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review 2017-08-06 03:15
Will the lying game have consequences?
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

Author Ruth Ware knows how to keep her readers totally involved in the narrative, guessing until the end at what the outcome will be. In Salten, England, four teenage girls, Kate Atagon, Thea West, Fatima Chaudhry (nee Qureshy), and Isa Wilde, become the closest of friends at their boarding school. Whatever mischief they engage in, they do it together. Their favorite game is “the lying game”. They get points for fooling unsuspecting dupes by convincing them with their stories, of things that are untrue, often humiliating those victims when the lie they told is discovered.

Without regard for how their tales will eventually affect other people’s lives, they are united in the effort to willfully tell stories, competing for points earned from telling the most convincing lies. Soon, they also earn the not too stellar reputations of troublemakers who can’t be trusted. Young and unaware of the consequences they may face in the future, they are simply engaged in having fun pushing the envelope. In the end, will they still think that their lying game is fun or will it become an albatross around their necks?

Eventually, their behavior seems to get them expelled from school, and they go their separate ways, all four rarely coming together again, until after 15 years pass. Suddenly, Kate Atagon, who has remained in Salten, sends each of them a plea for help with a text message on their phones that simply states, “I need you”. They all drop everything and leave their lives in the midst of whatever they are doing, to answer the call. They all text back, “I’m coming”.

In the present day, 17 years after they have left school in ignominy, Isa is a lawyer, Fatima is a doctor, Thea has a gaming license, and Kate is an artist who lives pretty much, hand to mouth. Each woman is now in her early thirties, but she picks up and risks everything to return to help a friend, knowing she would never have sent the text if it wasn’t absolutely urgent.

When they were in school, Kate lived in the Mill House with her father Ambrose, the art teacher, and her step-brother Luc. It was their hangout. It was then, and is now, a home that is in disrepair, and it is slowly being reclaimed by the sea as it sinks into the sand.  Still, ignoring the danger, when they arrive back in Salten, they return to Kate’s home. After only a short time, she reveals why she has called them all back to a place they never wished to return, and they discover that their former lying game may have very dangerous consequences for their current lives. Apparently, while strolling along the beach, a dog walker’s dog found a human bone in the Reach near Kate’s home. This discovery could have monumental consequences on all of their lives. A lie that they told 17 years ago is now coming back to haunt them.

What can they do? Should they continue to lie? Do they tell the truth? Can they trust each other? Are they in danger? What exactly are they afraid of? What did they do in their past that is so upsetting to them? The author will keep you guessing until the last pages as to the nature of all the secrets that must be revealed.

What I particularly liked about the book was the fact that the story isn't hackneyed. It is original and creative. The reader will not feel that they have read the same thing dozens of times before with a different title. The author has also chosen the narrator very well, for she portrays each character with such clarity that you can visualize them in every scene from their appearances and personalities to the tone of their voices. This is a good, fast read that will keep the reader involved and on edge waiting for the ultimate conclusion.

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review 2017-07-21 03:28
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

The premise of high school girls making up a game of lying and hiding a suicide as their last and final lie really held my interest in this book. 

Years after the suicide and after the girls had left school, started living their adult lives, some married with children and some just trying to make it. Three of the girls receive a text from the fourth girl in the pact: "I need you". With this being known very early in the book without any background whatsoever of these girls and their past, I was immediately intrigued. 

The narrator focuses, for the most part, on Isa, who at times becomes the narrator. Her instant response to that text has her grabbing up her six month child, packing some things and catching a train. Leaving her husband dumbfounded and questioning. Another reason for my interest in this story.

Yes, I was hooked at the beginning and never lost interest. A story filled with intrigue, suspense, deception, and secrets that have been hidden for a long time. Definitely unputdownable and entertaining. 

Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2017-05-30 20:52
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

After devouring The Woman in Cabin 10, I was excited to get my hands on another Ruth Ware book.  Initially I was enjoying this book, especially the parts that take place at the boarding school, but I didn't fully buy in.  I don't want to make comparisons, and whether this was on purpose or not, but there were echos of The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  Is Donna Tartt not one of the most brilliant literary voices?  This seems like a compliment, right?  But in fact, this comparison does this book a disservice because Ware is a strong enough writer to stand on her own and not have to draw on this inspiration.  Again, this may be me creating the parallel between the two, so I'll move on.  But it's there: the exclusivity, the boarding school, the murder, the circumstances, the lasting effects of the death on the group, and that it is a murder mystery in reverse. 

