Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
My rating: 3 of 5 genies
Published: December 7, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 307
Source: Library Loan
Format: Paperback
Purchase At: The BookDepository.com or Amazon.com

Goodreads Summary
I had a life anyone would kill for. Then someone did.

I may not remember much, but I know I led a charmed life. Even in death I’m getting something no one else does: an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never got to meet. Now, in order to figure out what happened to me, Emma needs to become me. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Hug my parents good night like she’s their daughter? And can she keep up the charade even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

Let the lying game begin.

My Thoughts

Recently, I finished reading "The Lying Game" by Sara Shepard. Although it wasn't an overly profound book, the concept of a murdered girl watching on as her long lost twin tried to unravel the mystery of her untimely death really intrigued me. Parts of The Lying Game actually remind me quite a bit of the Pretty Little Liars series, also by this author, because of the social hierarchy/ group dynamics between Sutton and her friends being as they are. Very easily, I picture Sutton giving Alison DiLaurentis a good run for her money; I will say this only once, she was almost "Ali-crazy." Sutton dominates and Mads and Char are her formidable sidekicks; it would be Alison all over again if the Liars weren't the least bit likeable. Char and Mads are different characters from Spencer, Aria, Hannah and Emily mainly because they hit back; Sutton runs the show but her friends have their hands in there too, controlling almost fair share of the power. I did not like them as much.

Char was so vindictive and catty! It is sad because she's my favourite character in the ABC Family adaptation, and to see her undergo such a vicious change was very disheartening, this is one facet of the book to screen translation which did not pan out well. Despite obvious differences, in ABC's version, everyone knows everyone and the drama is unnecessarily always through the roof! The departure from said antics is a welcomed relief, and I like not having to deal with all these complications/bitchy Sutton. By all means, I am not obnoxious enough to believe that if a book becomes adapted into a movie or TV show, the characters must look exactly the same, no, I only appreciate it when they look similar to what I have envisioned. However, the changes I alluded to are noticeable and the story-line estranged from the original to the point that a part of me cannot help but think, what is the purpose in keeping the name of the original, and that of the characters too, if you will only butcher them?

Char in the Book: she's sore at Sutton for something the girl did, and let's just say, she is most definitely a suspect in this murder. In comparison, Charlotte in the show is so sweet and she couldn't hurt a fly. The show is such a stretch from the book, Sutton isn't even dead! She is manipulative, selfish, and alive as Emma; the race is close between the two and that which I like best, but I actually prefer the book. Even though Char's likability is sacrificed, there is something to be desired by the much simpler run of things.

Next on the List...

Ethan , the very deep boy next door, also undergoes a change. Instead of the "bad-boy" character television makes him out to be, Ethan likes deep poetry, keeping to himself and for some reason, being guarded about his feelings is a must for him. Even his last name is different.

These minor changes aside, I do not think complaining about a show already 20 episodes in will get me anywhere, the story eventually plays out. It becomes known to Emma that Sutton was indeed murdered and most likely by someone closest to her - her friends. I wasn't really surprised by this, partly because they strike me as "fake friends" more than true BFFs. These girls (Sutton, Charlotte, Madeline) partake in "The Lying Game" which is basically an on-going competition to see who can fool each other the best; each prank is worse than the one before it, basically think of a Chucky the Clown's version of April Fools with no expiry date on the crazy. Maybe it's a good thing that their antics don't leave me amused in the slightest - I'd be worried if they did - but their games are cruel and warped in a way that pretty much set my blood running a tad bit chill. The girls are "friends" but do not ever really act like it. I do not understand their relationship, because it seems pointless to me befriending people who you constantly need to be watching your back around. Then again, maybe I am just not rich enough?

Eh, it doesn't matter, I could do without friends of this sort. I pity poor Emma, she walks into this lifestyle after her seedy foster-brother, Travis, basically gets her kicked out; having nowhere else to go Emma tracks down the girl in the video remarkably similar to herself and stumbles on Sutton Mercer's life, and the sister she never knew she had. Too bad Sutton's no longer there and her killer wants Emma to act like her sister so the disappearance goes unnoticed. Once again, Shepard has a way with mystery and in this instalment her she is in her element; the other novels in this series are literally calling my name. I want to know who killed Sutton.

I feel like there are so many possible offenders, Sutton is disliked enough, how is it that only one person has killed her? I feel like it should have been a Facebook event:

Event Deets: Operation Kill the Bitch (Sutton)

Probably the one you've been waiting for, for forever.
Meeting Place: Char's house, BYOP (Bring Your Own Pitchfork)
RSVP ASAP, she only dies once!

Yeah, I'd drink to that.

*Sigh* Emma really has her hands full, she isn't nearly as shrewd as her twin and pretty much breaks down at every turn in the book. She does come across as considerably weak, in my opinion, because if I knew for certain that there was some crazy psychopath responsible for the murder of my twin lurking close, I would go Batman on their ass! It makes no sense to cower in fear. This person wants you dead; they have killed your sister. Grow some balls, woman!

Eeesh. Hopefully Emma expands into more of a protagonist. I am a little confused as to who exactly is running the show when it comes to narration in this book as there were instances when Sutton overshadowed Emma. At this point, she is the more dynamic twin! And I hate Sutton.

I'm waiting, Emma, make me love you! I am still holding out hope.

Fingers crossed, maybe this girl will do a 180 and surprise me, after all, she did walk into a pretty gargantuan mess with her only normal family being cruelly stripped away, she had a lot to take in. I'm still hoping she defines herself soon; a lot of the time it was like everything was about Sutton and Emma got lost along the way. If the two of them are protagonists, the attention should be equally shared.

Shepard mysteries are becoming a guilty pleasure. I love that there is always a certain air of aristocracy and upper-class to her stories although I felt it less in The Lying Game than Pretty Little Liars. The Mercer's are rich, I just didn't think they were that rich, if that makes sense? Either way, I have the distinct feeling Sutton probably hates me now for dissing her lifestyle, personality and friends. But who really cares?!? Sutton's dead.

It was worth the read, give it a try! 3/5 genies.

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