Rating: 4 stars
Warning: This book review may contain spoilers that are pertinent to the overall plot of the story. Read review at your own discretion.
My sister wants the truth.
But sometimes the truth hurts.
For months, my long-lost twin, Emma, has been living my life and trying to solve my murder. She’s unearthed dark secrets about my friends, my family, and my tangled past. But when it comes to finding my killer, she keeps running into dead ends.
Until my body shows up in Sabino Canyon. Suddenly everyone knows there are two girls who look like Sutton Mercer – and that one of them is dead. At first the police assume the body is Emma’s. But as questions and accusations start flying, it’s harder than ever for Emma to keep playing me. The truth is bound to come out eventually. And when it does, Emma will be suspect number one in my murder investigation. If she can’t find my killer before time runs out, she’ll end up behind bars… or worse.
This book is my favorite overall in The Lying Game series. I enjoyed it because Shepard really picked up the pace of the story. But she did it in a way that didn’t rush the plot forward and made it enticing enough for me to finish reading within a couple hours from when I started. It was to the point where I couldn’t put this book down until I learned who killed Sutton and why.
Along with being well-written, it was a very emotional book too. As you follow Emma on her journey to discover her twin’s killer, you as the reader begin to feel like you’re a part of their lives. In many ways, the reader is very similar to Sutton because we are also on the sidelines watching all of this unfold and can’t do anything to help Emma find the killer. But we are just as much a part of her journey as Sutton. We experience everything Emma feels and find ourselves feeling emotionally involved in the story. So when all of the pieces finally come together, you are both happy and sad. Happy because Emma is finally getting answers, but sad because the one person she trusted so much since she came to Tucson turns out to be the person who hurt her the most. You experience her pain when the family she’s come to know and love kick her out because they think she’s responsible for Sutton’s death. You feel sympathetic to Emma because she’s had to work for everything she has and it still isn’t always enough. And these emotions make you want to continue reading to see if Emma gets the happy ending she deserves.
It turns out the person who killed Sutton is the person I suspected from the beginning. This makes me sad because I was really hoping someone else was involved, not the one person she trusted the most and went to when things got really bad. But there are many reasons why I suspected this character. One of the reasons I suspected Ethan’s involvement was because of his reaction to when Emma told him that she wasn’t Sutton. He didn’t seem as surprised as I’d expect, considering all of the information she confided in him through the short period of time they knew each other. I felt like he just accepted her as she was too easily and by being that way with her, he was able to keep his eye on her to make sure she didn’t slip up. I also felt like he was one of the characters in the story who didn’t have a real solid alibi. In the series, Emma suspects everyone around her until she is able to get an alibi from them. Except she never gets one from Ethan, even when she suspected him when they first met. But she doesn’t question him because of the feelings she had for him. It’s because she trusted him that when she discovers Ethan has a file at the hospital in Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, she asks him about it because she thinks he’ll tell her the truth. This file is one of the things that made me suspect him because it shows there’s something wrong with him even though he’s acting rationally. I also suspected him because she conveniently received those notes from the killer when he wasn’t around. He also manipulated himself into her life very easily, which made me question his intentions when I started reading this series. Then, there’s where she wants to look for clues and every time she does, Ethan tells her what she’s doing is dangerous. You think it’s because he wants to protect Emma from harm. But it turns out that’s far from the truth once Sutton finally has a flashback of her last moments.
I’m sad Ethan killed Sutton because he and Emma were really great together. As a couple, they seemed perfect. Both of them were outcasts with difficult lives, which was why Emma felt like he understood her. He seemed like a great guy who loved Emma very much and was the only person by her side when things really got rough in the series. He was the person she trusted the most to have her back, but turned out to be the person who did her the most harm. Then again, he was the one person she never suspected while she was searching for clues. But I also enjoyed finding out he was the killer because he played the part very well. Emma never doubted Ethan’s love for her because she cared about him so much that she wanted to protect him from being hurt. But it turned out she was the one who needed protection from him. Even though Ethan being the killer is considered a predictable move, I love it because it makes the series come together perfectly.
The one thing with Seven Minutes in Heaven I didn’t like was that it ended. I felt emotional after I finished reading this book because it was finally over for Emma. Her real family now knows who she is and she can finally be herself again. It was also really touching to see the tribute Sutton’s friends did for her at her funeral and I was happy to see Emma get the happy ending she deserved. I just enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want it to be over, especially considering the person who killed her sister. But it’s also nice that she’ll finally have a family of her own.
As a whole, my rating for The Lying Game series is 3.5 stars. I loved the characters, the plot of the story and all of the suspense behind finding out who killed Sutton. I also enjoyed the supernatural element of Sutton being on the sidelines, experiencing flashbacks about the day of her murder because it added a completely different element to the story. But I felt like the set up of each of the books in the series became predictable. I really disliked that in each book, Emma suspected someone of killing her twin only to discover evidence contrary to her suspicions. Then the person she ends up believing to be her killer in the final book is completely innocent and she doesn’t find out until it’s almost too late for her to help herself. Having the books play out this way almost took out the fun of guessing Sutton’s killer, even though I already knew who the killer was and didn’t realize it. It made it that much easier to eliminate people who were just as capable of killing her, which allowed me to continue following my instincts on who I suspected.
However, I really enjoyed reading this series and am completely glad I stuck with it. I definitely recommend reading it to those who like reading suspenseful stories and people who enjoy young adult literature as much as I do. I know I’ll definitely be reading it again in the future.