Skye is looking for an escape from the reality of last summer when her sister died in a tragic accident. Her parents think that a camp for troubled teenagers might help her process her grief. All of the kids at the summer camp have lost someone close, but is bringing them together such a good idea? And can everyone at camp be trusted? When Skye starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister, she knows it’s time to confront the past. But what if the danger is right in front of her?
A couple of weeks ago, I bought a copy of Lying About Last Summer (which was in my book haul!), and I read it pretty soon after buying it. During #ukyachat on Friday (I wrote about Twitter chats here, if you’re interested), I saw that Sue Wallman was participating, which reminded me that I’d been meaning to write a review! I really enjoy mystery books, and I had a lot of thoughts about this one when I read it, so it’s nice to finally be writing a review.
One of the things I liked about this book was the opening, as it began on a very dramatic scene from before the time frame in which the book was set, which meant I was intrigued about what was going to happen. I also liked that the snapshots into the past continued throughout the novel, as I thought it helped to build up layers in the story, and it created a sense of mystery, as the full circumstances of her sister’s death were revealed in small segments, and the protagonist, Skye, only really talked about it at the end.
The mystery aspects of the novel with the seemingly impossible texts she was receiving was also quite unsettling, and I thought the ending worked really well, and was suitably unpredictable and surprising – I had no idea! I like it in mystery novels when the true culprit is a character who the reader is introduced to, so it would be possible for the reader to suspect that person, but they are too far removed to be thought of as a suspect, as in my opinion this creates more surprise. Lying About Last Summer did this brilliantly, and in combination with the sudden nature of Skye’s discovery, this part of the novel was wrapped up very well.
Another thing I liked about Lying About Last Summer was the characters. Sometimes when characters have very distinctive personalities, they can come across as over the top or unrealistic, but I thought Sue Wallman did the characters excellently. I thought Skye was a very intriguing protagonist, as she was a little secretive and disconnected from her peers, which you learnt was because of her sister’s death, and it was interesting to learn more about her character and see how she developed over the novel. Also, there was a wide range in personalities, from the shy and introverted Fay to the bold and rebellious Danielle. Joe’s character was the one I was least keen on, and I thought that he became sinister instead of being sinister throughout, but this happened rather early on, and he was definitely a very creepy character! I would’ve thought that the part of the plot which Joe drove onwards would have been mentioned in the description as it was quite a big part of the plot, but the lack of expectation for it to happen meant that it was even more surprising and really kept you on edge.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Lying About Last Summer, especially to people who enjoy mysterious novels that will keep you constantly on edge.