3 out of 4 stars
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Easier to Lie by Stephanie Allen is a contemporary novel about two teenage girls who spend the summer in Myrtle Beach after graduating high school. Reggie (short for Regina) and Leah are best friends and happy to be on their own at Leah’s parents’ vacation condo.
It’s a good time to get away from their hometown a few hours away. In separate occurrences, two teenage girls went missing there and were found murdered. Based on the evidence, the police suspect a serial killer is on the loose. Once Reggie and Leah arrive in Myrtle Beach, dead bodies start piling up there with the same modus operandi.
I found it difficult to put down this character-driven book which contains a blend of themes - romance, mystery, friendship, mental illness, and family dynamics. Written in first person, the story is narrated by Reggie. I liked the way the facets of her personality are revealed throughout the story. She initially comes across as a typical self-conscious teenager. As the plot progresses, it turns out Reggie’s issues go much deeper.
Much of the plot focuses on the girls’ romantic pursuits. Reggie is busy falling for two different guys – Frankie, her high school crush who is in Myrtle Beach on vacation, and Eric, who lives in the condo next door. Leah gets hot and heavy with Adam, who she’s had a crush on for years.
The murder mystery feels like a minor sub-plot at times as the girls’ romantic entanglements take center stage. Reggie and Leah seem much more concerned with their respective romances than the fact that girls are turning up dead, first in their hometown and now where they are spending the summer. I found their reactions unrealistic, as well as their parents’. Reggie and Leah are upset each time a body is discovered; however, the initial shock wears off quickly and they don’t seem frightened. You would think they would be afraid to stay alone at the condo or that their parents would insist they return home.
The storyline is full of twists and turns in the latter sections of the story. The climax is busy as a few plotlines come to a head at the same time. Although several loose ends are tied up, one key issue is left unresolved.
I spotted approximately eight errors throughout the book, including typos, incorrect tense, a word that should be capitalized (August), and missing/incorrect words. Although the errors aren’t too distracting, a good polishing is needed.
I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it to teenagers who enjoy romance novels and mysteries. Although I was less than satisfied with the ending, this is an engrossing story with well-drawn characters.
Easier to Lie
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