Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book Review: Seven Minutes in Heaven (The Lying Game #6)

Author: Sara Shepard
Series: The Lying Game #6
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Pages: 371
Format: Hardcover
Average Rating: 4.30
Read it in: 1 day
Source: Bought from Amazon

- Summary - 

My sister wants the truth. But sometimes the truth hurts.

For months, my long-lost twin, Emma, has been living my life and trying to solve my murder. She's unearthed dark secrets about my friends, my family, and my tangled past. But when it comes to finding my killer, she keeps running into dead ends.

Until my body shows up in Sabino Canyon. Suddenly everyone knows there are two girls who look like Sutton Mercer—and that one of them is dead. At first the police assume the body is Emma's. But as questions and accusations start flying, it's harder than ever for Emma to keep playing me. The truth is bound to come out eventually. And when it does, Emma will be suspect number one in my murder investigation. If she can't find my killer before time runs out, she'll end up behind bars . . . or worse.

- Review -

Holy. Hell. 

I finished this book a few days ago and, still, I am reeling from that ending. THAT ENDING. I saw it coming a mile away but, Jesus...

Okay, thoughts. Time to become coherent. 

I was pretty much introduced to The Lying Game through the ABC Family TV series, which, along with Pretty Little Liars, had officially placed Sara Shepard on my author to-be-stalked radar. Hence this book review that you are currently reading. And now, Sam's official TLG plot breakdown!

While living in foster care, Emma discovers that she has a twin sister named Sutton, and the two decide to meet. Very Parent Trap-esc, right? WRONG. While waiting for her sister, Emma is kidnapped by Sutton's friends and is thrust into her lavish life—a life Emma has only ever dreamed of—with a loving family, an eager boyfriend, and a close-knit, popular group of friends. Emma is in heaven, until she receives a note claiming that her sister is dead and, unless she continues pretending to be Sutton, she will be next. And so, Emma plays along; taking part in horrible pranks with Sutton's friends, spending time with her sister's family, and meeting sweet, tortured Ethan Landry, who quickly becomes the only person Emma can confide in. As the two attempt to uncover who it was that killed her sister, Emma discovers just what kind of person Sutton was before she went missing; and she is not very pleased. All the while, this story is told from the point-of-view of Sutton, a ghost caught in the in-between; dead but still tethered to the living through Emma. Together (and without Emma's knowledge), the two must solve the mystery surrounding the night that Sutton died and discover once and for all, who hated Sutton enough to kill her.

While I never officially tired of this story, I felt myself on the verge of taking a brief hiatus many, many times. Sara Shepard has this way with her writing, where, basically, the same things are happening in each book—someone becomes a suspect, sleuthing occurs, SUSPENSE OMG, main character(s) almost die, suspect is cleared and everyone is back to square one—and it does get a little annoying after a while (which is why I felt absolutely no remorse in taking a break from reading Pretty Little Liars). The Lying Game, however, was still in the process of being published, and if I found myself wanting to stop, there was usually a year-long wait until the next installment. Which is why it was not so hard to keep on reading (it also did not hurt that this book possessed a pretty amazing ending, but more on that later).

 In regards to the actual plot, it did seem to follow the previously explained story-line, but with one twist: WE FINALLY LEARN WHO THE KILLER IS! After false memories, cleared suspects and a near-death or two, Emma figures out (or is told, rather) who it is that killed her sister and forced her to take Sutton's place. And guess who it was. Just guess.

Ethan Landry, Emma's goody-two-shoes boyfriend.

Well, crap...

In all honesty, I saw this ending coming from a mile away (even though I was kind of hoping I was wrong...). It is always the boyfriend—the one who passes himself off as the awkward, yet incredibly sweet, boy-next-door. The one the main character falls in love with and trusts the most. The one whose betrayal will hit you, right where it counts... And even though I knew that it would be Ethan, that there was no other plausible character that could have been the murderer, it still had an incredibly powerful impact on me, as a reader. Which, I guess, is pretty awesome. The story remained creepy and interesting and scary and suspenseful, despite its predictability, and I literally could not stop reading. There were some things that I did not like, such as how forced the interactions between Emma and the Mercers were near the end and how long it took Emma to finally confess everything to the police, but the story managed to wrap up nicely otherwise, and I do not have any other complaints. As a character, Emma was extremely likable and I am glad that she finally got her (semi) happy ending. I liked how she reacted to Ethan's betrayal and how smart she was when he finally had her cornered up in the canyon. My heart literally could not stop racing. The only thing that annoyed me about her character (and annoys me about all of Sara Shepard's characters (especially the PLL girls)) is the fact that she played along for as long as she did. Seriously, Emma. Go. To. The. Authorities. He's threatening to out you to your family? To kill you and, possibly, them? Take the notes and the evidence to the police, rather than trying to figure it out yourself. They may suspect you at first, but they have no evidence to prove that you did anything wrong! The Mercers may hate you, but they would probably have hated you a lot less than they did after they found out you had been lying to them for all those months. The part that really got me was when she gave up after they accused her (as Sutton) of lying, because that was what Sutton did; she lied. How easy was it for them to prove that she was Emma in this book? She should have just stayed and made them take tests, check records, anything, until she could prove that she wasn't Sutton. 


I'm sorry. I have been holding that in for so long, sometimes I just have to vent. My poor sister got an earful once, when she asked me how I was liking Pretty Little Liars...

Anyway. Emma. Likeable and relatable. As for Sutton, I definitely liked her more in the books than in the TV show. Granted, she is dead in the books, but whatever. TV show Sutton is a bitch. Book Sutton was really caring/protective of Emma and, despite the fact that her sister was living her life and no one knew that she had died or who her murderer was, she ultimately wanted nothing more than her sister's happiness. I so wish that they had had a chance to meet, just once, before Sutton was killed.

And Ethan. Oh, Ethan. Up until book six, I really, really liked him. He was sweet and awkward and man, I wanted my own version (minus the insane murderer part). As stated previously, I had my suspicions about him all along, but I did not know exactly how twisted he was until Sutton's big reveal. He was so in love with her that he had to kill her, so no one else could have her? Yikes. Once we found that out, I felt as betrayed as Emma, and remembering all the times that they had spent together and how sweet he was just made my skin crawl. I think that I would definitely like to see a novella from his POV in the future, as he is all kinds of crazy, and it would be cool to get inside his head.

- Rating - 


Overall, I really liked this book and feel that it was a fantastic end to the series. I really connected with most of the characters and am hoping that Miss Shepard publishes some novellas from Ethan and (future) Emma's POV. 4/5 stars from me!

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