 

There is an immediate hook—a woman is walking her dog in the quaint coastal village of Salten along the section of river known as the Reach where the tide meets the stream.  Her dog charges into the water to retrieve what is perceived to be a large stick, when in fact it is a human bone.  

 

The next morning, three women—Isa, Fatima, and Thea—get a text from Kate, the fourth in their exclusive group, that simply says "I need you".  Hoping they would never get this request, they drop everything and rush back to Salten.  The girls were a fearless foursome at the Salten House boarding school.  They used to play the Lying Game which involved telling the most outrageous things to people for points.  Only there are rules: tell a lie, stick to your story, don't get caught, never lie to each other, and know when to stop the lie.  For some, the lines become blurred with what are actual facts versus what is fantasy.  Ware reveals bits and pieces of the girl's time at the Salten boarding school, and how extreme the game got—they were all expelled in their final year under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the art teacher, Ambrose, who also happens to be Kate's eccentric father. 

 

Where this book stumbles is with our narrator, Isa.  She is a new mother, and Ware loses the plot because this character is so consumed by this role.  The baby proves to be a distraction for both Isa and the reader which ultimately detracts from the story.  Without the baby, Isa could still be an unreliable narrator—her memories of events are viewed through the lens of a naive young girl who seems enchanted with Ambrose, Kate, and Luc (the step-son/step-brother). More of the girls' time at school needed to be written and the other characters needed more attention.  I found it a stretch that these girls were only friends for such a short time, yet remained so incredibly loyal over the span of 17 years.  There was simply so much more to the story.  Ware took a wrong direction, not in using Isa as our narrator, but with hinging so much of her character on being a mother.  The boarding school, and the girls' past is paramount to the plot, yet none of the characters were really fleshed out.  

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review 2017-05-26 00:50
The Lying Game - Sara Shepard

Despite its short length, this book felt like it took me forever to get through. It took me a week to finish and I was only able to finish it that quickly because I started binge-reading it just so it would be over. (Note: I hate not finishing books.)

This is a mash up of Jawbreaker, Pretty Little Liars, and The Lovely Bones. While I wasn't a huge fan of Pretty Little Liars, it was still an interesting read that made me want to find out what happened next. This one? Not so much. I really couldn't care less about any of the characters. They didn't feel real. They were all very two-dimensional and dull.

My biggest pet peeve about this book was the narration. Sutton is supposedly the narrator, but she refers to herself in the third person at times, then goes back to first person narration. This was very irritating. It read like it was originally written in the third person, then some first person comments were hurriedly added in without editing the rest.

The story itself was weirdly similar to Pretty Little Liars. I was hoping for something different, but it's the same rich teenage girls being absolutely horrible to each other and everyone else, just with long-lost twins thrown into the mix.

The plot was also surprisingly predictable and the cliff-hanger ending was a big letdown. I think it's pushing it to give this book a two-star review, but I don't feel like I hated it enough to give it one star. I'm sure there is something redeemable somewhere in the text; I just can't think of it right now.

Not a very good read. I'd recommend it to someone who enjoyed the Pretty Little Liars series and wants to read a regurgitated version of it.

I have the sequel to this book (hooray dollar clearance section), but we'll see if I work up the effort to read it.

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review 2016-09-15 00:00
The Lying Game
The Lying Game - Sara Shepard Girl finds her long lost twin, and when she goes to visit her, it turns out that she is murdered. The girl is threatened by the killer to pretend she is her long lost twin, so nobody knows she's gone, or else....
Yes, that sounds bad, doesn't it?

I managed to get myself over that improbable plot, only to find myself annoyed by the improbable choices of our main character. So many times I wanted to scream at my book, because she kept making stupid decisions.
The characters were cliché; mean rich girl, dull jock, attractive loner, etc.
And do girls really talk the way they do in this book? With al those abbreviations and references to fashion brands or famous people?
And another thing that annoyed me was the unclear switch between 1st person and 3th person narrative.

Sorry this review turned out more as a rant.
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