The Lying Game: Never Have I Ever

By Sara Shepard

I have waited for a while to read this book! Sara Shepard is the author of the Pretty Little Liars series, which I love, and this is a new series that she’s working on.

This is the second book, after The Lying Game. Here is the Kobo store’s summary:

My perfect life was a lie. Now I’d do anything to uncover the truth. Not long ago, I had everything a girl could wish for: amazing friends, an adorable boyfriend, a loving family. But none of them know that I’m gone – that I’m dead . To solve my murder, my long-lost twin sister, Emma, has taken my place. She sleeps in my room, wears my clothes, and calls my parents Mom and Dad. And my killer is watching her every move. I remember little from my life, just flashes and flickers, so all I can do is follow along as Emma tries to solve the mystery of my disappearance. But the deeper she digs, the more suspects she uncovers. It turns out my friends and I played a lot of games – games that ruined people’s lives. Anyone could want revenge . . . anyone could want me – and now Emma – dead.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I really liked the first one, and this story picks up where the first left off. Emma is still pretending to be her long-lost twin sister, Sutton Mercer, and trying to figure out who murdered Sutton. Emma is certain that the killer knows who she is and is watching her every move, and has some close calls where it certainly seems like someone is out to get her.

Emma has only confided in one person, a boy named Ethan, that she is really Emma and not Sutton. He helps her try to solve the mystery, and of course, some romantic feelings develop. But Emma worries that if she gets close to Ethan, she’s going to put his life at risk.

We learn more about The Lying Game, pranks played by Sutton and her friends, including one that seems to hint at Sutton’s killer – but I won’t say any more about the plot!

Overall, this was a good, fun, quick read. I like that Sutton is always there, watching Emma, but unable to intervene or even remember things from her life. There are a couple of moments where Sutton is hit with a memory that sheds light on things for the reader, but since she can’t communicate with Emma, it’s only for our benefit. These memory flashbacks begin to make Sutton see that she treated people very badly at times. I like that we get to see Sutton react to her own bad behaviour, and begin to feel some remorse.

While acting as Sutton, Emma begins to get closer to the girls in Sutton’s clique, and we begin to learn a bit more about Sutton’s friends. This was good, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the girls, and Sutton’s friendships with them, as the series progresses.

We also learn a bit more about Sutton’s relationship with her parents, as Emma begins to get closer with the Mercer family. There were a couple of bonding moments between Emma and Mr. Mercer. As a foster child, Emma never had a great relationship with any parental figure in her life, and it was nice to see her try and get a bit closer with the Mercers and feel like she was part of a family.

I love the plot device of the murdered Sutton watching Emma try and track her killer, but without any memories or knowledge of who killed her. Sutton can only go where Emma goes and see what Emma sees – when Emma sleeps, Sutton sleeps; when Emma’s eyes are covered or closed, so are Sutton’s. Neat. I also like the way Sutton is able to interject some humour here and there – for example, while watching Ethan and Emma flirt, Sutton is shouting at Emma to kiss him already. It adds a little humour, and also gets Sutton’s character more involved in the story.

I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, which is unfortunately not out until February 2012!  This is a fun series, with a murder mystery, bitchy high school cliques, boyfriend drama, and I’m sure there are a bunch of plot twists! I can’t wait for the next book, and I am definitely recommending this series.

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