A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{November 23, 2010}   The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Plot: Emma’s mother abandoned her years ago and since she has been bouncing from foster family to foster family. When she finds out that she might have an identical twin sister, she jumps at the chance to go meet her. But she doesn’t find the reunion that she was hoping for. She told that her sister Sutton is dead and that if she doesn’t stay and pretend to be Sutton, she will soon follow her. She will need to find Sutton’s killer and proof of her death if she is ever to escape but it may not be as easy as it sounds. Her sister had many enemies, even among her friends.

This review is based on an uncorrected proof that I received through Netgalley.

This is the first book in the new series by the popular author of Pretty Little Liars (which you can read for free on HarperCollins’ website). Reading this reminded me of the “Frissons” series of horror books that I devoured as a teen (I’m not sure what the series was called in English, if anyone knows tell me in the comments). I’m sure today’s teens will enjoy this just as much. It’s an interesting murder mystery with an abundance of suspects and constant feeling of threat (and a bit more discussion of fashion than I care for).

What I found most unique was the narration style that Shepard employs. There are two narrators: Emma and her dead sister. Emma’s narration is third person limited but Sutton is watching all that Emma sees and commenting in the first person. It feels a bit gimmicky at first and I stumbled over the first switch in narrator but grew to like it. Shepard uses the two narrators effectively to enhance the suspense and, sometimes, lead the reader down the wrong path. But though I like the device, I have some problems with the character of dead-Sutton. As much as I would have hated reading a book narrated by the mean, selfish girl Sutton is shown to be, it makes very little sense how different the dead, amnesiac Sutton is from her living self. Perhaps there will be an explanation in later books, but at the moment this feels like a book about triplets.

I was also disappointed in the ending. It had felt like the story was building towards a conclusion, towards some answers. But instead we are just left with more questions. The ending feels like returning to the beginning of the investigation again; everything that has been discovered has been put into doubt and any one may be the murderer again. It was quite anti-climatic.

This could have been a thrilling single volume story, instead we have a drawn out series that I will probably never bother to finish.


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