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Book Review: The Lying Game (The Lying Game #1) 

Rating: 3 stars

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, care-free daughter when she hugs my parents goodnight? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.

This book is an interesting read, good at keeping the reader guessing at every turn. However, I sometimes found the storyline to be completely unrealistic and silly due to the nature of these characters and their lives. 

The main storyline of this book is about a girl named Emma, whose twin sister Sutton is dead. Emma knows completely nothing about her and doesn’t even know she has a twin until one day she sees a video of a girl being choked on the internet. She then searches for her sister, hoping to meet with her and maybe become a family. Instead, she finds herself having to take her sister’s place if she wants to live, quickly realizing there’s more to her twin than she realizes. Meanwhile, Sutton is watching all of this unfold and there’s nothing she can do to interfere. Her memories of her family and friends are completely blank and there’s nothing she can do to fill in the pieces and help Emma find her killer. 

What I enjoyed about this story was the dynamic between the sisters. Emma grew up in a completely different environment than Sutton, yet seems to be the one who truly has her head on her shoulders. Yet, Sutton is the one who had a much better life, but from what the reader learns of her character she isn’t really that great of a person. But you sympathize with her anyway because she’s dead and doesn’t remember what she was like when she was alive. I find it interesting that they have these two different dynamics because the reader is given the chance to see a different side of Sutton’s character. I also found myself emphasizing with Emma too because she’s put in a difficult predicament. She’s always wanted a family, yet the one time she’s given that opportunity is snatched away from her with the discovery that her twin sister is dead. Instead of spending time with her twin getting to know her better, she’s busy trying to find her killer. You sympathize with her because you want things in her life to go right for once. 

I also enjoyed this read because of Sutton’s perspective. She’s dead, yet she’s with Emma the whole time, trying to help find her killer. She can’t talk to Emma or communicate with her in any way, but is able to follow her around and see everything she does. I found it interesting that they had her character like this because they made her different than when she was alive. I also feel like it adds more to the story, because it feels like there’s something she’s not telling you. At the same time, I find it too convenient that she doesn’t remember anything. I know she’s dead and that probably has her memory wiped clean. But I feel like she has so many secrets already that I wouldn’t be too surprised about her lying either. 

However, while the mystery surrounding Sutton’s death makes for an interesting read, there are some things with The Lying Game I just don’t like. For one, I feel like Sutton’s character is a cliché. The popular girl dying just seems like something that happens in a lot of novels. Especially when it’s a popular girl who acts like a complete bitch, both towards her friends and those she’s not close with. I know it’s done with the purpose of making it that much harder to find her killer, since even her own friends could’ve done it, but to me it’s a really silly way to go about this story. It makes it harder for the reader to sympathize with her death and enjoy the story because even her friends become a cliché too. 

And I think they are because I’m surprised they haven’t figured out Emma yet. I think that’s one of the things I find unrealistic about this story, because Sutton is their friend. So they should be able to tell Emma doesn’t act like her even though they’re twins. Then again, if they’re responsible for her death, they wouldn’t act any differently. But I still find it hard that if they aren’t involved they don’t notice her acting differently than usual. Especially with the amount of time they’ve been friends with each other. 

Either way, The Lying Game is an interesting read. While I don’t know if I’ll stick with the series completely, I want to try and give it a chance by reading the second book and see. 

Book Review: The Girl On the Train

Rating: 2 stars

The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

EVERY DAY THE SAME

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

This book is overrated. I read this story because I was itching to read a thriller story, but was severely disappointed. 

The Girl On the Train is a good thriller story, but has so many plot holes that it makes it hard for the reader to enjoy the story. What made this story so thrilling to me was when Rachel couldn’t remember what happened the night Megan went missing. This made me excited because I wanted to find out what happened, wanted to figure out how the pieces would fall together. But then once I did find out, I was disappointed because I expected something more from this book. There were so many directions Paula Hawkins could’ve taken the story to reveal the killer to the reader. This was exciting to me too because it opened up the possibility that the killer could be any one of these people and for different reasons. But once Hawkins revealed who the killer was, I wasn’t happy with the decision. I was unsatisfied because there were no clues that this person was responsible until the last twenty pages. And even then, I felt like the character in question went through a complete change without any real explanation. I felt cheated because I expected someone we hadn’t been introduced to was involved. 

The reason I find the plot lacking in this book is because things just sort of happen without any real explanation. For example, we are introduced to the character Andy, a guy Rachel bumps into the night Megan goes missing. But we don’t really get much from him other than Rachel spotting him near her when she’s on the train. And whenever Rachel does finally talk to him, it’s for a really brief time and that’s it. Throughout the story, you think he’s going to play a major role later on. But then once you find out his role, you are left feeling disappointed because he ends up being a minor character this whole time. Another example that comes to mind is Rachel’s relationship to Scott throughout The Girl On the Train. It’s pretty up and down throughout the book because she lies to him in order to get involved in his life. When she first reaches out to him, he’s interested in talking to her and finding out what she knows. Then from there, things get a little weird. He confides in her, believing her to be a good friend of Megans’. It’s almost as if he depends on her because of the little piece of information she has about Megan. Then when he does find out Rachel didn’t know his wife, Scott overreacts, making it easy for the reader to believe he’s responsible for her disappearance. 

My least favorite aspect of reading The Girl On the Train was the characters. While I enjoy reading a story where the characters involved have serious flaws, I just couldn’t enjoy any of the characters here, because they were one dimensional too. For example Rachel is an alcoholic. Throughout the book, she drinks even after saying she’s going to quit or lay off the booze for a little while. But then she goes back to it again and again, resulting in her making terrible choices throughout the story. In many ways, it makes her unreliable because the reader doesn’t know if she’s telling the truth. But she continues doing it anyway. I also just didn’t like any of them either because they were completely unsympathetic. 

The only thing I enjoyed about this book is that it kept me reading until the end. Despite not liking the characters or the story, I was still curious to see how everything unfolded and was glad when it was finally over. 

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