This suspense thriller reads quickly and has a compelling mystery reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None if it was influenced by a teen slasher movie. It did feel contrived. The author incorporated some provocative sexual situations that some YA readers (and their moms) won’t be prepared for. Also, I love a twisty tale as much as anyone, but the deception needs to be for other characters in the story, not the audience. This felt like it was all about tricking me as a reader. I did give it a three star rating based on the fact that I read it in one tense sitting.
A weekend retreat in the woods and an innocent game of three truths and a lie go horribly wrong in this high-octane psychological thriller filled with romantic suspense by a Lambda Award–winning author.
Deep in the forest, four friends gather for a weekend of fun.
Truth #1: Rob is thrilled about the weekend trip. It’s the perfect time for him to break out of his shell…to be the person he really, really wants to be.
Truth #2: Liam, Rob’s boyfriend, is nothing short of perfect. He’s everything Rob could have wanted. They’re perfect together. Perfect.
Truth #3: Mia has been Liam’s best friend for years…long before Rob came along. They get each other in a way Rob could never, will never, understand.
Truth #4: Galen, Mia’s boyfriend, is sweet, handsome, and incredibly charming. He’s the definition of a Golden Boy…even with the secrets up his sleeve.
One of these truths is a lie…and not everyone will live to find out which one it is.
While the title makes it clear deception is at play, few readers will unravel this one until the end. That is partly because of the twists and partly because there aren’t enough clues to allow readers to reach the real conclusion on their own. That means the ending comes a bit out of left field, which will leave some readers feeling played. Without giving too much away, I can say the narrator is easy to connect with, and the story follows a basic “stupid folks are going to die in the woods” format. Like I said before, it is entertaining. I did have some problems with the sex scenes in the book. They aren’t graphic but they left me feeling uncomfortable because it seemed love was the last thing fueling them – that is my general way of deciding if sensuality is appropriate in YA books, and this one fails the test. The ending put another spin on all the relationships, and I’m still working through that. Overall, I was engaged by the mystery, but I couldn’t get past the fact that I felt the whole purpose of the book was to trick me. While this is marketed as YA, the sexual situations make this book more appropriate for the 17+ crowd, but the contrived storyline will be a turn off to most discerning readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.