Review: Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard

Two Truths and a Lie
by Sara Shepard

Goodreads Summary

Sutton Mercer watches from the afterlife as her long-lost twin, Emma Paxton, takes over her identity to solve her murder. But after ruling out her early leads, Emma still hasn’t found Sutton’s killer. A lot of people wanted her dead—but one name keeps popping up: Thayer Vega. When the gorgeous and mysterious Thayer returns to town, Emma has to move fast to figure out whether he’s back for revenge…or if he already got it. 

Set in a town where friends can turn into dangerous enemies and everyone harbors dark secrets, The Lying Game is a juicy new series that fans of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series—and the hit ABC Family show—will love.


I'm a bit underwhelmed here. I just can't help but feel like the book series has lost pizzazz since the TV series has started. 

In Two Truths and a Lie, Emma Paxton is living the life of her twin sister, Sutton, and trying to figure out who murdered Sutton. The book is narrated by Sutton watching over Emma, so it's in third person and first person at the same time. It still weirds me out. Sutton doesn't comment on things much, so it reads like third person limited from Emma's point of view, and when Sutton does comment on something, sometimes I don't even realize it and I feel like it's Emma. You would think I would be used to the narration after three books, but it still gets kind of confusing. 

I'm also kind of bored with the who-dun-it game we have going on. I feel like I solved the murder a long time ago. I hope the murderer isn't as predictable as I feel it is, but also not as completely abstract as in Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series. I think each individual book doesn't have a detailed enough arc. 

I think there are maybe two plots in this entire book, the plot of the murder and the plot of the Lying Games. Just having two plots isn't substantial enough to satisfy readers -- we want multiple things going on. In Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series, there are four narrators, and each narrator has two or more subplots in and of themselves. That's over eight overall plots arcing throughout the series. The Lying Game books have three total, one for the overall series and two for each individual book. I feel like Shepard needs to add some more beef to this series to show its true potential. 

Another thing about Two Truths and a Lie that bugged me is how short it is. I feel like the ending was rushed really badly, and I also felt like there wasn't a climax. If the climax is what I think it is, I don't think a memory of Sutton's can count as a climax since technically it's just a flashback and not necessarily a current plot event. It didn't seem to wrap the book up for me, and I felt like it just sort of ended mid-paragraph. That being said, I'm still moderately excited for the fourth -- and hopefully final -- book in the series, because Shepard writes really explosive series endings. Hopefully, I'll enjoy that one more than I did this one. 

With Two Truths and a Lie, I was expecting an eruptive ending like the one we had in Never Have I Ever, the second book in the Lying Game quartet. That book literally had my heart pounding and my pulse racing and I couldn'twait until Two Truths and a Lie was out just to see what Shepard would do next. But when I turned the final page of this book, I felt disappointed, like Shepard didn't step her game up. I do commend her, however, for having the stamina to write and edit so many books a year. She has a rigorous schedule, and I think it's fantastic how she can keep up. 

Let's move on to things I liked about the book, shall we? 

I really liked how Emma was trying to change Sutton's character and make her nicer. She was mending friendships and acting respectful toward adults, and since Sutton's watching over everything she does, Sutton might have a revelation and realize that it's not okay to treat people the way she has been for seventeen years. I appreciate those improve-yourself aspects. Shepard usually isn't too good with character development, but she's putting Emma on a path to really change who Sutton is. This is a major improvement over previous books of hers. 

I also enjoy, still, how Shepard plots. Her plotting is tight, and you can tell there aren't any extraneous scenes. Unlike some authors, she doesn't put random sexy times or kissy times to please the fans that like that kind of stuff. She does things that are necessary only; she doesn't write filler books, which makes me glad. 

There's nothing I dislike more than an author who adds books on to a series just for length and fan appeal and money *coughcough* BECCA FITZPATRICK *cough* (C'mon! You ALL know Silence wasn't necessary.) 

Besides Emma and Sutton, the characters thrive. I can't help but compare them to the TV show. I'm really glad the TV show didn't make everything the same. In the books, Ethan is a total dweeb/nerd/dork and Thayer is the ultimate bad-boy eye candy. In the TV show, it's reversed, which might seem odd to some, but it works. 

There's also another key aspect of the TV show that's different. Sutton's actually alive in the TV show. They're not trying to find out who killed Sutton, since Sutton isn't dead, but rather trying to find out who their birth mother is. The TV show is filled with so many wicked cliffhangers at the end of episodes, but unlike with the books, you only have to wait a week, as opposed to a half of a year, or more. 

I enjoyed the book immensely, even though it didn't get the normal five-star Shepard rating because of the few flaws I found while reading.

1 comment:

A. Knight said...

I liked the first book, but I had no interest in going on with the series, because I don't like a dragged out murder/mystery plot. I hate feeling like I'm forced to keep going with the series, just so I can figure out who done it? when, like you said, we most likely already guessed right.



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