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?
summary from book
My Rating: 3.5/5
I will rightfully admit that I began reading this series for two main reasons. Reason #1: I had stumbled across this show deciding to give it a try seeing as I am a fan of the Pretty Little Liars TV series and reason #2: I have always wanted to read something by Sara Shepard and even own the first novel in the Pretty Little Liars series -but as goes the story of my life- I have yet to read it. I figured since The Lying Game TV adaptation had just begun and I wasn't rightfully attached to it or anything that I wouldn't mind being spoiled by the novels if such a thing were to occur. Also, I'd pretty frequently read that the show and the novels were extremely different (surprise, surprise) and so I decided to give in and give them a try.
The Lying Game is exactly what I'd hoped it would be not to mention it contains my favourite aspect of the TV show adaptations of Shepard's novels: secrets. I love secrecy in novels. I am a huge fan of being told little to nothing and having to piece together the incoming evidence much like the protagonist is being forced to do as well. I think the concept of long lost twins encountering one another is fascinating all on it's own, especially given the situation that both siblings have lead such immensely different lives. But that's not all. Then, thrown into the mix is the fact that Sutton, the rich and much nastier twin whose life seems to be riddled with lies, deception, and secrecy is murdered, leaving Emma, the much sweeter of the two to take over Sutton's life-being mistaken for her in a quick instance only to realize that staying and being Sutton is the only way she can solve her murder. Whew! Sounds like a party. Soon, Emma begins to realize that no one in Sutton's life can be trusted and that each individual she encounters seems to have a justifiable reason as to why they would want Sutton dead. Even her best friends and sister (the biological child of her adoptive parents) have enough reason to want to hurt Sutton. Having Emma navigate this world, learning something new each chapter is part of the fun of The Lying Game. The more she learns about her late twin's life, the more she begins to realize that finding her murderer is going to be a lot more difficult than previously assumed.
The plot for me is the highlight of this book. The characters are fine, I don't dislike them or anything but this is not going to be the novel that contains super fleshed out beings with complex background stories and moments that make you feel connected to them, as if they are real people above all else. Don't get me wrong, the characters in this novel do have background stories (how can they not when Emma is discovering so much about those around her-present and past?) But it is not the main focus of The Lying Game. Like I said, it's not so much about internal growth and or conflict but ultimately about what is happening outside and around Emma. Maybe down the road, when the series is drawn to a close these moments will be present, maybe not. I definitely can see Sutton (who is attached to her sister Emma in death, trying desperately to find out and discover who killed her also as she cannot recollect anything from her life) as having a few of those moments in the end for she is realizing, through Emma's interactions with her world that she was not the nicest individual. Regardless, it is not the fuel that burns this fire so to speak. Being someone who loves character driven novels above all else, I was not bothered by this fact. I knew that this series would be plot heavy above all else and that is what I wanted to find when I picked up The Lying Game. Sometimes you need a novel like this one that has mastered plot and keeps you on the edge of your seat because of it.
Overall: This was a very fun read, the kind of book you have a difficult time putting down because each new chapter is filled with some kind of new revelation, big or small. If you such as myself are into novels with a woven element of mystery then I highly recommend this series. I'm currently on the second novel (Never Have I Ever) and am very much enjoying it. Also, if you're a fan of the The Lying Game TV show and or Pretty Little Liars I would also recommend you pick up either series, this one included. Just be warned that it may ruin the show in the sense that this book is MUCH better than the series and may (as it did for me) take away from some of the show's enjoyment factor.