Friday, November 4, 2011

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

So, I kind of fell in love with this show as soon as it started. I never missed an episode. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I would need to delve into the books. I may have to purchase book 2 on my Kindle, soon…I was worried that I wouldn’t like the book as much as the show, which was the case with Shepard’s other series (though, now I’m thinking I might need to give those books another shot). I was so wrong. The book is not only more dramatic, more intense, and more mysterious, but it throws in that whole new genre of YA lit I was talking about not too long ago: death.
The show involves two twins who discover each other as teenagers. One grows up in foster care (with a relatively hard life, Emma) and one grows up with super nice and wealthy adoptive parents, and a sister (Sutton). Emma comes and fills in for her wealthy twin sister, Sutton so Sutton can go off and investigate what on earth happened with their biological mother. There’s scandals, love triangles, a lot of lying, heated romance, and a ton of mystery that involves two families, a lot of covering up, and not knowing who knows what.
Sound good? Well, the book has the same story line, but the rich twin is actually a dead, rich twin. And everything is told from her point of view, while she’s stuck following around the twin sister she never knew she had. Also, in the book, the title makes a lot more sense. Sutton and her friends are known for the lying games, twisted pranks they play on other people and themselves. The point of the games is to make whoever you’re messing with truly believe that whatever is happening is actually real.
And while the girls’ heritage takes major focus in the show, what really steals the story in the book is trying to figure out who Sutton’s murderer is. For a while, it’s clear that the killer(s) have to be someone Sutton, and now Emma, is really close to. There’s still all the drama of hoping no one recognizes Sutton as being someone completely different. Only one person does. There’s teen runaways, boyfriend stealing, cruel pranks, near death moments, weird supernatural ghost/twin moments, double crossing, and murder. Emma can literally trust no one. And Sutton, while lacking a lot of memories and wanting to find her killer as much as Emma does, is conflicted about having her newfound twin take over her life.
I read this in one sitting. It reminded me a lot of Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and Jessica Warman’s Between. The romance was not as juicy as it was in the show, but I have a feeling it will get there. A lot of times, with books where the main character is dead, things get a little too spiritual/new age for me. And this book never did that. So much was focused on what Emma was doing and figuring out, that a lot of the whole Sutton being dead thing almost took the back seat to everything else. I almost forgot at times that the main character was dead.
As generally happens with the first book in YA series, not a lot is solved yet. And I really need some answers. So, I will be reading book 2 soon. And I know book 3 comes out this year. I love the show. I love the book. The book is a lot darker. And the characters in the book are way less trustworthy, especially after you find out about the last game played on Sutton. Also, the adoptive parents in the book played a much smaller role. I wonder if their story was just made up for more tv drama, or if that will come to play later as well. I give this a 9/10, and we’ll see how book 2 goes.

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