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 goodnight? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?
Let the lying game begin.
**I listened to the audiobooks, read by Cassandra Morris**
The following will include reviews for each individual book. PLEASE note that each review is spoiler free, but that the reviews for some of the later books may spoil some things for the earlier books.
The Lying Game (#1)
I listened to this as an audiobook, performed by Cassandra Morris. I do have to say that I’m not a huge fan of Morris’ narration just since it bordered on sounding very valley girl. I can totally picture the main character speaking with a valley girl accent, but actually hearing it for seven hours made me feel like I lost a couple brain cells. Other than that accent, I have not complaints with her narration!
Just to contextualize this better, I like to listen to YA audiobooks as I’m trying to fall asleep because I find that I generally don’t have to pay super close attention to them like I would with adult novels – so this book was perfect for the occasion!
In general I found the story really gripping, especially since it was my first time reading something with this type of premise (which I found super intriguing!). I also didn’t read the synopsis before listening to it, so I went in 95% blind (only knowing it was a YA mystery). All I saw was that this book is from the author of Pretty Little Liars (the show of which I’ve seen and loved), as was like, “yep, this is happening”. I was pleasantly surprised that I did get that same PLL, mystery vibe from this book!
The pacing of the story was great; there was plenty of action but managed to avoid being overwhelming. I especially liked the POV (don’t worry, not a spoiler), as you essentially follow a simultaneous first person perspective of both main characters; the story is told from Sutton (terrible name, right? But I think it’s supposed to resemble ‘Satan’ as a personality tip-off) who is dead but her ghost is linked to her twin sister, Emma who is alive. So we sort of see through both Sutton and Emma’s eyes at the same time – it was really well done and gave the story an added touch of depth, intrigue, and fantasy.
The characters, on the other hand, seemed a little flat – at first. At the beginning of the story everyone, besides the main characters, really seemed like ‘tropey’ high school students with the rich friends, sports-star boyfriend, secretly sensitive boy-next-door… But then as the mystery progresses, you start to question everything and realize that nobody can really be trusted, and nothing is as simple as it appears on the surface.
The one main thing that really bothered me about this book – and about all books that do this – is that it didn’t really have an ending, the mystery isn’t solved. Now, I think it’s completely fine if the mystery isn’t solved at the end of a book AS LONG AS there is some sort of conclusion reached, even if it’s not the solution to the main problem. But I really felt like this was a cheap way of forcing readers to buy the next book – I hate when books do this -.-
Overall I’m giving this a 3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed it, I can’t predict how it’s going to end, and am for sure going to continue on with this series.
Never Have I Ever (#2)
This book I found to be a bit more predictable than the first one. While I did guess most of the ‘twists’, it was still pretty entertaining. If you liked the first book or if you like PLL, you’re going to like this one too. As only the second book in this long series, I already knew that the killer wasn’t going to be discovered (like in PLL), but it was still fun to listen to. There were a couple split seconds where I second-guessed myself, but quickly stuck back to my guns and was correct about *all* of the twists. To me this is just a quick, fun, teen drama mystery novel – nothing crazy good. Though I do imagine that for younger audiences (maybe young teens) this might come off as a more thrilling, nail-biting story.
Overall, this was exactly what I was expecting and what I wanted. So I’m rating this 3/5 stars. ON TO THE NEXT BOOK!
Two Truths and a Lie (#3)
This book was quite a bit more predictable and I’m starting to feel like these books are very repetitive with the main character focusing in on a different person as a suspect for each book.
Hide and Seek (#4)
I’m starting to get really annoyed with the way the main character does not refer to people as suspects. We have already seen how in each book Emma fixates on one or a few characters as suspects and tries to find hard evidence to prove their crime; so you would think that by now she would realize that there is a huge difference between a ‘suspect’ and the definite ‘perpetrator’. So it is really frustrating when Emma, again, begins to suspect someone and immediately jumps to saying that they 100% did it. It makes her seem really naiive, which is ridiculous considering what she has actually accomplished in her circumstances, and it makes me feel like the author is treating the audience as idiots. You can only use the same plot trick so many times before it’s repetitive, tired, and super predictable. Despite this annoying and predictable plot, I still do enjoy the book enough. I just know that at this point in the series nothing huge is going to happen, which makes it a bit more boring than the rest – it definitely suffers from middle-book-syndrome.
Cross My Heart, Hope to Die (#5)
Finally!! The author has broken that annoyingly repetitive narrative and has begun to add some new stuff. This book was quite a bit more exciting than the previous one because it isn’t all about Emma suspecting one person only to be proved wrong. Rather, we get into more personal history and uncover family secrets which really caught me off guard in the best way. I feel like this is the first book that has significant character development, moving a handful of characters beyond being ‘types’. As well, rather than Emma following false leads in her case, more progress is made in this book as Emma really is learning crucial information that is bringing her closer to the truth. I think this is a really good second-to-last book in the series and it makes me excited for the final one.
Seven Minutes in Heaven (#6)
This was a pretty good conclusion to the series, it really couldn’t have ended any other way. I did have the killer pegged since book #3, so I did roll my eyes quite a bit at the attempts to delay revealing the killer because by this book, it seemed pretty obvious. I don’t think the killer’s identity is really, really obvious until this final book when Emma’s list of suspects dwindles, but there are quite clear hints dropped in the books leading up to the final one. What I do enjoy about this whole series is that it isn’t one of those book series where you would never have been able to guess the killer because of a huge twist, but rather one of those series where you can actually follow along with Emma and try and solve the murder case too. It is understandable why I, emotionally detached from the situation, was able to solve the case three books before Emma, so I thought it played out pretty well in terms of pacing.
The only thing that worries me a little about this and the previous book is the way mental illness is presented as crazy and violent. I understand that Emma would be nervous around her mentally ill mother just because she is, by default, a suspect in the murder case; but in this book, I feel like too much is blamed on mental illness. Nonetheless, I was still content with the way it ended.