Thank you to Netgalley and of course, Dutton Books, for letting me read this ARC for an honest review!
The Last Time I Lied
By: Riley Sager
ISBN: 9781524743079 (Hardcover) I read the kindle version.
Publishing Date: July 3, 2018 by Dutton Books
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | My Goodreads Review
When Emma Davis is thirteen, she is taken to a camp where all the rich parents take their kids and drop them off for the summer. It’s called, Camp Nightingale. She arrives late the first day and is shoved in a cabin with three other older girls. Their names are Vivian, Natalie and Allison. Vivian takes Emma “under her wing” and shows her all the ins and outs of the camp. One night they all play two truths and a lie, and the next morning Vivian, Natalie and Allison are missing. They were never found.
Fifteen years pass, and Emma is now a painter. While showing her artwork at a gallery, a familiar face shows up. Franny Harris-White, the owner of Camp Nightingale. She thinks that fifteen years has been long enough and she wants to open the camp back up. She tells Emma that it wouldn’t be the same without some of the old campers. The old campers could be instructors for the new kids. Emma agrees, only because she knows this is her only chance to figure out what happened to the three girls. She ends up bunking with three younger girls this time around, and things happen similar to what happened fifteen years prior. There are cameras, clues in diaries, insane asylums and a lot of mistrust and miscommunication. At some point Emma realizes that her hunt to solve the mystery has become deadly.
I really enjoyed how the novel was written. There was conciseness while still keeping the mystery alive. The story is told in the present and in the past which kind of helped debunk all the myths and rumors as the story progressed. Sager definitely knows how to pull your leg. Sometimes it seems like Emma has solved everything, and then it just ends up crashing down all at once. This novel won’t blow your mind, but I think it would be a good mystery thriller to start out with. It’s very easy to read and it does keep the suspense.
You don’t learn a lot about the majority of the characters in the novel. It mostly focuses on Emma and Vivian. Vivian is the pretty, popular, manipulative camper (that’s definitely the harmless way to describe her). Emma is very smart but very vulnerable. One has a ton of confidence and the other doesn’t, and therefore they “get along.” Again, not a ton of description or back story. You do learn some things about Vivian’s past and her family, but I will let you learn all of that when you read it. I would say that the story is more about the setting rather than the characters. Camp Nightingale itself played a huge role in solving the mystery.
Disclaimer: Emma does deal with her mental health as she gets older. Her paintings definitely let all of that shine through. I did find it quite interesting because I don’t read a lot of books where the person struggling with mental health turns to art. Besides Eliza from Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. My dream while I was going through high school was to be some sort of artist. I also had my issues such as; staying home all the time, not coming out of my room, only have a few friends, having zero self-confidence. I turned to art like Emma did, and I could definitely relate.
I think it’s worth a read whether it be just for fun or if you want a decent mystery. I definitely didn’t have it figured out by the end, but I had an idea. It does drag a little bit in the middle, but it gets better. The ending also leaves you hanging a little bit, which I hated but enjoyed at the same time. I enjoyed it enough to maybe try out Final Girls by Riley Sager. So, I recommend giving it a try!
Have you read this yet? If so, let me know down in the comments what you thought of it.
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