Review: The Last Time I Lied

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Title: The Last Time I Lied

Author: Riley Sager

Pages: 370

Rating: ★★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Review:

Even though a branch covers their eyes, I know they’re staring back at me. It’s as if they’ve understood all along that I’d one day return to Camp Nightingale. Only I can’t tell if they’re urging me to go or begging me to stay.

Fifteen years ago, Emma went to summer camp. Everything was going great, until one night she watched her three cabin-mates walk out the door. They never walked back in. Once Vivian, Natalie, and Allison disappeared, Camp Nightingale was closed down, and Emma went on to live her life. Now, fifteen years later, the owner of the camp has asked her to come back as a painting instructor. She agrees, and ends up staying in the very same cabin.

First off, I’d like to say that if someone asked me to come back to the place my friends disappeared from, my answer would be HELL NO. This girl has some guts. And I’d downright refuse to stay in the same cabin. If this isn’t enough bad energy to start the summer off with, weird things start happening around the camp, letting Emma know that someone is watching her. This book was creepy with a capital C, and a great ending to my October reads.

All hours wound; the last one kills.

This book had so many twists and turns, and I can honestly say that I didn’t guess the ending. I had a few theories, none of which turned out to be right. I felt like every section you were finding out new information, or new lies someone told 15 years ago are coming to light. I trusted NO ONE throughout this book, and when all the cards were finally on the table, I did not regret it.

I loved the way this was written. Flashbacks are interspersed throughout the story, and I feel like this added a whole new layer of depth to the story. I loved getting to know Vivian through these flashbacks. While three girls disappeared, it’s clear that Viv’s disappearance effected Emma the most. She was cool, older, and a little bit mean, but became something of an older sister to Emma while they were at camp. Fifteen years later, Emma is finding out that she had a few secrets of her own.

I did have a few issues with this book – and it’s not even that we got a little bit into the “unreliable narrator” territory (this is a pet peeve of mine, but for some reason it didn’t bother me much here). Without getting too spoilery, there’s some reasoning for some of Vivian’s past actions that come to light. I’m not sure why, but those reasons fell a little flat for me. I guess I was waiting for something…bigger? Also, I feel like one of the big reveals at the end was WAY out of left field. There was absolutely no foreshadowing to support it. This is tricky, because I hate being able to guess the entire ending, but I also hate when I don’t even get a hint of it. I know, I’m so difficult.

I was all ready to give this book 4 stars… and then I read the epilogue. I LOVED this epilogue, and I threw on an extra half star just because of it. I felt like my jaw was hanging open the entire time. I did not see it coming, but to me it was the perfect way to end this fifteen-year story. There were so many twists in this book, but this one completely blew me away. My advice to you is this: even when you think you know what you’re reading, remember nothing is as it seems.

This was a great way to round out my October spooky reads. The atmosphere is perfect, the twists are unparalleled, and the creepy vibe is present throughout the entire book. If you’re looking for a good unpredictable spooky read, look no further.

“Everything is a game, Em. Whether you know if or not. Which means that sometimes a lie is more than just a lie. Sometimes it’s the only way to win.”

This book was book 4 of #FridayFrightAThon: a buddy read/readathon we hosted in October 2018! Every Friday, we started a new spooky read. I had so much fun with my amazing cohosts, and cannot wait to do this again. Thank you so much to everyone who joined us. Please check out their incredible pages, these are the kindest souls I’ve had the pleasure to meet through this community, and I feel so blessed to have their friendship:

Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills

Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer

Melanie @ Meltotheany

xoxo

Jen

Author:

I'm a late 20-something physical therapist living in Michigan with my hubby who loves reading and reviewing books, running, wine, and dogs.

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