Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: Lies You Never Told Me - Jennifer Donaldson

Lies You Never Told Me
by Jennifer Donaldson
Published May 29th 2018 by Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense

Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.

Quiet, shy Elyse can't believe it when she's cast as the lead in her Portland high school's production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn't sure she's up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye--someone she knows she absolutely shouldn't be with--she can't help but be pulled into the spotlight.

Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable--breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She's not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.

Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.

4 Stars

Elyse. Gabe. Sasha. Caroline. Four students, four very different lives. Lies You Never Told Me is a twisted tale told from the perspective of Gabe and Elyse, two high school students who have never met, but whose lives are about to be changed forever. A gripping Young Adult Thriller, Lies You Never Told Me is a novel about consequences. Elyse is starring in a school play for her first time and she catches the eye of a handsome, new fellow. The spotlight is new for her, its promises too enticing, but there's a line that once crossed she may never come back from. Gabe wants to leave the comfortable life as the popular girl's boyfriend behind, but Sasha is vindictive and not about to let him go. Quiet loner Caroline is just the sort of girl he'd like to spend his time with, but she has secrets and soon the truth and lies are too tangled to differentiate.

This novel had my attention right away, from the intriguing summary to the unique cover, but I never expected to be so caught up in a young adult thriller. The story is gripping, with characters that are believable and events that, though realistic, are unfathomable to think of. There's prejudice, abuse, mental illness, forbidden romance, addiction, poverty, and more lies than I could possibly keep track of. It's a well written novel that reads true to American teen's experiences growing up today. While I guessed at the twist very quickly, I remained engaged from start to finish, loving how Jennifer Donaldson amped up the drama and weaved two very different stories together. I really felt for both main characters, the weight of their personal situations too heavy for youth. Each has had to be more mature than is expected of others their age and their daily life is very different from others. While some guys are playing football, Gabe is picking up his younger sister and doing his best to protect her from Sasha's dangerous plan. Elyse has been in the shadows forever, picking up the pieces at home and parenting her mother, it was obvious that positive attention is something she sorely lacked. Each ends up in a dangerous position, the lies each has told pulling them farther from the protection of adults and deeper into the deceitful web of a vengeful ex and a man far too old to be romancing a high schooler.

There's a fine balance between high school life and the thriller nature of the novel taking over that, but I found it to be blended quite well. There's classroom gossip and locker room flirting, each tinged a shade of red as the characters await what could come next. Jennifer Donaldson has written an incredible suspenseful thriller with Lies You Never Told Me. Readers of all ages will enjoy the did they, didn't they storyline and will appreciate the relevant social issues that make this novel so diverse. I found it to be very clever considering it's a debut novel and am interested to see what comes next from author Jennifer Donaldson.

ARC provided by Razorbill of Penguin Random House.

Post a Comment

© Carlene Inspired. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.