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The Darkest Lie

Review

The Darkest Lie

Pintip Dunn, the writer behind the Forget Tomorrow series, introduces a world of high stakes, deceit and mystery in her thrilling new release, THE DARKEST LIE.

Cecilia Brooks, known to everyone in the small town of Lakewood as CeCe, was always your average teenager. She never sought out the spotlight, only ever standing at the center of attention to exhibit her artwork for the public. The truly remarkable thing about CeCe, besides her talent with a pen and pencil, was her relationship with her mother. CeCe’s mom, Tabitha Brooks, was vivacious and loving and never hesitated to share with her daughter. The two had a deep bond, one that CeCe never questioned and always assumed was unbreakable --- until the end of CeCe’s junior year, when the scandal broke.

CeCe’s life had never been so completely turned upside down; her mom --- her caring, selfless, vibrant mom, who had helped so many more teenagers than just CeCe through her work as an English teacher and crisis hotline counselor --- was having an affair with a student. CeCe’s whole world was shaken, and soon it crumbled entirely: only days after the news surfaced, Tabitha’s body was found in the call center, where she had committed suicide.

“More than excellent characters, THE DARKEST LIE boasts a fantastic plot, in which the caliber of writing never fails to keep the story riveting and significant.”

CeCe has spent the past summer trying to reconcile her emotions of resentment, anger, guilt and grief. With the woman she thought she knew gone both physically and in memory, CeCe just wants to get senior year over with amidst the rumors and taunts. She plans to keep her head down and make no waves, but this soon proves impossible when, on her first day, she meets Sam, an annoyingly cute new student who seems to be drawn to her as much as she is to him. CeCe’s plans to lie low quickly fall away as she finds herself working in the very call center established by her mom -- where she meets another boy, Liam, who seems to understand her feelings toward her late mother better than anyone else in her life.

Soon, CeCe becomes entangled in what her mother left behind: very few answers, but a nagging feeling that perhaps the truth hasn’t yet come to light. CeCe is struggling to unearth the facts behind her mother’s last moments, yearning to find concrete proof that Tabitha was actually the kind woman CeCe thought she knew, not the cruel, falsehearted person described by the news and the town gossip. However, as CeCe digs deeper, she begins to become a target, not only for the crude high school boys whose sickening innuendos she has grown accustomed to since her mom’s death, but also for something darker --- something much more threatening. With the help of Sam and his connections at the local newspaper where he interns, CeCe begins to uncover secrets from the past that might point to something even more shocking than the original scandal…but the closer she gets to the truth, the more she understands that something sinister was behind what happened six months ago. If she doesn’t get to the bottom of what really happened, she might be in more danger than she ever anticipated.

Pintip Dunn writes CeCe with a strong, compelling voice, bringing to life a character that is multidimensional and remarkably human. CeCe is likeable, strong and, like the entire cast of characters in Dunn’s tale, undergoes an extremely engaging metamorphosis throughout the novel. A perfectly flawed heroine, CeCe is an outstandingly written candidate to drive the world of Dunn’s design.

More than excellent characters, THE DARKEST LIE boasts a fantastic plot, in which the caliber of writing never fails to keep the story riveting and significant. The events of the book will leave readers in suspense, revealing twist after twist. Throughout my reading of the tale, I was desperate to guess the solution to Dunn’s enigma of a plot; yet, I finished the book in one day, and not once did I foresee its deliciously complex and satisfying finale.

THE DARKEST LIE is fast-paced, masterful in its expression of emotion and, despite its dark nature, infused with wit and ethical honesties. For older YA readers who enjoy the excitement and pull of a good mystery, but who are especially enamored of well-rounded stories, it certainly fits the bill. With THE DARKEST LIE, Pintip Dunn has harnessed all the best aspects of thrill, romance and intrigue, fusing them together in her own startlingly innovative and enormously worthwhile creation.

Reviewed by Laura T., Teen Board Member on June 22, 2016

The Darkest Lie
by Pintip Dunn