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“The mother I knew would never do those things.
But maybe I never knew her after all.”
Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.
As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…
***I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author and with participation in this tour.
+++Contains triggers: child pornography, violence, disturbing images
The Darkest Lie a gripping mystery that deals with loss, forgiveness, and how to survive when the world around you seems to be falling apart and you’re tumbling off your axis.
READ THIS BOOK IF:
- You’re into puzzles and fashion yourself an amateur sleuth
- You’re all about the swoon
- You’re searching for hard-hitting, relevant, and extremely important subjects that apply to real life
- There are so many important and crucial things in this story that apply to today’s teens, especially in the age of social media. Crisis hotline centers are a huge asset for anyone feeling lost or alone and who wants someone to talk to, even a stranger. The moments in the hotline center, though brief, are uplifting and hopeful. They show that even the smallest of comforting words or just listening can make all the difference in the world. Pornography rings also feature prominently in this story, specifically how predators lure and blackmail their victims into cutting everyone out of their life until they only one they have left is their abuser. This pattern is real and terrifying and I can only hope that this story will bring awareness to the dangers and how easily it is to become a victim in what seems like a healthy, happy relationship as well as in one initiated online.
- The lurid and horrific details of CeCe’s mother’s death are mingled throughout the story, but are revealed in startling, blunt imagery. The pieces, much like the clues that CeCe’s mom leaves behind will make your skin crawl. They’re possessive, violent, and the suspense will keep you on edge. Jumpy.
- Sam and CeCe are adorably goofy. Sam has a vibrant personality with eclectic taste and so much passion for what he believes in. The dorky was he dresses, that ridiculous scooter, all the elbow pads and too short pants are incredibly cute, in a way that’s unique and surprising. The anticipation, waiting for them to finally cross the friendship boundary is agony. You can’t help but ship their bizarre brand of attraction.
- That journal. Chilling, graphic, all sorts of terrifying because it is so real and could happen to anyone. CeCe’s mother’s secrets and abuse are heartbreaking and raw. The emotions and fears are intense and scary.
- For the bulk of the story, the pacing is pretty slow before anything cryptic or creepy happens. There’s a lot of random, everyday, mundane things going on that highlight CeCe’s usual high school experience, but don’t really pull you in off the bat.
- I wasn’t sold on CeCe. Of all the characters in the book, CeCe seems the least developed to me. Her voice isn’t particularly strong, she’s awkward, has babbling outbursts, and says some offhand, cruel, and crude things about her mother that sort of turned me off to her personality a few times. While CeCe is a shell of who she once was after her mother’s death and withdraws from everyone around her, her resentment is crazy strong, and a little selfish.
Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”
Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. She is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com.
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