Review: THE LYING GAME by Sara Shepard

Posted 31 January, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 3 Comments

FINAL GRADE: 77/C
YA Mystery (series)
307 pages
Review copy provided by publisher
Available now
Rated PG-15


I had a life anyone would kill for.
Then someone did.
The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.
Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?
Let the lying game begin.

MY THOUGHTS: The concept of twins separated at birth is nothing new but, pair that with a dead twin who narrates from beyond and an alive twin trying to find out what happened to her, and you’ve got THE LYING GAME.

The rich twin, Sutton thinks has it all (if you can call money and a hollow life “all”), until she’s murdered by an unknown assailant.

The poor twin, Emma got the short end of the stick life-wise (though she’s still alive, which is more than can be said for Sutton). When she’s kicked out of yet another foster home after her foster mother sees a snuff video that she thinks stars Emma (but is really Sutton), Emma heads off to Tucson to find out what’s going on.

Confused yet? I was–mostly because this story’s got a dual narrative, and it isn’t always obvious who’s talking. I actually had to read the first part over before I figured it out (Maybe I was just slow on the uptake. That’s completely possible, too.). Sutton, one of the narrators, is pretty unreliable because she doesn’t remember how she died or even a lot about her life (though she does remember every single brand of high-end clothing everyone wears). Emma, the other narrator, is mistaken for Sutton when she gets to Tucson and kind of slides into Sutton’s life, though she doesn’t know anything about it.

It’s odd how easily Emma slides into her sister’s life–doesn’t anyone realize that Emma isn’t Sutton? Maybe that’s the point. Sutton doesn’t have a good relationship with anyone. Her family tolerates her, her friends are just as cruel and cardboard-cutout fake as she is, and everyone at school hates and fears her. But I was still interested in who did her in. I wanted to know more about the games the girls played and why. I wanted to know what happened to her that she turned into this hideous person. I wanted Emma to find answers to her past, too. So, I kept reading.

And then the book just ended. No resolution. No tie-ups. NO ANSWERS! You know how I hate cliffhangers, especially when not a single thing is resolved. Grr. I don’t know if I’ll pick up the next book or not. Yes, I want answers to my questions but I don’t want to have to read an entire series to find them out, especially since I didn’t really like the characters or the over-the-top consumerism and greed. The intriguing mystery is the only reason I didn’t give this story a “D”. 

For another opinion, check out Ashley at The Book Labyrinth’s review (HERE), who rated TLG four stars. 

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3 Responses to “Review: THE LYING GAME by Sara Shepard”

  1. I think you wrote the same review I did. This cliffhanger made me really mad. I’m all for series books, but you gotta give me SOMETHING to end the book – and then PART of the plot is a cliff hanger. I felt like this story should be all one book – it’s not that is was a long book, so why not just write it as a single novel, if you aren’t going to resolve anything in the first book.

    I also agree that it was kind of unbelievable that Emma could take Sutton’s place without anyone realizing it. No way. Thanks. I enjoyed reading this — I’ve read way too many people raving about this book, and I feel better that at least one person agrees with me.

  2. Thanks for mentioning my review. =)

    I can definitely see where you’re coming from. I also really, really hated the cliffhanger, because I thought this was a standalone back when I read it. I think Sara Shepard’s books are my guilty pleasures, though… I don’t necessarily take them seriously, but I love all the crazy twists and turns.

  3. Thanks for the review! I enjoyed The Lying Game, but not nearly as much as I enjoyed the Pretty Little Liars series. I really want to know who killed Sutton, but like you, I’m not sure how much I want to read the rest of the series to find out. . . especially not if it ends up being an 8 book series, the way PLL was. There are just too many series that I want to read right now to add this one to my list if I’m not convinced I’m interested enough in it.