TITLE: Lies I Told
AUTHOR: Michelle Zink
PUBLICATION DATE: April 7, 2015
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 1 bow
From the outside, Grace Fountaine has the perfect life. She’s smart, pretty, and comes from a well off family. But looks can be deceiving. Grace’s family is actually a professional grade group of con artists and they have set the sights on their biggest score yet. Grace’s mission? Charm the mark’s son to get inside information and find out where the payload is located. The problem? The time she spends with Logan (the mark’s son), the more she starts to have feelings for him. Before the end, she has broken a cardinal rule and she knows that this isn’t going to end well. Can Grace figure out a way to make it through the con without fucking up even more or is she doomed to get them all caught for her mistakes?
When I read the synopsis for this, I was pretty excited. I love a good con story. I’m addicted to several con shows. I was basically expecting something along the lines of this.
But that was not what I received and I am utterly disappointed with it. This novel is compared to Ally Carter’s work and though I’ve never read a full novel by her, I have read a novella and even it was more thought out in it’s itty bitty 100 pages than this was.
Grace was a character I wanted to sympathize with but didn’t. She was adopted by a family of cons and we all know a 14 year old who has been bounced around the foster system isn’t going to give up a seemingly loving family just because they want her to steal things. She learns to do what they do and then they adopt Parker as well, creating the perfect family of four. This is fine with me. A family of cons? That sounds like a bunch of fun and danger. But this group that is made out to be on the professional level seem like a bunch of amateurs! Grace shows no restraint and immediately becomes genuine friends with people and school and truly starts to like Logan. I get the whole you can’t help who you love thing, but she should have at least come clean to her family about it. These attachments put the whole plan at risk. As does keeping a mementos box. Destroying every part of your old aliases is part of what keeps you safe. Any link to the past you and the cops or feds could piece it together and haul your ass to jail (or at least to juvie). Add to that the fact that she not only keeps things, but actually carries something around with her and I wanted to strangle her. From the first moment she mentions putting that old ID in her pocket, you KNOW she is going to lose it and it’ll fall into the wrong hands. That is obvious plot point numero uno.
Then we have Parker, her “brother.” Again, I wanted to like him, but I really didn’t. He felt stuck-up and had this weird vibe going with Grace. I was never quite sure if he felt brotherly towards her or romantically. He keeps convincing her to run away with him and leave the family of cons, and even with the creepy vibe, Grace should have taken that deal. I know how this will end for you both, so you know, run, and run now.
And he was just as amateurish as Grace. He discusses the con in unsafe locations and he makes mistakes, though he doesn’t do anything as monumentally stupid as she does.
We have all the side characters, but I just mostly feel bad about the ones Grace genuinely befriends as well as Logan. This guy’s only fault is that he falls for Grace and has a dad with mental issues. He probably has no idea that there is a massive amount of gold hidden somewhere in his house and he gets duped for it anyway. He’s smart and sweet and a really good guy and I HATE that he gets caught in this mess.
Overall, I’m just monumentally disappointed in this. I had super high hopes and expectations and they were not met in the least. I had the hardest time finishing it! Anytime I’m reading a novel that I’m just not loving (or something just when I’m curious), I check out the book’s reviews. I see what other people are saying about it and that was a mistake of the highest order. About halfway through, I started looking at reviews and saw how upset people were with the ending. I didn’t find spoilers of what actually happened, just the basic doom that it was not going to have a nice ride off into the sunset for any of the characters. From that point, I only read a chapter here and there because I already wasn’t loving it and the doom ending was not motivation to finish it. After about 2 weeks of this, I finally managed to complete it and I was just as upset and disappointed as I imagined I’d be. I don’t know if this is just the way the book ends or if it will be a series and this is just to get us going, but either way, this is not my happy gnome face. That is no way to end a story, even if it is the beginning of a series. Nothing is really resolved and everyone is much worse off for their trouble. Well, everyone but one particular person and that makes it even worse. You get smacked with hurt and betrayal and then it’s over. Roll Credits. Story finished. And I’m left slack-jawed and upset.
Basically, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone I know. Even to people who don’t mind bad endings, but this felt like a non-ending. The story just stops and expects you to live with that. I don’t want to live with that! I want to know a few more things before you close that curtain, even if they are bad things. Beyond the bad ending, just felt misrepresented. These people are not professional con artists. They are hacks with a few tricks up their sleeves, but that’s it. It was also incredibly slow. You get dropped into the plot and then it just crawls by. Weeks of planning and getting in with the good crowd and then procrastinating. None of it was so enrapturing that I couldn’t put the book down and the only character I really cared for was the one getting screwed over! Plus, there were so many random things they left just hanging out there. Like Grace’s weird neighbor. There were clues throughout the whole novel that something more would come from this mysterious guy, but nothing ever does. We never learn what the hell is up with him! Or the whole Rachel bit. Bitch is crazy, but she is also onto them and I feel like she would have done more about it than just tell her father. Either way, this was not the book for me. If I had to describe it in one word, that word would be disappointing. That really says it all, doesn’t it?
****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review****