Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

Title: Lies I Told
Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions:
  Not as compelling as it could be.  I like the mysterious feel of the shadowy figure but this cover has been done before. 

The Gist:

Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family.

But it’s all a lie.

Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines' biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught...including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Lies I Told tells the story of a family of con artists as they embark on their biggest heist to date.  Having spent considerable time in the foster care system and been adopted during her teens, this life is the only one that Grace knows.  She trusts her family implicitely and follows their rules to elude suspicion.  Until there is a boy.  Logan is supposed to be just another mark and Grace is supposed to worm her way into his good graces in order to allow her family the opportunity to steal from his father.  But this is different than other jobs and Logan is different from other boys.  Grace finds herself losing her drive and wishing for a different life, a life in which she can have a future with the boy she is falling for.  Meanwhile, her brother Parker is becoming more and more disillusioned with the life they have been taught to lead.  He wants out, and he wants Grace to come with him.  As she falls deeper and deeper into the con, Grace must decide which will stand, her loyalty to her brother, to her parents, or to the boy who has won her heart.

While the first half of the book is a little slow to get started, it does feature some fascinating facets of the life of a con family, for example the fact that they have a "war room" in each home and that details of the job are only discussed there.  It also develops the details necessary to pull of their job and allows for the developing romance of Grace and Logan, a romance that is, thankfully, more slow-burn than insta-love.  The plot gets more and more exciting as we approach the heist and it has some truly heart stopping moments.  

I was a little disappointed in the characters.  Most of them are pretty one-dimensional and, other than Grace herself, we see most characters as part of a larger group and don't get to know any of them all that well on their own.  The one stand-out was Rachel.  She was suspicious of Grace from the moment she met her and didn't quite fit the stereotype of Rich Girl Queen Bee.  In fact, I found myself wishing that this had been written as a dual narrative so that we could watch Rachel as she sought out the truth about Grace and her family.  I wasn't a great fan of Grace at the beginning as she tended to whine a little too much about the type of life she had.  Coming into the book, I had been hoping for a character who reveled in the life and, perhaps, began to change her ways through the plot.  Grace however, was already becoming frustrated with never staying in one place and with the guilt that came from befriending people only to betray them.  As the novel wore on, she became much more of an agreeable character and, with help of the surprising ending, I have high hopes for her in the next novel.  
The novel truly shines in its ending.  From the moment the heist itself gets under way the plot becomes much more exciting and each page had me coming up with a new theory about how it would end.  I was surprised by how satisfying the ending was, while still making me anticipate the next book. 

Lies I Told is a solid introduction into a new series and a great read for fans of espionage and betrayal. 

Teaching/Parental Notes:

Age: 13 and up
Kissing, Sex between teenagers - not described
Violence: None
Inappropriate Language: Fuck, Shit, Assholes, Bitch, Jesus
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking, Marijuana Use

This Review can also be found on Young Adult Books Central


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