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Two truths and a lie, ladies. I’ll start.
Friends, this book was exactly what my reading/fantasy slump needed! The Last Time I Lied is a fantastically plotted thriller that kept me guessing until the very end. This is the summer camp thriller you’ve been waiting for!
My cat, Devi, as an accurate before and after representation.
Fifteen years ago, Emma was 13 and spending her first summer at Camp Nightingale. Two weeks later her cabinmates disappeared, never to be seen again. Unless you consider the fact that she’s haunted by what happened that night and secretly paints them into each of her paintings. Now Camp Nightingale is set to reopen for the first time since that summer and Emma is among a handful of prior campers returning as instructors. She is determined to figure out what happened to her friends that night, and it is almost immediately apparent that Emma didn’t tell all that she knew about that night. The Last Time I Lied is told in Emma’s perspective, alternating between the present and fifteen years ago: her experiences during those two weeks at camp before their disappearance and Emma digging to uncover the clues about what happened. Sager navigates the dual timelines device perfectly to slowly build the suspense in both.
Emma’s an unreliable narrator that holds back critical information from the reader. We know that she lied fifteen years ago but despite the narration being in first person she doesn’t think about those lies in detail. I really enjoyed the way the mystery grew and the plot developed slowly, and knowing from the beginning that Emma has a big secret had me on edge wanting to figure it all out – I love when the unreliable narrator is executed well, and it is here!
But the past clings to the present. All those mistakes and humiliations following us as we march inevitably forward. There’s no ignoring them.
I will admit that I struggled a bit with the first part of the book and wasn’t completely sold on the book. I really did not like Vivian as a character and the flashbacks reminded me of Regina George and Alison DiLaurentis. The fat shaming and control that Vivian exerts over her friends is lowkey gross and it made me angry. However by the end of the first part I was hooked and swept away into the story, devouring the rest of the book in one sitting.
Overall this is a thriller that definitely deserves the hype it has received, but it is best to go in as blind as possible. Know that as more information becomes available to the reader you will have a bunch of theories develop. This is in intricately plotted story and so well done that I was impressed when I got to the end. I really enjoyed The Last Time I Lied, and if I were to base my rating on the second part of the book it would have easily been a 4.5-5 star read but my reading experience in the beginning was closer to a 3.5. I definitely recommend this to everyone that loves thrillers and if you enjoyed Jar of Hearts this one is up your alley!
You can find information about my rating criteria here. This was my July 2018 selection. For a limited time can can get a free book when you join by entering ‘HEATWAVE’!