Book review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard


Rating:

stars

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, care-free daughter when she hugs my parents goodnight? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

This is my first post on my blog and I wish I had a better book to review. Don’t get me wrong, The Lying Game is not a bad book. In fact, it’s quite entertaining. The problem with the book is that it’s just not realistic.

Plot:

Okay, so, basically Sutton Mercer is a popular girl who’s been murdered and now she’s a ghost haunting her long-lost twin sister, Emma, who is a foster kid. Emma doesn’t know she is being haunted though. When Emma comes to know of Sutton’s existence, she travels to Sutton’s town to have a big sisterly reunion, only it doesn’t go as planned (When does it ever?). Soon, Emma starts living Sutton’s life and slowly starts to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of her twin sister, which no one in the town seems to be aware of.

Okay, so let me start listing out the cons (and trust me there are many).

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Cons:

  • POV:

This book has one of the most messed up POVs I have ever read. Sometimes, the prose confused me because although technically, the POV is Sutton’s, all the events in the story happen though Emma. Sutton does nothing but watch from the sidelines. I wish there was a point where Sutton and Emma got to interact with each other, but that never happens. Plus, often, Sutton describes what Emma is feeling which I have no idea how Sutton, even if she is a ghost, could know. Plus, Sutton doesn’t remember a damn thing about her old life. And then, there is a scene where Sutton’s possible murderer strangles Emma from behind with a chain and then runs off. You would imagine that Sutton, being the ghost that stalks Emma, would finally get to see her killer’s identity, right? But, no. That wouldn’t let the story advance. So, Miss Shepard has made it so that Sutton can only see what Emma can see. Which just sort of struck me as dumb. It seemed like the kind of convenient thing an author would do to push the story forward.

  • The Pranks:

First of all, the only truly mean “prank” I read in the book was the one Charlotte and her posse pull on Sutton. The Nisha prank was a little over-the-top, sure, but mean? I don’t think so. And even so, why does no one – none of the students, the teachers, the parents – ever do anything to put a stop to the pranks? Because they’re (the students, at least) are frightened of Sutton and her friends? I found that a little hard to buy.

  • Characters:

I had a hard time remembering the names of characters merely because when they were introduced, not much background information was given about them. I mean, I get that Emma is just figuring things out herself as the story progresses, but a little info could have helped ease the reading process.

Then, there was the problem of most of the characters being incredibly one-dimensional. They just didn’t interest me. And they were dumb. I mean, Emma has not played tennis in real life at all and somehow no one notices how bad she is? All they say that she is not “in the zone”. Can’t they tell the difference between a tennis newbie and a pro?

  • Protagonist:

I kind of liked Emma, but I also kind of thought she was dumb. I mean, she goes to a new town to meet her sister who doesn’t show up. Then, her friends “kidnap” her mistaking her for Sutton. Her duffel containing her ID gets stolen. Sutton’s friends then decide to take her to a party. Emma gets a text from “Sutton” asking her to pretend to be her. Now, a sane person would be like “This is crazy” and clear up the confusion with Sutton’s friends. But Emma just goes along with it like Sutton asked her to, just because Sutton mentioned it might be “dangerous” to reveal her true identity. WTH?!

Then, there is the scene where Emma has a sudden smart moment and decides to go to the police. Now, when the police don’t believe her, she is just all like “Ah, too bad the police don’t believe me. I guess I have to continue this façade a little longer.” Couldn’t she just have called up her foster mom and let her talk to the police officers?

During the entire book, I felt like Emma just accepted her situation instead of trying to solve it.

  • Plot:

When I read the blurb, I expected it to be at least a little interesting, a little suspenseful and a little scary. Reality: not interesting, not suspenseful, not scary. I felt like I knew everything that was going to happen. It was like reading from my own brain. The only time I felt remotely at the edge of my seat (or bed) was when Emma got strangled by the chain. Then, there is the end. When I finished reading the book, I was sure I was missing a few pages because no book could end on such a note. I mean, there was nothing in the book that you could call a climax. Things just… sort of happened. There is no cliffhanger because there is no plot.

Pros:

  • Emma:

She was not whiny, which is a big plus in my book. Plus, when she is with Ethan, who is her to-be romantic interest, she doesn’t go all fan-girly, which just made me so, so happy.

  • Ethan:

He is the (slightly) shining star in a slew of dull as mud characters. Although he is kind of the stereotype of poem-quoting, brooding guy, I didn’t mind reading the parts with him.

  • Laurel:

Amongst all the characters in the book, the one I liked most was Laurel. The way she seemed to want to emulate her popular older sister and the way she kept coming back to Sutton (or Emma) even after all the snubs was believable.

  • It was a quick and light read.
  • Although I’m not a big fan of Miss Shepard’s way of writing, the mystery surrounding Sutton’s death is interesting enough. Even though I was not fully invested in the story, I still wanted to know who killed Sutton and why.

Verdict:

Even though the book has its many flaws, I would still pick up the second book in the series if only to know more about Sutton’s killer. So, yeah, 3 ½ stars.

Do you agree or disagree with my review?  Please share your opinion in the comments section! 🙂 😀

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