Review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game (The Lying Game #1) by Sara Shepard

How did I get it: The library.

Why did I read it: I needed a break from all of the genres I’ve been reading lately. The Lying Game seemed like a good pick. Also the cover is sort of mesmirizing.

How I would rate it: 4 out of 5 stars.


 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?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.

Review: I don’t know if I was expecting to, or not but I really, really enjoyed this book!

Although not as heavily steeped in supernatural elements, there are still some unusual aspects to The Lying Game that relate directly to the paranormal. Both twin sisters, alive and dead, are trying to solve a murder mystery. As a ghost of sorts, Sutton has a unique vantage point since she sees what happens but literally can do nothing about what she witnesses. So she acts the way I do when I watch television, shouting out advice that can’t be heard or heeded by Emma who is clearly the nicer, better twin. Sutton also has about as much of a sense of what happened to her as Emma who is forced to pretend to be the sister she doesn’t know to keep from being killed by whomever the killer actually is. And every step forward just seems to move Emma five steps back.

Is the plot of mistaken identity gone horribly awry entirely believable? Do I think Emma would really get away with pretending to be someone she never met? Maybe, maybe not. But I think the plot worked pretty well overall. Obviously the suspenseful elements wouldn’t have worked well if I hadn’t ending up caring about Emma, but she was very easy to get along with and I loved watching her try to assume her sister’s identity while realizing just how much she doesn’t want to be her. I especially liked the moments where Emma got to be herself around Ethan, a loner who notices she’s different because she actually treats him like a human being. Ethan also has the distinction of being the first fictional teenage boy I’ve actually wanted to see get the girl in a very, very long time. Which is awesome.

Sutton was also easy to like since she is the book’s narrator and lacking in clues as well. I felt oddly bad for her the more she gets an eye- and earful of the rotten sort of person she seemed to have been. The adults in the book are the sort of adults that usually turn up in fiction like this, which is that they’re ineffectual, hardly notice anything, and certainly don’t involve themselves much in their teen’s lives. Most of the other teen characters alternate between being sort of pitable to being murder suspects so I’m not entirely sure how I feel about them. Well, outside of sincerely hoping that Sutton’s younger sister, Laurel, didn’t kill her, but we shall see.

In conclusion, a fun change of pace. Since I’m already reading Never Have I Ever, I’m fairly positive I’ll be reading a lot more Sara Shepard in the near future. And although this series probably needs no real recommendations from me, I definitely think The Lying Game will be a hit with fans of Anna Godbersen, Cecily von Ziegesar, and Lisi Harrison.


About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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7 Responses to Review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

  1. Pingback: On My Wishlist #40 | CSI: Librarian

  2. cecilia says:

    I have not read this series, although watching the TV version piques my interest. I have heard the TV show is different from the books – and gauging from your review, there is a HUGE plot difference. However, yours is the 1st review I have read, and it convinces me to maybe read the book that has been sitting on my shelf forever. 🙂 Could not get into the first Gossip Girl book, but I LOVE the show – so I’ve been putting off The Lying Game. Thanks for changing my mind!

    “And every step forward just seems to move Emma five steps back.” This sentence is just perfect – and doesn’t that make the pages turn even faster to see if she ever catches up?

    • April says:

      Very different but probably in a good way. It’s very much Gossip Girl meets Mean Girls, which I totally love. I hope you enjoy the series once you start it.

      And doesn’t that make the pages turn even faster to see if she ever catches up? – So much faster! Even knowing she’s probably not going to figure it out until the last chapter of the last book. There’s so many cool twists! Plus, I care about what happens to Emma, which is always nice.

  3. Pingback: Reader’s Progress #42: | CSI: Librarian

  4. Pingback: Review: Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard | CSI: Librarian

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