The Lying Game(The Lying Game, #1)- Sara Shepard
I was pleasantly surprised by The Lying Game. Ever since before Pretty Little Liars became a worldwide phenomenon for young girls on ABC Family or MTV Russia to name a few, I was a fan of the Pretty Little Liars book series. At first, I was dying to know what happened to Allison, and then it became a chaotic search to uncover the clues that would lead to the discovery of just who the elusive stalker, and tormentor of the Liars, A, is/was. Now that the series is on book 13, it’s become quite boring to be honest. How many A’s can there be, really??! So when I sat down to read The Lying Game(I am also a fan of the show which I think doesn’t get nearly enough attention) I was apprehensive. But once I got into the story, I found that I enjoyed the book even more than Pretty Little Liars and it isn’t just because the tail end of the series is getting me down. Comparatively, The Lying Game has a better writing style. While both series are written in a simple form, The Lying Game has better word choice, a more complex array of emotions, and like Pretty Little Liars, leaves you wanting more.
Emma has been shuffled from foster home to foster home since she was eight. Now, just a couple of weeks before her 18th birthday things start to go downhill and fast. Her skeezy foster-brother, Travis, who creepily tries to watch her shower, has found the ultimate way to destroy her life right before she can move out on her own for good; first he plants stolen money in her purse with a signed Bruce Willis bill that her adoptive mother fawns over as part of her wall of celebrity encounters, and although she may have been forgiven for stealing after what he shows his mother next, Emma has no choice but to pack up her belongings and embark on a life of her own before high school graduation. Travis opens his phone to a saved video, it’s of a girl identical to Emma gagged, bound, and tied to a chair, who after a few minutes of the video, is strangled by her own locket. Emma is shocked, nauseated, and a little exhilarated after the video, so much so that her subsequent dire situation is easy to figure out. Emma now knows that she is not alone in the world, that she has her very own long lost twin sister and she plans on finding her. After putting together some clues, Emma finds out her sister’s name is Sutton Mercer, and she appears to have everything Emma did not; popularity, a gorgeous boyfriend, a happy, loving family, and a devoted group of friends. But everything is not always what it seems and if Sutton’s life was the fairytale it appeared to be why the disturbing video? After sending Sutton a Facebook message, Emma hears back relatively quickly and they set up a meeting. With Emma’s dreams of film school shattered and now being virtually homeless, Emma does the only thing that makes sense, she packs, takes her savings, and gets on a bus to meet her sister. Only, when she gets to Arizona nothing goes as planned. Sutton never shows up, her bags are stolen, and Sutton’s friends force her to go to a party because they think she’s Sutton, even though Emma tried to explain the situation. Later on, Emma finds out the Sutton has been murdered, and so begins the hunt for her sister’s killer. But until then, the murderer left Emma a message, Emma is to pretend to be Sutton, or else she’d be next on his/her hit list. Told from Sutton’s ghost’s(maybe) perspective, The Lying Game combines the voices, emotions, and unique perspectives of both sisters as the struggle to find out just what happened to Sutton and if the killer is one of Sutton’s best friends.
- The Lying Game is a terrifying game of lies, sabotage, and danger. It involves twisted stunts that both humiliate, and scare the victim, and very strict rules for its members that if broken result in both expulsion from the club, and a Lying Game as consequence. The Lying Game is more than a bunch of sub par high school pranks, it’s about testing boundaries, about instilling a sense of hopelessness in the masses, and about out doing the other members. No one knows who will be next or what will happen. It’s suspenseful, unique, and really fun to guess what might be coming.
- Emma was not what I was expecting. If you’ve seen the show, and have never been exposed to the books, you know that Emma is a doe-eyed sweetheart, she is always compassionate, always thinking of others above herself, and is the better of the two sisters. In the book series, Emma is sometimes almost as catty and bitchy as Sutton. Sutton also has more of a conscience, and a lot more heart. Emma likes poetry, film, and is in general a lot more artsy, and less athletic.
- Ethan is a shunned rebel, with a poetic side, he reads Dickinson, and Plath, and is just the sort of broody mystery boy who a girl can fall in love with.
- All of Sutton’s friends, Mads, Char, and Laurel, even the two Twitter sisters have a sinister, suspicious air about them. Everyone is a suspect, everyone has motive, and because they are so close to Emma as Sutton, Emma is always on edge, and paranoid that if she falls out of line the killer could easily reach her. This creates a dark, unsure mood that when combined with the mystery makes The Lying Game a book you can’t really look away from because you are simultaneously praying for Emma’s safety and hoping the Emma can uncover her sister’s killer before it is too late.
- Emma is constantly jumping to conclusions, and making outrageous assumptions about everyone even when the facts are circumstantial at best.
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