The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

The Lying Game

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

 Published: 2017



The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Simon & Schuster, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ruth Ware does it again! 

Put four somewhat troubled teenage girls in a second-rate boarding school, and see what happens. Isa Wilde is sent to Salten by her father when her mother is dying.  Fatima is sent while her parents are on sabbatical in India.  Thea has been expelled from two or three other boarding schools.  Kate’s father is the art teacher at Salten.  These four girls form a lasting bond.  Kate and Thea devise a “game” which is aimed at the more popular girls, and at the “establishment”.  The Lying Game has five rules:

1. Tell a Lie
2. Stick to the Lie
3. Don’t Get Caught
4. Never Lie to Each Other
5. Know When to Stop Lying

They enjoy their little game, much to the chagrin of fellow students and faculty.

Then one of their lies becomes deadly,  and the effects become lasting.  Even after being expelled from the school, the girls keep the secret.  No one tells anyone what really happened at Salten.  They don’t even tell their future partners.  Surprisingly,  for such close friends, they don’t keep in touch.  One lie haunts them all.  But 17 years later, Kate sends each of them a text.  “I need you” is all she says.  Isa, now an attorney, immediately packs her bag, grabs her 6-month old little girl and tells her husband she has to go away for a few days.  She doesn’t look back.  Fatima leaves her husband, two children, and doctor’s office and gets in the car.  Her medical practice will have to wait.  Thea leaves her shift at the Casino as soon as she hears.  They all head back to Salten, and to Kate.  The final lie is about to burst open, and they have to face facts.  All of their lives could be ruined.  They could lose everything.  They have been dreading this moment for 17 years.  Did one of them break a rule?

Told from Isa’s point of view, we learn the girls backgrounds.  We are also introduced to Kate’s father Ambrose, and her half-brother Luc, as well as the residents of the town that have no use for the girls.   And of course, we hear about what happened, and why they were expelled.

Ruth Ware writes exceptional prose.  She created a setting, a coastal town on the salt marshes, which seemed ripe for mystery.  She created characters who are deep, who are “real”.  Any reader who was once a 15-year old girl knows that the bonds you create at that age can stick like glue.  And your stupidity can know no bounds.  Ruth Ware knows this, and it comes across in this wonderful book. 

Highly recommend it!

Read: July 2017


Favorite Quotes from The Lying Game:  

“You’re never an ex-addict, you’re just an addict who hasn’t had a fix in a while.”

“A wall, after all, isn’t just about keeping others out. It can also be for trapping people inside.”

“How dare you judge me? I do what I have to do to sleep at night. So do you, apparently. How about you respect my coping mechanisms and I’ll respect yours?”

“Why didn’t I realize that a lie can outlast any truth”


About the Author:  Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England.  She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language, and a press officer.  She is now an internationally known best-selling author.


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