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review 2018-01-06 14:07
Interesting Idea that Fell Apart
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

So Ruth Ware keeps doing this. She has an interesting idea that she can't quite get off the ground floor when it comes for the full book. "The Lying Game" is about a group of four friends who used to play a game that involved lying with rules. 

 

Rule 1: Tell a Lie

Rule 2: Stick To Your Story

Rule 3: Don't Get Caught

Rule 4: Never Lie to Each Other

Rule 5: Know When to Stop Lying

 

Ware divides up the book with parts around these rules. Too bad that's pretty much the only interesting thing about the book. I thought we would get a book showing a group of teens and how they played this game. You don't get to see that. It's referred to and you hear about how the girls were considered outsiders by the boarding school girls they loved with. And honestly who would blame people. They keep to to themselves and told huge lies about people. If Ware was trying for sympathy it didn't work. 

 

Told in the first person, we follow Isa Wilde who befriends two girls on the train heading to a place called Salten. Meeting Kate and Thea she ends up telling a lie soon after she meets them so they allow her to join their weird twosome. Isa's new roommate Fatima is included too cause she backs up Isa's lie.

 

Ware does not do a good job of developing Isa or anyone else. Isa comes across as mean and just not very bright. She starts taking things out on her partner Owen and man if Ware was going for readers to sympathize with Isa it didn't work. 

 

It also doesn't seem believable that a group of women who have not spoken in a decade or longer would come running when one of them texts. Ware should have shown more of them as teens hanging out and being close to each other. Instead we don't get much dialogue between them as teens. Just Isa describing events and feelings. She gets into her crush on Isa's brother Luc and it didn't even seem believable. It felt like they barely spoke in this book. 

 

Isa as an adult also doesn't seem smart. She has a baby (6 month old Freya) who she is overly fixated on. Hope you enjoy reading about her breast feeding every two seconds. Freya didn't do much but scream the whole book. But Isa later on keeps taking her daughter with her to stay in house that's sinking, leaves her with a babysitter she doesn't know, takes her back to a house that maybe a murderer is at, etc. But she treats her partner Owen like an interloper when he finally starts calling her on lying to him.

 

There is a long winding road before you even figure out what event led to this group of teens to be separated. What did they lie about which haunts them still. The reveal to that was a letdown and oh so stupid. I am going to chalk it up to teen logic, but now I feel bad, cause most teens would not be this stupid. 

 

The writing was repetitive and not great. The town the girls were at for a year which is dealing with a downturn that may push the long time residents out was the only piece I found myself caring about. 

 

The only reason why I gave this two stars is that the idea behind "The Lying Game" sounded cool, it's just Ware couldn't pull it off. When we get reveal after reveal nothing really had a chance to sink in yet. And the ending with Isa and her nonsense didn't make it any better. 

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text 2018-01-06 00:51
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

So far it's not setting my socks on fire or anything. Perfectly okay, just boring.

 

The game of lies between old friends when they were teens sounds lame as anything. I'm not moved by any of the characters so far, everyone just seems flat. Probably because Ware has the book going back and forth between the main characters memoires and present. 

 

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text 2018-01-03 21:16
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

Hmm. There's a character named Kate Atagon and I maybe repeated it ten times in a row. 

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review 2017-11-12 18:12
The Lying Game
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

This is the first book I've read by Ware despite having had my eye on her previous books. I now regret not having picked them up sooner. I was immediately drawn into the story of four tight knit teenagers who met at a coastal boarding school called Salten. They developed the lying game where they would concoct elaborate lies to tell people who were not part of their small circle and award each other points. The game had rules, one of which was, never lie to each other.

The girls are eventually kicked out of their boarding school and all go their separate ways until years down the road when their shared secret comes back to haunt them. A single text reunites them.  

"I need you." 


The book jumps back and forth between Isa's perspective and their past. The story slowly unravels to reveal how they met, their shared secrets, and what became of each of them. I didn't give this book a full five stars only because the final reveal didn't blow me away as much as I had anticipated. I enjoyed the ride and discovering the mystery, I just wanted a bit more thrill and suspense. I am, of course, looking forward to reading more from Ware.

 

-SW

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review 2017-10-13 17:45
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

Three and a half star rating.
Four well to do girls meet at a coastal boarding school immediately forming a clique but they weren't very nice to anyone else - why tell the truth when you can lie? This friendship continues over the next 15 or so years when any can call on the others for help despite the fact they don't actually see each other very much. Out of the blue Kate contacts Thea, Fatima and Isa to cover up the biggest lie of all. Isa is the one telling the story so everything is from her point of view. I liked the descriptions of school life and the locations plus the slow build up with the tension gradually being racketed up but the girls/women's characters hadn't improved much. Easy to read, flowed along nicely and quite gripping in parts.

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