Saturday, May 2, 2015

*Book Review* Lies I Told by Michelle Zink (Young Adult)

Series: Lies I Told # 1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: April 7, 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Format: E-Book, 352 pages
Genre: YA / Contemporary

What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you've told yourself?

Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family. 

But it’s all a lie.

Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines' biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught...including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Lies I Told is part of a duology, with Promises I Made coming out later this year (2015). 17-year old Grace and her adoptive family, Parker, Cormac and Renee, are grifters, or con artists if you will. They travel around the country bilking the unaware of their fortunes, and then moving on to the next stop. The next stop in this case, is the fictional town of Playa Hermosa, California and a family that supposedly has a fortune in gold stockpiled and hidden away.

For Grace, it is her job to get close to the Fairchild's son Logan, while making friends with those of his inner circle like Rachel Mercer. She isn't supposed to have any mementos of her former lives, but she has a box filled with things from past stops. She's in a very difficult position and having Parker put doubts in her mind while getting close to Logan and his friends, doesn't make it any easier. Parker's behavior from the start, makes readers take notice because he really wants to protect Grace from a permanent life as a con artist and her adoptive parents who continue to use them for their own games.

Making friends is hard for Grace knowing that she will one day have to leave them behind and flee to yet another city, yet another con job, without saying good-bye. Grace is a difficult character to break down. Until she was adopted, she didn't exactly have the best circumstances. With a new school, comes some really good friends that she finds herself connecting to like Serena. Her relationship with Logan blossoms which makes things hard when her parents ask her to do something that makes no sense at all. She finds the lies she's forced to use piling up and being challenged by Rachel who smells something fishy about Grace's family.

Lies I Told is the perfect title for this story. Grace has built so many plastic versions of herself, has told so many lies in order to build up her persona for each stop, that it is hard to actually be who she wants to be. There is a whole lot of regret and doubt. She finally has a best friend she understands. She finds someone that she feels comfortable being with and his family treats her really well. But, her parents are the most controlling and arrogant set of family members that you will ever meet.

I think we need to talk about the parental units for a moment. I normally rail against parents not being in the picture. That's not the case here. I'll say this, I really, really disliked them. Perhaps I am wrong in that regards. Perhaps the parents really did care for Grace and Parker. Perhaps they didn't purposefully adopt the kids in order to force them into a life of grifting. Perhaps when all is said and done, the parents will unmask the real reason for their behavior in this book, and then perhaps I'll be satisfied that it is possible for Grace and Parker to have a HEA.

I liked Logan but perhaps he was a bit too perfect. I didn't like the love at first bite syndrome that once again plagues a book in the YA genre that I've read. Hell, I even liked Logan's friends, and the girls that opened up to Grace and allowed her into their inner circle. In the end, I do hope that Logan finds a bit of happiness after being used and left hanging without any explanations at all from Grace and her so called family.

Lies I Told's storyline isn't fully resolved. In fact, the story ends on a brutal cliffhanger ending with huge impacts for everyone involved. I can't say I didn't see the ending coming. It was hinted to way in advance especially by Parker's wish of getting him and Grace out of the business. I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I guess one could say that stealing money from the unsuspecting families is crosses the line in what I feel good about. Yet, there is so much more about this family than meets the eye tests, and one can only hope that the betrayals, and destruction they leave in their wake, can be fixed.

**I received this book for free from (HarperTeen) via (Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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