by Chelsea Pitcher
“When Gavin hit the ground, Brett leapt out of his chair. His heart was hammering. Had someone spiked Gavin’s drink? Or was this all part of the game? It was funny, how easy it was to forget you were at a murder mystery dinner when a classmate passed out on the hardwood, but Brett wasn’t the only one who was confused.
Everyone was hurrying to Gavin’s side.
Parker go there first. He held a hand to Gavin’s mouth, to make sure that he was breathing, while Juniper checked for a pulse.”
Ratings & Reviews
Book Grade: C
This Lie Will Kill You is engaging and clever, but fairly unoriginal. I struggled when reading this because I feel like it has been done before and done better. The book is a blend of mystery, suspense, and twisted horror scenes, literally bringing a nightmare night to life. All of the characters are strong examples of literary stereotypes – the jock, the rich boy, the brain, the nerd, and the popular pretty girl. Chelsea Pitcher doesn’t dive much beyond that, unfortunately, so the characters stay largely within their bubbles. Each character does have a deep, dark, secret, though, that defines them and shapes their action throughout the novel.
Not only did I struggle with the lack of originality, but I also didn’t find the hyperbolic actions of the characters to be realistic. I am a big fan of mystery and suspense novels, and this hit the mark in some regards – there are twists and turns and I didn’t anticipate the big secret that was revealed at the end. This Lie Will Kill You did have me tied up in knots at times as I tried to figure out who was behind each of the cruel and devious actions, but I often found myself distracted by the other, more predictable elements. Please don’t get me wrong, this book is dark and twisty and blends genres seamlessly, but it is a plot that has been done before and there is nothing truly unique about this novel.
Movie Rating: R
This Lie Will Kill You is fairly graphic and intense and as such is really only appropriate for older teens. Even then, there is a lot of stuff that should be handled with care.
There is a lot of swearing, abuse, manipulation, death, stalking, and of course, an infamous sex tape that is central to this plot. Stereotypical social hierarchies loom large in this book – the plot absolutely plays up the rich boy, jock, and brainiac stereotypes – but it also exploits certain characters, making Ruby a sexy teenager who is both assaulted and emboldened because of her appearance. There is a dark moment when Ruby fleetingly thinks about a time when she was raped in all but title, but the author chooses to skip over this in order to play up the more sinister aspects of the mystery plot. Additionally, the whole notion of a teen sex tape is a bit too mature for most YA fans. This might be acceptable in adult novels, but it seemed to be trying a bit too hard to be edgy.
In addition to Ruby, Brett, deals with parental abuse and neglect as well as poverty and depression; these are addressed only as facets of his character and rather than building empathy for him as a figure, readers find themselves swept up into the murder mystery dinner.
This Lies Will Kill You emphasizes the murder mystery dinner and sprinkles in horrific events from one year ago at the expense of diving into the serious and troubling aspects of the different characters. Not only does this book require maturity because of the graphic violence and sexual content, but it also requires an older reader who can understand that just because the author neglected to address really crucial, life-shaping traumas does not mean that those are any less important.
Would I Buy This for My Library: No
These Lies Will Kill You has a plot that has been done before and done better. The writing is not great; when I first saw this book, I was surprised I hadn’t heard more about it, but after reading it, I understood why. The story is wholly unrealistic and written in a way that emphasizes stereotypes while also neglecting significant traumas. Each of the teens in the story has a secret – which is a great plot point – but a teen sex tape is a bit too racy to feature in a YA book. There are other books that I will recommend instead of this one.
Five students are invited to a murder mystery scholarship dinner and quickly find that they each have something to hide from an event that took place exactly one year ago. This Lie Will Kill You takes you on a roller coaster ride of a group of teens with secrets and lies that literally put them in danger.
What starts off with a creative murder mystery scholarship dinner invitation quickly turns into a night of terror. Juniper, Ruby, Gavin, Brett and Parker are five classmates, each hoping for a college scholarship for very different reasons. When they meet at a secretive mansion on a cold winter night, they all begin to suspect that this might not be the awards competition that they hoped for; instead, it is a fight for their lives as things quickly devolve.
When Gavin passes out, the others begin exploring the house. They find that each of the rooms upstairs is decorated in a way that reveals their biggest fears and most terrifying secrets.
As the night goes on, each teen finds themselves in danger, and it all ties back to a night one year ago that changed all of their lives. Who is behind this? Will they survive? What is the secret that is so dark that it could have led to all of this?
Book Talk Questions:
- What was the relationship between Parker and Ruby? How does this influence the events of the night?
- Juniper and Ruby used to be best friends. Parker and Brett are sort of best friends. Explain the dynamic between these pairs and how the relationships change over the course of the night.
- Who is Shane and why was Parker jealous? What had they planned to do together?
- What is the secret in Brett’s room? Why does he desire this and what does it have to do with the events from one year before?
- How does the night end?
- Why is Ruby known as the Disappearing Act? What does she admit to Juniper?
A Perfect Read for Fans Of…
- All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
- Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
- The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas