The Lying Game

Teenage girls are crazy and make insane choices.

What else can I assume after reading The Lying Game, Ruth Ware’s newest thriller? Don’t get me wrong: I know it’s fiction, but I was a teenage girl once. I can see how things spiral quickly into bad choices that make a lot of sense in the moment and when you look back you want to beat your head on a wall out of shame and embarrassment. Teenage girls are horrible little things sometimes. Stupid sometimes too. Loyal to a fault, unless boys are involved. If you weren’t a teenage girl, you might think: this plot would never happen. You’d be incorrect.

The stakes are even higher for Ware’s characters.

Kate, Fatima, Thea and Isa covered up something when they were teenagers and attending boarding school in the small village of Salten, outside of London. And years later, in their ‘30s, it’s starting to become uncovered.

Grown women now, they’ve been living scattered across London and had very little contact with each other, only popping up for weddings and other major life events. But Kate, the only one who has remained in Salten, has called them back with a text message: I need you.

They all rush to Salten. However, as adults, their perspective on events years ago is altered. Their perspective on each other is altered. And slowly they start to realize that what they thought happened all those years ago may not have been correct. Things are even worse than they imagined.

I enjoyed The Lying Game, as far as thrillers go. It’s hard to write about thrillers for fear of letting anything slip, because what is a thriller without a shocking ending?

Ware is great at creating realistic female characters in bad situations (I polished off The Woman in Cabin 10 not so long ago) and she brings writes less expected characters. There are no cops solving the mystery here: it’s ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

Ruth Ware was at Events 14 (Grand Openings: The Alma Lee Opening Night Event) and 28 (Thrillers Three Ways) at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival.

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