The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

March 26, 2012
By DelaAA BRONZE, Hampton, Virginia
DelaAA BRONZE, Hampton, Virginia
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Does anyone remember Nancy Drew books? I remember them specifically as the childhood “sleeper” series because they used to put me straight to sleep every night without fail. The issue with those books was that the style of writing was decades too old for my interest. Sara Shepard brings “mystery fiction” into the twenty first century with her book, The Lying Game. Even though the cover and title make it sound predominantly feminine, boys can find a good use for it too…as a present to give to the females in their lives. Trust me, guys, your girl, or sister, or mother will love your for it, “Cross my heart and hope to die.”
The book sounds bleak from the general summary; a girl finds out she has a twin and goes to meet her but when she gets there she discovers that her twin has been murdered and the only way to discover the truth is to pretend to be her twin. However, Sara Shepard constantly lightens up the story with vulgar language, ironic situations and yup, you guessed it, sex jokes. Emma, the main character, is constantly under surveillance by the unknown person who killed her twin sister Sutton so she’s rarely the bright side of the book. Ironically, Sutton, the dead twin, provides most of the humor in the book as she follows Emma every where she goes as a helpless observer, incapable of communicating with Emma or recalling anything about her life. I guess when you’re dead there’s nothing better to do than crack jokes.
Even though there are many wonderful things about the book such as the imagery; Sara Shepard does an exceptional job at making every little detail seem colossal, like we the readers truly are detectives, there is one bad spot. Her plot, generally speaking, can be unrealistic at times. Towards the end of the book, it’s Emma’s, and Sutton’s, birthday party. At the party there is a band, go-kart racing, alcohol and a very adult birthday surprise for Emma from Sutton’s boyfriend, Garret, in her bedroom, if you know what I mean. If Sutton was such a trouble maker around the city, constantly going to the police station and always failing classes, then why do her parents go through so much trouble to throw her a very expensive and very illegal, in more ways than one, party? It just doesn’t ring true.
And to my readers who read Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series, this series is a better than that one in some aspects. Firstly, it’s more logical. Emma doesn’t just give up in the beginning and refrain from telling the police or anyone anything. In fact, she tries to tell people that Sutton is dead at almost every chance she gets but everyone just thinks that she’s Sutton because, funnily enough, Sutton was a prankster and pulled stuff like that all the time. It’s also more appealing, instead of a story about four rich girls with semi-perfect lives, it stars a girl that is less than average. Emma is a foster child who gets most of her clothes from the thrift store which is a far cry from PLL. She’s likable, compassionate and not fake at all. She’s had it rough all her life. I felt pretty bad for her, just by trying to visit her long-lost twin sister, her life went from bad to awful. Lastly, it’s rather simple but it’s incredibly satisfying. By simple, I mean that it doesn’t have nearly as many characters, and therefore suspects, as Pretty Little Liars did which makes it easier for us as the readers to feel like we can point out the culprit.
Sara Shepard combines Sutton, a first person narrative point of view, with Emma, a third person limited point of view, to create a contemporary mystery with the theme; materialism and vanity are a woman’s greatest downfall. I assure you that this has never been done before. You need to read this book immediately!

The author's comments:
I won first place for this review in a contest sponsored by my high school book club.

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