Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Last Time I Lied

There is something truly wonderful about reading a seasonal book in the correct season.  It just feels right.  It's even better when that seasonal book could only happen in the season you are currently experiencing, say, a book about trick or treating or New Year's day, or summer camp.

but it's still better when the weather outside the window matches the weather in your book

Well, if that appeals to you too, grab a copy of The Last Time I Lied and read it now.  Like literally right now, in the month of July.  

I read it at the end of June and my part of the US was experiencing a bit of a heat wave.  All day I would commiserate with people from my town about the humidity and the sun, but then, I would go home and curl up with my book.  The heat made me feel even more a part of the story.  I sat on the patio reading with a large glass of iced tea, turning the pages faster and faster and enjoying every minute. 

Suspense is my jam.  I've read tons of novels where I'm guessing and wondering about the outcome.  With this one I kept thinking, there is no way the author will be able to tie up all these loose ends.  I imagined the plot like a friendship bracelet and anticipated being let down when all the strands of yarn weren't knotted and pulled tight.  I was certain Riley Sager wouldn't be able to bring a good sense of an ending to this book.  But I was wrong. 

Not only did Sager manage to bring proper closure to all the threads, he also did it in ways that were surprising and thorough.  Each part of the story was well conceived and I didn't feel like I needed more information or that he let any of the characters slip through the cracks. 

The Last Tim I Lied is about Emma, a girl who goes to an elite summer camp as a young girl.  At the end of camp, her three bunkmates disappear and are never seen or heard from again (I promise this is not a spoiler).  Emma gets invited back to the camp as an adult.  She is offered a job to teach art and after a short debate, she agrees, hoping to give herself a little closure.  Then things get wild. 

almost as wild as meeting your twin for the first time

The initial agreement of Emma to return to the camp was a little unbelievable, but once you get past how she gets to camp, then the real suspense and drama begin.  

A good suspense novel can be hard to come by and this one was the perfect blend of stress and mystery without being too gory or graphic.  I never felt really grossed out and didn't have to hide the book under my bed.  It was smart:  instead of using cheap gore to get a response Sager made me take a hard look at how girls relate to other girls (some of the insights made me double check that Sager is a man because they were just so spot on) and the ways we lie to each other and ourselves.  These themes are truly scary.  

Emma was a likable, flawed protagonist.  Another suspense trope that is super common is the unreliable narrator and while Emma is far from perfect she's not drunk or high throughout the book and again, I appreciated that Sager did not take the easy way out.  The other characters in the novel were well conceived and realistic.  Some were more likable than others.  *wink, wink*

I really don't want to give anything away so I'll end my review here.  But, I really do hope you'll read it.  And, if you did read it, what did you think?  Summer scares are the best.  


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