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Review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

T h e  L y i n g  G a m e
Author: Sara Shepard (Twitter)
Release Date: 12/7/10 (Hardcover)
Other Works: Pretty Little Liars 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 307
Source: NetGalley & HarperTeen (Thank you!)
Go Buy It: AmazonBarnes&Noble 
Overall Feelings: Deeply thrilling, sickly suspenseful!
Synopsis- "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?" Goodreads»»
Quick Thinking: The Lying Game was a darkly, madly twisted and spine-chilling read with its captivating, fast-paced suspense and its sick, veiled killer(s) lurking in the shadows. TLG will keep you tied up in knots from concentrated, agonizing anticipation and anxiety, luring you deeper into this sickly thrilling tale of two unacquainted twins whose lives get turned upside-down, contorted every which way when one twin dies. . .more like, is murdered and the other is forced to assume the role of the deceased twin. Pick up The Lying Game and ride a rollercoaster of angst, suspicion, and "white-hot fear" with the heroine, Emma Paxton. 

My Thoughts In-Depth: *Warning: May not be spoiler-free.* In such a short time (and in a relatively small amount of pages) Shepard pushed me into the lives of Emma Paxton and Sutton Mercer, the tragedy of Emma's twin's horrifying kidnapping and murder, with ease and such skill...
I personally am not one for the suspenseful thriller kind of novel, so I wasn't expecting much. But with my finishing it, I'm mad, actually mad that's it over... I was thinking, Tell me who the damn murder is! several times throughout the novel and to have it end without unveiling the killer kind of ticked me off, in a strangely good way though... I've never been suspicious of so many characters before either! Usually it's pretty easy to pinpoint the person guilty of the crime, but not in this case: the killer could be anyone...

As far as characters go, I appreciated Emma as a heroine. She's has a good heart, a strong, intelligent mind, and above all, she's totally, utterly realistic. Sutton, on the other hand, I didn't like very much...she's the kind of girl that gets sadistic pleasure from playing harmful, gone-too-far pranks that *shouldn't* be found funny at all... It's almost a wonder she didn't get killed sooner after all of the awful things she's responsible for doing. Though, in the novel I, The Reader, only got to see the bad side that was put on display, but never really got down to the actual person she was.

There's also Laurel, Sutton's sister, Charlotte, Madeline, and the Twitter Twins (whose real names escape me at this moment) who are all Sutton's circle of followers, I mean friends. All of them have seriously deep issues, and I'm almost positive that at least one of the group is The Killer. Garrett, Sutton's boyfriend, lacked substance and character... He was basically Sutton's doll, one she dressed up and ordered around, whom she claimed to love.  And then there's Ethan...I want me some more Ethan. I'm assuming he's the love interest as far as Emma's concerned, and what a fine choice he is. He's kind of perfect in that normal-boy-with-quirks kind of way.

Shepard's writing style was easy to follow and comprehend, nothing crazy, indistinct, or unclear yet it was still intriguing and kept me wanting to read... and by the time I got to the ending I was tightly wound up mess, acting as I'm sure Shepard envisioned her readers after unraveling this novel. I absolutely cannot wait to dive into the sequel, as well as any/all ensuing books...

Best Friend Forever: Emma... and I'd say Sutton too, if she weren't so darn wild!

Wish-He-Was-Mine: Ethan Landry (Oh, yes please!)

Frenemy: Laurel and Charlotte (aka sickos with unattractive attitudes)

Bonus Factor: Sutton, as a ghost tagging along with Emma, has no recollection of all that happened to her due to her fading memories as a spirit leaving The Reader in suspense.

Favorite Quotes/Scenes:
"Out in the aisle, the cop pressed the latch to open the top compartment of Nisha's locker. Charlotte grabbed Emma's hand. 'Get ready.' As the door opened, something shot out of the space. Nisha screamed and covered her eyes. Emma braced herself, too...and then she saw a shiny Mylar balloon float lazily into the aisle and bob to the ceiling. It was in the shape of a banana with bug eyes and a deranged smile. 'That's bananas!' a robotic voice rang out from the balloon as it bounced off the ceiling. 'That's bananas! That's bananas!' A note dangled from the end of the string that said GOTCHA!" (110)
"She swiveled to the computer, clicked the mouse on Sutton's Facebook status update window, and began to type: Game on, bitches.
Three responses to the status pinged onto the screen almost immediately. The first comment was from Charlotte: A game? Do tell. I'm in! Then Madeline: Me too! And Laurel added: Me three! It's a secret, right?
Kind of, Emma typed in answer. Except now the prank was on them. And this time it was a matter of life and death. (140)
Extra [Sara Shepard]-Related Linkage: BioBooksPretty Little Liars Facebook
Sequel: Never Have I Ever

Reading level: Young Adult

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: HarperTeen (August 2, 2011)

Pre-Order: Amazon

Video: The Lying Game Q&A with Sara Shepard:

&Thanks for reading!