At the recent Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast, Lying About Last Summer was described as 13 Reasons Why meets We Were Liars. I'd read the former but not the latter, however I have heard nothing but great things about the E. Lockhart novel and so I was instantly intrigued by Sue Wallman's debut. And when it turned out that we were in the same quiz team later that afternoon, and I had the chance to ask her a little more about her story, I was definitely, completely sold.
Sky's sister drowned last summer and her parents think that sending Sky to a camp for the bereaved might help her process the terrible tragedy better. At first camp is pretty okay, and as long as Sky avoids the pool she's enjoying herself, and even making some friends. However, before too long she starts receiving messages from her dead sister through a password protected messaging app they always used to chat away from the prying eyes of their parents.
Because this is a private chat specifically between Sky and her sister, it would be very hard, if not impossible, for anyone else to send the messages. Has Luisa come back from the dead? Or is someone at camp playing mind games with Sky? A few people do seem a little off, as if the tragedies they've endured in their young lives has had a much more twisted impact on them than it did on Sky. They might even be dangerous, and Sky soon realises that if she wants to get to the bottom of the messages, she cannot trust anyone but herself.
Lying About Last Summer was a properly gripping, can't-turn-the-pages-quickly-enough kind of read. If it hadn't been for my pesky day job forcing me back to reality, I would've read in a single sitting – I was that hooked. The novel was incredibly intriguing, with the story unravelling at just the right pace and with the perfect amount of red herrings and plot twists to keep me mesmerised for the whole ride. There is mystery surrounding Luisa's death, the messages in the private chat and some of Skye's fellow campers, and when everything started to come together into its exploding conclusion I was on the edge of my seat.
At the heart of this novel is a heartbreaking event and Skye's journey throughout, and her coming to terms which what happened, was portrayed in a haunting and realistic way. Sky's story was incredibly interesting and very well written. And, on a side note, the cover for this book is so lush you guys! Not only is it super gorgeous (and as author Sue Wallman said the reddish glow on the cover could be sunshine in the water or blood, dun dun dun) but it has a super awesome finish which makes it feel all special and I couldn't stop stroking the cover while reading. Please tell me I'm not the only one?!
Lying About Last Summer was a tense and gripping thriller while at the same time exploring grief in a beautiful way. While I do wish that it had been a little longer, so there would have been more time to explore the characters in-depth, the pages were jam-packed with a pacy plot and unexpected revelations to keep me completely enthralled from start to finish.
Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Lying About Last Summer is published by Scholastic and you can buy a copy from Foyles or your own preferred retailer.
Connect with Sue Wallman