Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

I. Am a sucker. For any story involving covert ops.  Period.  I don't care if it's Jennifer-Garner-in-Alias spycraft, Veronica-Mars-scoping private eye work, or a Grace-(Fontaine)-pretending-to-be-someone-you're-not con.  I love the mystery and suspense of it all and the feeling like if you put down the book, it's going to keep going on without you.  And that's the exact feeling I got from LIES I TOLD, the first of Michelle Zink's duology starring said Grace (Fontaine).

She's adopted into this family of con artists/grifters.  Previous to that, she was stuck in a myriad of foster care placements from not-so-horrible to pretty-darn-bad.  So, she's thrilled to be a part of a real family, and goes on about her business as a junior grifter because it means that she has a FAMILY! And people who love her!  And this story starts when that family, including her mom, dad, and adopted older (and kinda hawt) brother move to the exclusive Playa Hermosa community in California to start a brand new job.  Her assignment?  Get on the in with Logan Fairchild and/or Rachel Mercer.  It's high school, she's done it dozens of times, and her mark seems easy... until her conscience starts to get in the way.

LIES I TOLD is a fantastic specimen of young adult mystery with a side of romance in there too. Remember how I told you I start my summer reading in April?  Well, this is prime summer reading, spring reading, you name it reading.  I'm a Zink fan, and I believe it's her best work yet.  The teen characters are more complex than they need to be - in a good way.  You understand their motivations, the reasons they make the decisions they do, choose to trust who they trust, break the rules they break on purpose.  Zink masterfully crafts the tale with just the right amount of detail and clever dialogue.  Pick it up, you won't be disappointed.

If you're an Arizona girl like me, you might pick up on a couple of teensy mistakes like the fact that Chandler High School is actually in Chandler and not Phoenix, and is kinda ghetto these days, and wouldn't be a spot for the prepster community.  You might pick up on the fact that Grace seems thrown by a new encounter in Playa Hermosa with palo verde trees when, in reality, they are everywhere in Chandler, Arizona.  But aside from those few details that you wouldn't really fight if you weren't an Arizona native like me?  It's as nitpicky as I get, so there it is for you!  I found no flaws in structure, flow, pacing, narrative, dialogue, character development...  just a few of the details.

Parents: There is a bit of language, but not a lot.  There's an allusion to sex, but not a graphic depiction.  There's graffiti, and the inner workings of a complex con and all of the lying and deceit that goes into that.  But overall, it's pretty squeaky.  I actually think it would be a great book to team read because of all of the choices that Grace is faced with.  It'd be a great opportunity to chat with your pre-teen or teen about them.  

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