The Lying Game ~ Sara Shepard
Imagine Princess and the Pauper told in the modern day American South West.
Sounds pretty neat.
Sounds neat until you add murder and then it just sounds awesome.
Emma Paxton isn’t sure that “awesome” is the right way to describe her life when, right before her 18th birthday, her life as a foster kid goes from bad to worse thanks to a lovely little internet video. The video, found by her scummy foster brother, shows Emma being strangled on camera, possibly to death.
With a few short clicks of her mouse, Emma discovers that it isn’t her in the video (duh) but her twin sister, the universe somehow forgot to mention she had. Since her life isn’t exactly honey and roses, Emma ditches her last few golden days in the foster system and gets sucked in to a life she couldn’t have imagined, days before.
Her sister, Sutton, was living the good life with tennis, friends, school council and other perks of being her high school’s queen bee. Hard as it might be for a runaway foster kid to play the part of “it girl”, her life (and Sutton’s vengence) hangs on her ability to do so. Though her life was pretty peachy, Sutton’s past quickly reveals to Emma that the A-lister was not exactly the sweetest chickie at school and even those in her inner circle might have wanted to see her pushing daisies.
Watching her step and her back, Emma has to race against the clock to solve the mystery before someone calls her out and she loses access to Sutton’s life and the cause of her sister’s death forever.
The is one more tiny twist. OK, maybe it’s not so tiny. While we are watching Emma solve Sutton’s murder, we are watching with Sutton herself who is somehow, spiritually tethered to Emma. Emma doesn’t know she’s there but Sutton is getting a first hand recap of the nasty things she did when she was alive. Her memory evaporated with her last breath so she’s no help aside from the occasional flash back, added into the mix enough to confuse things a bit. It’s a neat twist and I definitely like the idea. Sometimes it makes it hard to follow who is speaking but after a little bit it gets easier.
This is the first book in a four part, mega-mystery. When I first picked it up, I was expecting it to be solved in the first book as most mysteries are. I was sort of bummed that the killer won’t be revealed until the fourth and final book (due out this summer) but, I think it’ll be worth it. The story is well done and tends to follow, for all of its modern teen angst, a very classical murder plot. I’m almost done with the second, now, and loving it, just as much. This is probably one of my favorite young adult books, at least recently. It’s a little bit silly but it’s also pretty dark and twisted so it passes in my book.