Book Review: The Lying Game – Ruth Ware

Book Rating : 3 stars

The Lying Game centers of four friends – Fatima, Kate, Thea, and Isabel, who went to a boarding schools for girls in a once-fishing town but were kicked out before term’s end. Why they were kicked out remains a mystery that’s slowly revealed, though slightly predictable.

The Lying Game is a game that the girls play and has five rules:

  • Rule #1: Tell a lie
  • Rule # 2: Stick to your story
  • Rule #3: Don’t get caught
  • Rule #4: Never lie to each other
  • Rule #5: Know when to stop lying

The girls play this game with those at their boarding school and the small town surrounding it. Their lies range from simple and innocuous to malicious.

They build up a reputation for themselves as being cruel and vicious liars. They’re a clique, letting no one else into their circle.

Kate’s father, Ambrose, is an artist and a teacher at the school, who allows Kate and her friends to come over to their home. He’s lax, letting the girls drink, even though they are only teenagers. Kate’s stepbrother, Luc, also lives there.

One day, Ambrose goes missing and people start speculating. The girls are involved in the missing body, but no one but Kate knows the true story.

I need you.

Seventeen years later, Kate sends the girls a text. I need you, she tells them, and under pretense of an alumni dinner, they come running to her. She’s still living in the home she grew up in, though now it’s sinking into the sand and falling apart.

A bone’s been found.

Kate tells the girls why she’s texted them after all these years – a bone was found in Reach near her house. They all know it’s Ambrose’s. It has to be. And they all know that 17 years later, they’ll pay for their teenage crimes.

I enjoyed The Lying Game. It was suspenseful, and I loved how close-knit the girls were when they were younger, and how, though apart, still maintained their love for each other over the years. They had a bond that is enviable, though in some cases, frightening, as they never let anyone into their circle and became a worse version of themselves.

The book dragged on in some places, and I was frustrated with Kate for breaking the rules of her own game – more than once.

But the story was believable and I felt for the girls, was worried for them, and wanted them to be alright. The ending was a bit bland and I wish there was more energy to it and more resolution in some ways.

Favorite quotes from The Lying Game:

“You’re never an ex-addict, you’re just an addict who hasn’t had a fix in a while.”

“A lie. I’d almost forgotten how they feel on my tongue, slick and sickening.” 

“A wall, after all, isn’t just about keeping others out. It can also be for trapping people inside.”

“Here’s to us,” she said, holding the bottle high, the moonlight striking off the glass. “May we never grow old.”  

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