The Better Liar by Tanen Jones, 3 Stars

This cover, gorgeous right? It’s funny when the cover makes you pick up a book. And yet it totally happens time and time again. And on the flip side, I dread reading anything that has a terrible cover. I mean, why bother, right?

The yellow rose stands for friendship, joy, or a love that’s familiar. Maybe more of a stable love. It’s the polar opposite to the passionate red rose. And maybe a step above the innocent white rose. Although the one I find most intriguing is probably orange roses. They stand for enthusiasm and desire. I can’t say I’ve ever actually gotten orange roses though.

But taking the whole domestic love or friendship into account, the yellow roses are actually a little perplexing to me on this cover. Maybe they are meant ironically? But in all the cover felt completely different to me than the book did. And I’m not sure why.

From the Publisher:

Robin Voigt is dead. If Leslie had arrived at her sister’s cramped Las Vegas apartment just hours earlier, this would have been their first reunion in a decade. In the years since Robin ran away from home as a teenager, Leslie has stayed in New Mexico, taking care of their dying father even as she began building a family of her own. But when their father passed away, Leslie received a rude awakening: She and Robin would receive the inheritance he left them together—or not at all. Now her half of the money may be beyond her grasp. And unbeknownst to anyone, even her husband, Leslie needs it desperately.

When she meets a charismatic young woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Robin—and has every reason to leave her past behind—the two make a reckless bargain: Mary will impersonate Robin for a week in exchange for Robin’s half of the cash. But neither realizes how high the stakes will become when Mary takes a dead woman’s name. Even as Mary begins to suspect Leslie is hiding something, and Leslie realizes the stranger living in her house, babysitting her newborn son, and charming her husband has secrets of her own, Robin’s wild, troubled legacy threatens to eclipse them both.

An electric, twisted portrait of sisterhood and the ties that bind, The Better Liar is a stunning debut with a heart-stopping, twist-after-twist finale that will beg the question: How far would you go to get what’s yours?

My Review:

When the book opens, Leslie has traveled to Vegas to find her sister in the aftermath of their father’s death. And she’s too late, by a couple hours. Her sister has overdosed. When she meets Mary, it seems like a strike of good luck. Mary is willing to impersonate Leslie’s sister – who she really had no real ties to – so that Leslie and Mary can have access to Leslie’s father’s estate. Sorry, that was a lot!

Leslie is a complicated character from the first page. There’s just a huge disconnect between who she appears to be and who she really is. Even just within the pages of the book. She’s a women with a successful enough job, a handsome husband, a baby boy. And she wears the Ann Taylor and drives the right kind of car for a working suburban mom, but something is missing.

It’s not just apparent to the reader. Mary, who agrees to impersonate Leslie’s dead sister Robin, notices something is off too. Her life is just a little too perfect and she seems devastatingly unhappy. Still, she plays her cards pretty close to her chest and it’s hard to know what is going on.

As Mary and Leslie spend more time together, they form a type of friendship – albeight one grounded in deep mistrust for eachother. And it’s there that the twists and turns start coming. I definitely saw a couple of them coming, and other’s not so much.

All in all, this book didn’t quite do it for me. And I can’t put my finger on exactly why. Some of the story was a bit convoluted, but mostly I think that Leslie and Mary are just both bad people. Both liars, as the title suggests. And I not only didn’t like them, but they gave me a bad feeling.

Special thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out January 14, 2019. Get your copy:

Indiebound

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