Most teenagers have played Never Have I Ever. The game is sometimes silly and usually embarrassing, but rarely deadly. Sara Shepard’s new novel Never Have I Ever, the second book in The Lying Game series, takes the idea of teenage games up a notch and throws in a little murder along with it.
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Never Have I Ever continues the events laid out in The Lying Game, in which Nevada foster teen Emma Paxton learns she has a twin who lives in Arizona and makes plans to meet up with her. But by the time she gets there her twin, Sutton, has disappeared and Emma is forced to take her place. None of Sutton’s family and friends believe that Emma is an impostor; they simply brush it off as one of Sutton’s infamous pranks. It eventually becomes clear to Emma that Sutton is dead, and her killer was still following Emma. But with her in Sutton’s place nobody even knows that either of them are in danger, so it is up to Emma to find the killer.
In Never Have I Ever, Emma begins to suspect Lillianna and Gabriella, not-so-affectionately dubbed the “twitter twins” for their obsession with the social networking site. The twins are desperate to get into Sutton’s inner circle but aren’t too impressed with her often dangerous pranks, one of which landed Gabriella in the hospital. They have every reason to get back at her, but are they actually capable of murder? Meanwhile Emma’s relationship with Ethan, the only person besides Sutton’s killer who knows who she really is, continues to flourish.
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The Lying Game series has gained popularity in the past few weeks with the premiere of the television show (which follows a completely different story line in which Sutton is still alive and focused on looking for her and Emma’s birth mother). But like the show, the book has everything teenage girls crave in a good story: Romance, mystery, danger, and characters that are never flawless but always fascinating. You won’t learn any great substantial life lessons from this one, but Sutton, narrating from the grave, does begin to regret the nasty things she has done, both to her frenemies and her friends, even though she can’t quite remember them all. Get settled in, because this series could be just as intriguing as Shepard’s other big series Pretty Little Liars. Hattiesburg residents: Pick up a copy of Never Have I Ever at the Oak Grove Public Library on Old Highway 11 or the Hattiesburg Public Library on Hardy Street. Or, if you’re feeling so inclined, buy a copy at Books a Million at Turtle Creek Crossing.
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