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The Lying Game

Review

The Lying Game

Seventeen-year-old Emma Paxton knew the love of a family for a brief time, but then her mother abandoned her at the age of five. Emma has lived in the foster care system ever since, unwanted and yearning for a family’s love. Then she sees a video from the Internet of a person who looks exactly like her, and discovers she has a long-lost twin named Sutton. She quickly travels to Arizona to meet her sister, but Sutton is nowhere to be found.

And nobody seems to notice that Sutton is gone. Everyone who sees Emma assumes she’s Sutton, and Emma goes along with it for the moment. Then she receives a mysterious note stating that Sutton is dead. The anonymous killer warns Emma to pretend to be Sutton, or else she will be the next victim.

But it’s not so easy to slip into someone else’s life, even a long-lost twin’s. Sutton turns out to be completely different from Emma. Adopted into a rich family, she wants for nothing and is a bit of a brat to match the spoiled image; she often slams her adopted sister, Laurel, who idolizes her. She runs with the popular crowd, though she doesn’t seem to treat her friends any better than her family. In fact, she and her friends play something they call the Lying Game, which involves playing pranks on each other, many of which are cruel and demeaning. Could one of these brutal pranks have gone wrong, resulting in Sutton’s death?

Sutton doesn’t know either, unsure of anything anymore. Ever since she died, her memory is sketchy and empty. For some reason, her spirit has attached to Emma, like she’s sitting on Emma’s shoulder, seeing everything Emma sees, but helpless to do anything or even tell Emma she’s there. So she watches the mystery unfold, clueless as to who murdered her, and horrified to realize that everyone is a suspect, including her own friends and family.

Coming off the heels of her bestselling Pretty Little Liars novels, Sara Shepard introduces a new series to her fans. She takes a unique approach to a story involving long-lost twins by murdering one of the siblings from the very beginning. In this fascinating premise, Shepard proves she is a master at suspense, with the plot quickly growing and building with mysterious threats, unlimited suspects, and creepy insights into the dark side of the human psyche. She also has a wonderful gift for description, bringing the story to life for all the senses.

Despite instances of teen drinking and smoking in the novel, fans will be excited to know that NEVER HAVE I EVER, a follow-up to THE LYING GAME, is on the way.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on December 7, 2010

The Lying Game
by Sara Shepard

  • Publication Date: December 7, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Young Adult 14+
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • ISBN-10: 0061869708
  • ISBN-13: 9780061869709