I had a life anyone would kill for.
Then someone did.
The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.
Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?
Why I read it: Honestly, I’m not quite sure. I don’t think I’ll like Pretty Little Liars but I guess the idea of this story (girl finds out she has a long lost twin who has been murdered and so she has to take her place) sounded a lot more interesting to me.
What I liked: This was a very fast-paced read, which was exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ve had to push myself through the past couple books, but this one dragged me along for the ride. I finished it in two days, despite being really busy (had I not been busy, it would have been one afternoon.) At 300 pages it’s not terribly long, but not ridiculously short either. It was just the perfect length. And Sara Shepard never allowed it to get boring, either. I was constantly on my toes.
Also, I really enjoyed the setting. For some reason, I’m a big fan of stories where the poor girl (in this case, a foster kid) is thrown into a really rich setting. I like reading about crazy rich people who can buy five hundred dollar boots and consider $40 sunglasses to be a bargain. Shepard does a good job with this setting, making Sutton’s family rich, but not unbelievably so.
What I disliked: The main thing that annoyed me was the narration. It’s written in first person from the POV of a dead girl. This immediately threw me off. What is it with all these dead narrators? (Before I Fall and Hereafter to name a few more.) In this case, it just felt really awkward. Most of the story read like it was third person limited from Emma (the MC’s) POV. Then occasionally Sutton, the dead girl, would say something, and we’d realize that no, Sutton was actually the narrator, not Emma. And then sometimes Sutton would refer to herself as ‘I’ and other times as ‘Sutton’. It just felt jarring.
I also didn’t care for the ending. I won’t say much, but basically I was expecting a bigger revelation. We learn a bit more about the situation, but that brings us back to square one. At the end of the book, Emma is virtually no closer to solving the murder than she was at the beginning. This is certainly not a standalone novel in any way. I guess HarperCollins is just too sure of Sara Shepard’s success (after Pretty Little Liars) to be worried that her future books won’t sell.
From a Christian Perspective: This wasn’t near as bad as I thought it would be. The dead narrator was just a little weird, and I would have liked it much better without. There was very little swearing (unless you count the word ‘bitch’) and just a tad of sexual content. A party is slightly described where they get a little drunk, and Sutton’s boyfriend plans for him and Emma (who he thinks is Sutton) to lose their virginity at this party. As soon as Emma realizes this, though, she runs away, so the ‘romance’ between them stops at a quick kiss or two.
To buy or not to buy: I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I don’t think I would buy this book, but I do see why it’s so popular. If I win more books from HarperCollins, I may well choose this one. I guess it all depends on whether the next books turn out to be good.