'At least she had a clear picture of what the Lying Game was now: Girl Scouts for psychopaths.'- Sara Shepard, The Lying Game.
'The Lying Game' was the first Sara Shepard book I've ever picked up; despite the hype surrounding the TV adaptation of her 'Pretty Little Liars' series, it was never something that had particularly 'jumped out' at me whilst browsing Amazon for some new additions to my at-home library, but upon spotting the synopsis for the 'Lying Game' series on Goodreads a few months ago, I decided to give it a go.
'The Lying Game' follows seventeen year-old foster child Emma Paxton as she embarks on a journey to meet her long-lost identical twin, Sutton Mercer, having discovered her through a mysterious 'snuff film' floating around the internet; upon receiving just one text from her sister, Emma finds herself boarding a coach, nervously anticipating being reunited with the twin she never knew she had.
What Emma doesn't know, however, is that Sutton's already with her, in spirit; murdered just the day before, Sutton's disembodied spirit is bound to her twin, following her, seeing only what she sees, and being unable to communicate with Emma...even as she watches the sister she never met heading to a rendezvous with her murderer.
Emma's soon immersed in Sutton's world, pretending to be the twin she never even met; laughing with her friends, calling her parents mum and dad, and trying to piece together the events that lead to Sutton's death - all whilst being watched by her sister's killer.
'The Lying Game' had me hooked from pretty much the first page; although it takes a chapter or two to set up the basis of the story as we're told in the synopsis, it's not long before you're hurtling along with Emma (and Sutton!) as she is forced into a situation in which she has no control, with the mystery surrounding Sutton's death seeming to grow only deeper as every page is turned.
Sara Shepard doesn't dawdle, and although it's refreshing to be thrown straight into the action, it can be a little confusing to follow, in terms of the characters, their relationships with Sutton, and the information Emma's collecting about each of them as 'suspects' - although I'd imagine this is Sara's attempt to generate a little more empathy for her narrator, and it does work, it can mean that some passages aren't as cohesive as they could be.
When I first began the 'Lying Game' series, I believed it to be complete - however, half-way through the second book, I realised there are at least two more installments to be published...which means I still don't know the extent to what happened to Sutton, or what will happen to Emma, but one thing's for sure; my decision had been solidified, after just the first book, to stick with the series until the end. If you're up for a compelling, Young-Adult, mystery-turned-thriller, this is definitely the one for you, and 'The Lying Game' will keep you guessing, right until the very end.
This review was written by regular reviewer Francesca, get to know her here.
Photo © Francesca Sophia.