. That wasn't the case. They were trying to solve it independently, in a parallel fashion.

The things I disliked about the book have only to do with personal preference. I really don't like "mean girl" books, and this was definitely one. "The Lying Game" was a game that a group of popular girls (Sutton's friends) made up. It consisted of the girls planning and executing elaborate and often VERY cruel pranks. They had done so many horrible things, that even the police no longer believed their lies. They not only play these pranks on other people, but they play some of the cruelest ones on each other. Given the title of the book and and where the story is headed, it is obvious that Sutton's death has something to do with the game. I would say that this is ultimate "mean girl" behavior. I realize that there is a HUGE market for this kind of book, and teen girls that enjoyed Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, or The Clique will love this as well.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Grade Level Recommendation: This book is NOT for tweens. I would say this is minimally grade 8+. There is a "snuff film" that plays a prominent role in the plot line. I would expect that many teens aren't aware of what a snuff film is, and I would HOPE most tweens aren't. Because of that, I think this book is highly inappropriate for anyone under the age of 14. As I said above, I am also not a fan of "mean girl" books, especially for the more impressionable tween girls. That said, I would say that even if the snuff film doesn't disturb you, the "mean girl" nature of this book still eliminates it from the "tween" section.


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  3. Thanks for the review. I had heard about this one and was interested, but... Sounds like I might pass. (And I admit I had to look up what snuff film was. o_O
    Thanks for saving me some time. :)

  4. I totally agree with your review. I read this book because I loved the Pretty Little Liars series, but I was extremely disappointed. I agree, too many questions were left unanswered, which means of course, I'm going to have to buy the sequel, but for some reason, this book just didn't cut it for me. Great review though :)

  5. I bought this one a while back and it's been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. For some reason, I've been hesitant to pick it up. I haven't read Pretty Little Liars yet so I don't know what to expect. After your review, I'm actually softening up to it. I really enjoyed Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, which seems to be along to same lines as The Lying Game so I might enjoy it! Great review :)


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