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.