Review: The Lying Game

The Lying Game (Lying Game Series #1) by Sara Shepard: NOOKbook CoverName of Book: The Lying Game

By: Sara Shepard 

Publisher: HarperCollins

Copyright Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 207 (Nook edition)

Format: YA Fiction 

Reason for Reading: I have a fascination with lying. I lied incessantly as a kid, and still find myself lying on occasion just to entertain myself. I am a terrible liar if I’m trying to cover up something (“What? Those shoes? Oh, I bought them months ago.”  Yeah, that never works.) but okay if I’m entertaining myself. So I like stories about lies and how they get people into hot water. Or don’t, as the case may be.  I also have a fascination with twins. Izzy and I are as close as if we were twins, and sometimes it feels that, despite the 8-year difference, we are twins. And if my IVF had succeeded, I would have given birth to twins. So combine a story about lying and twins, and it should be a sure-fire hit, right?

Rating: C. Alas, it was not a sure-fire hit. 

“There’s something I think I know,” Ethan’s voice dropped a half octave. “Something I don’t think you want anyone else to know.”

“What are you talking about?”

Ethan’s Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. “You’re not who you say you are.”

Emma blinked hard. “I-I’m sorry?”

“You’re not Sutton. You can’t be.” (p. 186)

Emma grows up in foster home after foster home, after her irresponsible and possibly mentally ill mother goes off on a “little trip” when Emma is 5 years old and never returns.  She finds, completely coincidentally, that there is a girl who looks identical to her. She reaches out by e-mail to this girl, and gets a response inviting her to meet up at Sabino Canyon in Tucson.  When Emma gets there, she runs into some friends of her sister, Sutton. But Sutton never does show up, and Emma is forced into pretending to be Sutton in order to save her own life.  She’s desperately trying to find out what happened to Sutton, while at the same time realizing that Sutton’s pet invention, the Lying Game, has won her a lot of enemies.  Emma doesn’t know who to trust. Meanwhile, Sutton’s ghost is hovering around her, trying to help as much as she can, which isn’t much.  The book ends with no resolution, as it’s obviously a series and if there were any resolution, no one would feel inclined to read any more in the series.

What I liked: Not much, frankly. Shepard does a good job in concealing the identity of the Person Who Knows the Truth, but she’s already proven this in the Pretty Little Liars series.  The book has very high ratings on Barnes & Noble, and I’m sure that its target audience loves it.

What I didn’t like: It is supremely improbable. Note that I’m not saying impossible, because I believe few things are truly impossible.  But it has the same old pat conventions: the mysterious twins (separated and don’t know about each other’s existence); poor girl has to assimilate overnight into a wealthy and privileged family without anyone knowing; someone knows the truth but she doesn’t know who it is.  And on and on and on. Also, most–not all–of the characters aren’t very likeable, and some are downright detestable. This is a pet peeve of mine, and I’ll admit to being prejudiced by that.

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This entry was posted in Fiction, Posts by Faith, YA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Review: The Lying Game

  1. izzybella says:

    Too bad-it sounded kind of interesting. I think I’ll have to give it a pass. Had it some type of conclusion I might read it anyway, but I have no patience to invest in a series that would annoy me so much.

  2. jehara says:

    I have always had a fascination with twins since I was a little girl. When I was a kid I wished I had a twin sister. I love books about twins. Have you read Her Fearful Symmetry? It is a ghost story that involves twins and is set in London. I enjoyed it. Have you read Liars by Justine Larbalastier? You might like that one better and I know you’ve enjoyed her other books. Sorry this one wasn’t a great read for you.

  3. Margot says:

    Sorry this book didn’t work for you. The plot does sound rather implausible, as you said. When I was a little kid I loved telling whoppers too. I remember stories about my dad being a famous something or other and stories about impressive places we’d been. My mom finally had enough. She told me she thought I would probably be a writer when I grew up but in the meantime she couldn’t have a liar for a daughter. So, being a stern disciplinarian, she made me stick out my tongue and wiped it with a bar of soap. That was to be my punishment for every lie. It worked. It was also my punishment for every swear word she heard. (Do you wonder about my aversion to swear words?) Anyway, I like stories about liars and wonder why the characters parents weren’t stricter with them.

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