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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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review 2015-10-10 04:12
The Lying Game
The Lying Game - Sara Shepard

I still argue that Sara Shepard is practically her own genre among YA books, and I'm okay with that. This book very much fits into that genre.

 

We're looking at a thriller, certainly, and there is some murder and some mayhem and a lot of unanswered questions, many of which are still unanswered at the end of the book. That's kind of Sara Shepard's forte--series that somehow feel like Soap (anyone else remember that?) where the questions that come up get answered only to be replaced by more and more questions as time goes on so the hook is never really lost. You always want to tune back in to see (or read, in this case) more.

 

I had a minor issue where I went through the entire Pretty Little Liars series in about two weeks, which was vaguely horrifying and vaguely impressive. Although I've paused in this series, most of that was due to fear that I would do the same thing here. The novel is intriguing and fun, if you don't mind very fluffy soap opera-like reads.

 

The idea of twin sisters separated at birth has been done many times, certainly, but this puts a bit of a spin on it by having one of them dead, but still narrating.

 

The list of suspects would actually be a list of everyone in the entire novel, so I'll leave that part out. They're an intriguing bunch, though I don't think I like above half of them. That's okay--it makes it feel less problematic to assume they're all out to get the main characters.

 

I'll be picking up the rest of the series for sure at some point, but a lot of that is how compulsive these are. I need to see where things end up, and I kind of love the crazy detours and red herrings that it takes to get there.

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