I ordered 3 books from Book of the Month in July. I hated Ghosted (review here) and loved Spinning Sliver (review here). Riley Sager's The Last Time I Lied fell somewhere in the middle for me. Apparently, Riley spent a horrible week at summer camp when he as ten and wanted us to relive his experience. Only half of that last statement is true.
The Last Time I Lied introduces us to Emma Davis, a 28-year-old art star with some serious issues. 15 years ago Emma's bunkmates at Camp Nightingale mysteriously disappeared into the night leaving Emma behind to deal with the fallout. The incident brings out the worst in Emma and she ends up carrying a load of grief and lies that is slowly crippling her. Painting becomes her catharsis. The only problem is she can only paint the missing girls and the forest they were lost in. Giant textured paintings of trees are all Emma is able to create. 33 paintings in all. All just rehashings of her childhood summer camp trauma.
Francesca Harris-White, the owner of Camp Nightingale, reaches out to Emma and offers her a chance to return to camp as an instructor for its first summer session since the incident. Emma returns to Lake Midnight (the man-made lake with a shady history that Camp Nightingale sits on) to teach a fresh batch of girls to paint and to uncover what actually happened to her friends 15 years ago.
Two Truths And A Lie
Emma's return to camp brings her face to face with former campers and instructors, as well as Theo Harris-White (Francesca's son who Emma accused of horrible things 15 years ago). 15 years and a new batch of girls only leads to trouble for Emma in ways she couldn't have imagined.
My favorite thing from The Last Time I Lied is the game two truths and a lie. I'll probably be incorporating it into game night WHEN I finally do decide to host another one. Introvert issues. Anyhoo, two truths and a lie is a game you play with a group of friends just sitting around. One friend says 3 things (two true things and one not so true thing obviously) and the group has to guess which statement was a lie. Easy. unless your friends are really good liars.
The entire book, The Last Time I Lied, is basically one big game of two truths and a lie. We all know how much I love a good unreliable narrator and Emma is as unreliable as it gets. You experience the book from her perspective but you constantly have to question how correct is what she perceived. Is this really happening? Is Emma lying, again? Is Emma omitting, again? Is Emma even sane?
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In the spirit of honesty, I enjoyed The Last Time I Lied, but it's not my favorite. The story was good and I really did want to find out exactly what happened but I would be remiss in my reviewing duties if I leave out the fact that it annoyed my soul at some points. Some of these annoyances I can't mention because of my strict 'no spoilers' rule but I'll elaborate on what I can.
First, I hate when a story builds up to something and then fizzles. I feel like the anticipation of what's haunting Emma about her actions 15 years ago falls flat when you find what she actually did or didn't do or say. I just expected.......more.
Secondly, I despise when something astronomically rare happens repeatedly. At one point I felt like "yeah, huge coincidence". Insert eye roll. But I will give Riley Sager a little grace here because, in the end, I guess, what I'm referring to could happen twice with the motive Sager provided.
I will say that I did not figure this story out until the end. I have a dark and twisted mind so I wanted some aspects of the book to be darker. But for the most part, I still found the story enjoyable.
- You should read this book.
- You will probably enjoy it.
- Kevia doesn't enjoy books.