This is the second installment in The Lying Game series by Sara Shepard. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it is about two twin sisters; Emma and Sutton. These sisters were separated at birth, and have grown up in completely different environments. Emma has been living in foster homes since she was little and has always dreamed of having a normal life. On the other hand, Sutton was adopted into a wealthy family, has the nice house, nice car, and preppy friends; a life many of us would be envious of. When Emma stumbles upon a video of someone looking identical to her being strangled, she goes on the hunt looking for her long lost sister. Although the one thing Emma doesn’t know right away is that her sister Sutton has been murdered and her killer is trying to lure Emma closer, although we don’t know why — maybe to kill her too? Later on, Emma takes the place of Sutton and carries on her life to find more clues regarding what happened to her sister. The killer is closer than you think, and has even threatened Emma to keep up the act of being Sutton or something terrible will happen to her.
In the second book, Never Have I Ever, Emma is still pretending to be Sutton and is trying to get one step further in solving her sisters murder — and ultimately find out who the killer is. Throughout the first book and this one as well, Emma realizes that Sutton had a lot of enemies because of The Lying Game. This game was developed by Sutton and her friends while the premise of this game is to prank different people — and even your closest friends. This second book is a fast-pace read with lots of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing who the killer could potentially be. Sutton has done many things in her past to hurt people, and Emma is in real danger by trying to solve her sisters murder. However, if Emma wants to clear some names from her suspect list, she too might have to play The Lying Game.
Continue reading for my full review on Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard.
Synopsis: (from Amazon)
My perfect life was a lie.
Now I’d do anything to uncover the truth.
Not long ago, I had everything a girl could wish for: amazing friends, an adorable boyfriend, a loving family. But none of them know that I’m gone—that I’m dead. To solve my murder, my long-lost twin sister, Emma, has taken my place. She sleeps in my room, wears my clothes, and calls my parents Mom and Dad.
And my killer is watching her every move.
I remember little from my life, just flashes and flickers, so all I can do is follow along as Emma tries to solve the mystery of my disappearance. But the deeper she digs, the more suspects she uncovers. It turns out my friends and I played a lot of games—games that ruined people’s lives. Anyone could want revenge . . . anyone could want me—and now Emma—dead.
From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.
I really like the writing style of Sara Shepard. First of all, the narrator of the book is Sutton, the dead sister. I thought this was a brilliant idea because it is like she is a ghost following along with Emma and witnessing everything she does. Throughout the book, Sutton has flashbacks that give the reader a look into the life that Sutton had once lived. The really genius thing about this is the fact that those flashbacks give you clues to assume a new suspect or clear someones name. The amount of detail in the book was perfect as well. Sara Shepard really has a talent for writing YA novels.
The plot in this book was great. It was fast-paced and had lots of twists and turns. I really love the premise of the whole thing. Everyone has wished at some point in their life they had a twin and could switch places with them, and Sara Shepard has taken this simple and relatable thing and turned it into something great. The main plot in this story is Emma searching for clues to solve her sister’s murder. Although, I don’t know how long the searching for clues can last. I think readers are going to want some answers or they will lose interest in the books. Other than that, the plot is enticing and very well thought out.
Now we have the characters. This is the one thing that I am having trouble with in the series. I have read the first book and now the second. To me, I feel like I don’t know some of the characters if that makes sense. Another way to put it is some characters are just not developed or given a depth to them. Emma and Sutton’s characters are great, and we are always learning more about them. It’s mainly Sutton’s friends that I still don’t know that much about. This being Madeline, Charlotte and Sutton’s sister Laurel. I don’t know if this was intended to cast some mystery onto the other girls so we don’t figure out who the killer is or what. This was definitely the case in the first book, but I think the character development will improve in the books to come. However, we did learn some big things that impact the other girls’ lives in this book. The author of this book also wrote the Pretty Little Liars series. When I read the Pretty Little Liars books, all the characters had their own chapters and you could get to know them each as individuals and as a group. Maybe coming from that I had expected to have an in-depth look into all of the characters and it seems there was no character development because there was so much in the Pretty Little Liars books. So maybe I just expected too much from these characters but right now, Madeline, Charlotte and Laurel just feel like spoiled rich kids to me.
What I Liked:
I really liked the premise of the book and how the story is told. I also liked the pace of the book. It was a lot better than the first. There were also some twists and turns that I really enjoyed as well. Finally, I really like that this book went into more detail about The Lying Game and that Sutton’s flashbacks gave us clues about suspects and who the killer could or couldn’t be.
What I Didn’t Like:
There was not much that I didn’t like in this book. Although, the characters disappointed me a little bit. Also, I am still left with a few questions, and I don’t like that we haven’t gotten any real answers about Sutton’s murder or murderer — we only have suspicions. I don’t think I can handle another book of Emma just searching for clues. I need something more solid or I am afraid I will lose interest.
Buy Never Have I Ever:
The first book in this series is The Lying Game. I definitely recommend reading the first book in the series before you begin book 2, Never Have I Ever. Coming February 2012, the third installment Two Truths and a Lie will be released. You can Pre-Order it today if you so choose.
The Lying Game has been turned into a TV series on the ABC Family network. New episodes air every Monday night at 9/8c. Just like it’s sister show Pretty Little Liars, The Lying Game series is intended to go in a different direction than the books to give even the readers of the series a reason to watch it.