the lying game 1

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada

The text message is just three words: I need you.

Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her now.

Something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three best friends she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten. Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, after what they did.

At school the girls used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. But for some, did the boundary between fact and fantasy become too blurred?

And how much can you really trust your friends?

The Lying Game is the perfect novel for fans of Pretty Little Liars. It features a deep friendship between four young girls turned adults, secrets and lies, and an ending that will be great to some and disappointing to others.

What I enjoyed most about The Lying Game was Ware’s ability to forge and cement the friendship between the four women (Isa, Kate, Fatima, and Thea) through flashbacks and Isa’s internal thoughts in very few pages. The flashbacks contain enough information to keep the reader interested in the mystery of why they were summoned as well the intricacies of their friendship.

The writing style is straightforward with hints of stream of consciousness. Ware balances a delicate line of Isa’s internal mundane monologue and pertinent information to the mystery. The choice to make Isa the main character and frame the novel from her point of view is an interesting one. Isa the teenager and Isa the adult are two different people. Isa is a new mother, so the protection of her child and the life she’s forged with her partner is paramount. When I started the novel, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy Isa because she had a baby stuck to her side the entire time, however I came to enjoy that characterization and how it motivated her.
The reader comes to understand Isa and Kate as characters intimately, however Thea and Fatima remain underwritten. Thea and Fatima seemed like interesting characters, so it’s a shame that they were so underutilized.

The last 3/4 of the book is slower than the rest making the ending feel sluggish and slightly unsatisfying. All the questions are answered and the mystery is solved. Despite the sluggish pace, the final moments of the novel are full of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I thought I had the ending pegged, but, to my delight, I was wrong.

Overall, The Lying Game is the perfect novel for fans of Pretty Little Liars who are looking for a quick read that features a mystery seeded in friendship, lies, and deceit.


**I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.