The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Oh, Ruth Ware. You’ve done it again. Each and every one of her books is super interesting and just keeps you reading. One night, I was reading The Lying Game for an hour and a half before I looked at a clock and saw how late it was. I just couldn’t put it down. A girlfriend actually bought this book for me for my birthday a few years ago (Thanks, Kate!), and I am so glad I finally read it.
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
The Lying Game was another four star book. (I’ve had some good ones so far this year!) It kept me engaged and it moved so quickly. There wasn’t a ton of back and forth between the girls’ teenage years and present day, which was helpful. Plus, the chapters were super short. I found myself saying “Just one more chapter” more times than I can count.
As I was reading it, about halfway through, I felt that the big pieces of the story had already “dropped” and I wasn’t sure where else the rest of the book was going to go. However, the twists just kept coming!
The drawbacks of Ruth Ware’s novels is the general prevalence of poor decisions made when young or when copious amounts of alcohol are involved. I wish that wasn’t her “thing,” but this book wasn’t quite as bad as the others. I mean, you have Fatima who has embraced being Muslim, and Isa who is a new mom and conscious of what she’s putting in her body.
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