By: Sara Shepard
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.