(Riley Sager, 2018)
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.
Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.
And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.
What I Liked
- Proved me wrong
- I went into this book super reluctant and skeptical. Sager’s first book, Final Girls, really fell extremely short for me. It had such an interesting premise, and just did not deliver at all. So when I saw that Sager was at it again with another thriller, I almost passed it up. However, I read the description and I was just itching to see if Sager could pull this one off, it sounded soooo good. Man- I am so glad I gave her another shot because this book was awesome. Very much exceeded my expectations!
- Emma’s paintings
- I love that the way Emma dealt with everything after all these years was through her art. I loved the descriptions of the paintings, and the fact that she consistently hid those girls in every single one was chilling. I loved every second of it.
- Kept you guessing
- Like any other “good” thriller, this one gives you a long list of people not to trust and you spend the entire book bouncing from theory to theory alongside Emma. I love being tricked to be honest. Now, that isn’t super hard to do in the first place, but I really like making my mind work a little harder to put together what actually happens in these types of stories. It is the basis on which I determine if I enjoyed a thriller or not- how easy it was to figure it out.
- Specific twist
- Without giving too much away, there is a development towards the end when Emma is finally starting to piece things together that I rather enjoyed. I think it was a unique “secret” that doesn’t end up being the solution to Emma’s particular question, but really intrigued me to be honest. I think it ties in well to the ultimate ending, and was used in a cool way. I am not sure I can say much else about it without giving it away but I am happy to talk about it with anyone who asks!
What I Disliked
- The age differences
- I don’t know why it bothered me so much but I just couldn’t wrap my head around Emma’s age differences with several of the characters, especially to those from “before” and how they are applied to the present. Its a weird thing to harp on, and I am not entirely sure why it bothers me, but it did so I thought I would make note of it.
- Build up to “the lies”
- Like in her other book, the author (in Emma’s voice) alludes to all these “terrible lies” she has told in the past. I felt that like in Final Girls, it was overdone to the point of becoming irritating. Once the lies are revealed, they really don’t have the significance that has been built up throughout the entire story thus far. I mean putting SO MUCH pressure and buildup on those few little details really ends up casting them off as not that effective when they do finally come out.
I was really surprised by this one. I truly did not have high hopes for it at all. I honestly thought it would be another awesome idea completely butchered and ruined like Final Girls was for me. But I was pleasantly surprised by how good this one was. I read it rather quickly, and enjoyed it quite a bit. The twist at the end I did not expect at all, but once it was revealed, made total sense to me, and sat better with me than the other “ending” that was being suggested. For those who were skeptical about The Last Time I Lied due to the disappointment that was Final Girls, I am here to tell you to give this a shot. It was a pretty great redemption if I do say so myself.
Ayeee, look at that! No reviews for two months and just like like two in a week! How do you like that rapid fire? In all seriousness though, have any of you read Final Girls or The Last Time I Lied? What are your thoughts? Let’s chat!!