Monday, 29 July 2013


The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

This book is about a girl and her long lost twin sister.

I'm gonna say that again. Long lost twin sister.

And it's not The Parent Trap. The Parent Trap was cute and funny and came out when I was a kid and the idea of somebody having a long lost twin sister didn't seem all that bizarre. Now that I think about that film properly, it's ridiculous. And kind of evil. (Seriously, who gets a divorce and decides they'll take one twin each and hope nobody ever finds out? That's twisted, right?)

Yeah, so, The Lying Game. Essentially, boring foster kid Emma finds out she has a long lost twin sister named Sutton, and decides to go and find her. The only problem is, by the time Emma gets there, Sutton's been murdered. Now her murderer is blackmailing Emma into pretending to be Sutton, presumably so that nobody finds out she's been murdered, and Emma really has no choice but to go along with it, seeing as how nobody believes she's not Sutton anyway. (It is at this point that you might like to bang your head against a wall).

I'm not sure why I picked this book up. I knew before I bought it that it featured a long lost twin sister, and I didn't really think anything of it. Then I started reading and realised just how rubbish a concept that is. It doesn't make any sense to me. None. It's also pretty much lacking in story, which again I should have been able to predict. The Lying Game is the first in a series, which is currently six books long. Shepard's other series, Pretty Little Liars, has a running total of 14 books. She writes series, and that's not something I can get along with well. I don't mind a book being expanded on and turning into a series, but this was set up as a series from the word go, and to my mind that means that nothing happens for a long time. Book one is like a long and excruciating prologue. So, really, the miserable experience I had reading this book was my own fault, because I should have seen it coming and saved myself.

What I didn't expect is that I wouldn't like any of the characters. Not a single one. Not a single aspect of a single one. And then there was the writing. Take the first paragraph of chapter one (I'm skipping the prologue because prologues are there to be skipped):

Emma Paxton carried her canvas tote and a glass of iced tea out the back door of her new foster family's home on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Cars swished and grumbled on the nearby expressway, and the air smelled heavily of exhaust and the local water treatment plant. The only decorations in the backyard were dusty free weights, a rusted bug zapper, and kitschy terracotta statues.

So many details, none of which I actually need to know. Emma went out into the yard of her new foster family's home on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Done. That's all. And this went on and on and on through the book. I had to wade through the usually unnecessary and often boring details to find the bits of story, and as I've mentioned they were hard to spot anyway, given that there's very little plot.

The last thing I'll say - because I could bitch about this book all day long - is that the odd mix of first and third person narration bothered me. The vast majority is third person from Emma's perspective, but then dead Sutton chips in in the first person. Is she able to tell what Emma's thinking, and so everything in third person is just being relayed to me by Sutton? In the end, yes, I think that's what was happening, but it was horrible to read. Just horrible.

I can't think of anyone I'd recommend this book to, but, saying that, I've got a copy if anyone wants to take it off my hands??


  1. Yowcccch this does not sound good. I'm fairly certain I'll be staying away from Sara Sheperd's titles. I haven't heard the greatest things, and all of her series seem really repetitive of each other. I do like the show for her Pretty Little Liars series, though. So there's that.

    1. Yeeeah, I was not impressed by it. I haven't watched Pretty Little Liars yet, but I kept having it recommended to me, so when I saw a book by the author I leapt at the chance. Hopefully I'll get along better with the show!