Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beautiful Lies ~ Jessica Warman (earc) review

Beautiful Lies
Walker Children's
August 7, 2012
422 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon


Alice and Rachel are two identical twins so similar in looks that even their aunt and uncle - whom they live with - have trouble telling them apart. Lately, however, they've been acting - and dressing quite differently, Rachel being the more obedient, reserved twin while Alice parties, wears much more make-up and has an older boyfriend.

The ultra-strong connection between the two of them is still present, though.

When one twin disappears, it's up to the one left to not only convince everyone of the severity of her absence, but to find her before things get worse. Their connection allows the girl safely at home to feel - and see manifestations - of the injuries she believes her twin is experiencing.

Not sure who she can trust with what - if any information - will she choose the right people to share the right information with . . . and find her sister?


I loved Jessica Warman's Between and was super excited when I saw she had something new coming out. Beautiful Lies, while very different plot-wise from Between has a bit of the same tone. Even the seemingly normal aspects of the characters lives, of the story take on a different feeling when told by Warman.

This is a psychological thriller and its evident in really all aspects, all pages of the tale, not just the more intense ones. It's in the seemingly mundane, ordinary events where she can really set - and keep you in - a mood.

I've seen more about twins - and the possibly bond or connection between them - in film or on television than in books, so this was a great change. With the twins separated here, almost from the very beginning, we don't see much of their interaction in the present day - at least in person. Readers do, however, get memories of the two as younger girls, stories or things told to others, things that all help to form a picture of their relationship with each other, with their family members and friends and how they were each - and together - viewed.

The characters in Beautiful Lies are great. They're not the everyday, predictable secondary - or main - characters you expect to read about and I love that the secondary characters have their own, incredibly interesting stories, too. It not only makes the story more interesting, but it makes the characters and the novel feel more whole.

Warman is excellent at setting - and keeping - a mood. The parts of the story that feel most important definitely keep the reader in the mood, but so do the pages - and events - in between that are more about characters and establishing things (which are also important but could easily lose the feeling established).

Early on in the novel we learn that even as our narrator is learning who she can trust, she may not be all that reliable - and it adds a whole new layer of intrigue and enjoyment to the book. Not only are, as the reader, left questioning some of what she does, you want to go back and reread a thing or two, wondering if things were as they were presented. It's a great twist.

While I do really love psychological mysteries, Beautiful Lies seems to be a good read for those who don't, already, love the genre. Independent of being a good mystery, it's a very enjoyable story. The twins' history, their family, the disappearance, the bond between the sisters, what's happening to the sister who's not missing and the secrets they've been keeping all add up to make it a really enjoyable read.

Rating: 8/10




thank you to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the egalley of this title to review; part of the blog tour for Beautiful Lies

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