Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cross my Heart and Hope to Die by Sara Shepard

Summary (from Goodreads):
When I died two months ago, my killer told my twin sister to become me—or else. Now Emma has it down to a T. She tosses her hair with the signature Sutton Mercer flip and can lead a Lying Game prank with the best of them. She’s even repairing my relationship with my adoptive family. The only thing she hasn’t done is solve my murder.

Then our birth mother, the woman who abandoned us, showed up in Tucson. Emma hasn’t seen Becky in twelve years, but Becky recognizes Emma immediately—as Emma. Is it a mother’s intuition . . . or does Becky know I’m already gone?
So, I know I keep saying that I’m done with this series…But, I have learned recently the book after this one is the last one. And I really want to know who the killer is! I’m starting the last book today (I got them both from my library). These books have been both compelling and interesting, and also repetitive and annoying. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with this series.
I love that it’s from the point of view of the twin that’s already dead. I love that there almost appears to be nothing supernatural at all whatsoever in any of the story except the dead twin’s ghost following her live sister around. And just the idea that this is the one fantastical thing in a book of normal, really makes this stand out. This is no ghost story or witch story. It’s more about family and contemporary YA issues. And I like this slight mixture of the two genres.
I don’t love the repetitive Scooby Doo type mystery solving. Each book is about Emma (and the ghost of Sutton) suspecting someone new and then clearing their names by the end. Does everyone really have to be cleared? I kind of think I’d like it better if there were a few people Emma was unsure about for longer than one book.
 And while I love the tv shows for Shepard’s books, sometimes there feels like something is actually missing in the text. Like it just makes so much more sense for Emma not to confide in more people in the show (thought she does), but in the book, I’m constantly asking myself, “Why can’t you just explain things???” And it gets so frustrating. Emma, in the books, just isn’t as confident as Emma in the show.
Any way, this book is about Emma/Sutton suspecting their birth mother, Becky. She returns to town in style –going almost immediately to the psych ward at the local hospital. There’s a new girl at school who gets the ultimate Lying Game treatment from Emma and Sutton’s best friends. There’s a party. And there’s actually a lot of violence from the male characters. There are at least two fights between Emma’s boyfriend, and Sutton’s boyfriend (who doesn’t know that Emma isn’t actually Sutton).
It’s always interesting to see the memories Sutton receives in small doses at random moments. And it’s becoming easier and easier for Emma to take Sutton’s place. But we all know this can only go so far. What happens when people realize that Emma isn’t Sutton? Who killed Sutton? And why is Sutton’s ghost attached to Emma so deeply?
Shepard is so good at laying the hints down thick, and I have my suspicions about a certain character, but I’m really hoping to be surprised in the last book. I have a feeling a lot is about to go down. And I’m so excited for this conclusion, and hopefully some answers. I give this one an 8/10.

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