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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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review 2017-08-24 00:00
The Lying Game: A Novel
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware Warning: this is LONG!

Books about boarding school have sucked me in before, so much so that they led me to attend one (I actually asked); we were living in Hong Kong at the time and I went to school in Sussex, just as in Ruth Ware's 'The Lying Game'.
I couldn't resist making this one of my picks for the month in a book subscription box, and although it waited on my shelf for a few weeks ( I have massive TBR list, thanks to my recent rash of book-buying), as soon as I started Ware's 'Game', I couldn't put it down.
I was immediately transported back to England and my boarding school days. I felt all the nervousness and anxiety emanating off the pages right away, and you can feel it all the way through. The anxiety of trying to make peace with the past is what gave me short nights of sleep (I was staying up late reading), and it's what keeps the characters up late too, their pasts coming back to haunt them. I have always envied friendships that last for decades, like the ones in this story but there are many secrets that are hidden within these tight bonds. These bonds may seem unrealistic to some readers, but when you spend your time literally LIVING with each other through your formative years, you form unbreakable bonds, much like family. Okay, maybe not to the point where you help cover up crimes (right?), but I'm talking about my school mates. I can see where this may not strike a chord with some readers though.

I really enjoyed Ware's writing and never felt confused when she pulled the reader back to look at the girls' past. I was also fully imagining the Sussex coast, the train going back and forth from London, even the windy staircases to the dormitories, the long walks when you just don't have a car...frighteningly close to my own experience (a bit spooky, Ruth!). I kept coming back to the book for more.
I can possibly see how an American reader would maybe struggle with a imagining a long walk pushing a pram across marshy land at night. Being a Brit who walked a long way home from a train station every day, I didn't. The old Mill was also a force to be reckoned with, within the story, and a character of its own, and I could 'see' it falling into the water gradually. And the fever dreams of a body being discovered? Who hasn't had that nightmare, that dread? (Tell me have...right?) I felt it intensely.
Also an aside: since I had to leave my own boarding school in a hurry, not because of bad behavior (I promise) - my parents split - I never got to say goodbye to friends at my school either. I STILL haven't been back for a Founder's Day. Ware writing in a Salten School dinner was a clever touch to bring the past and present together. These sorts of reunions either have people filled with dread (like in this case, and for special reason), and then some 'old girls' can't wait for them.

I loved this story so much, I really did, and while it won't be sitting alongside jovial boarding school stories by Enid Blyton, being transported to the Sussex countryside for this mystery was all-absorbing. Having the past come back to bite you is something we ALL dread and this is a classic tale of that. I feel a little unsure of how I feel about the ending; sad, maybe it's too convenient, but somehow so appropriate, but I liked the imagery - maybe I just didn't want it to end, and for the mystery to be solved.
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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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