Book: The Lying Game and The Lying Game #2: Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard
TV Show: “The Lying Game”
Genre: Fiction, young adult, mystery, who is paying you to put this on television?
Rating: 1.3 out of 5 stars (tv show), 4 out of 5 stars (books)
Summary: After discovering she has a long lost twin, Emma switches identities with sister Sutton, who is on a quest to find their birth parents. But what happens when Sutton doesn’t come home on time and Emma has to keep living in a mansion and being loved by people!?!
I picked up (scratch that, DOWNLOADED because I was too embarrassed to purchase in public) The Lying Game series because I thoroughly enjoyed the guilty pleasure that is Sara Shepard’s first series Pretty Little Liars. I am somehow more comfortable with admitting to reading such dreck. It’s so bad I brought out a Yiddish phrase to describe it.
At first I was excited, mostly because the premise was intriguing. A novel narrated by the ghost of a murdered girl watching life go by through the eyes of her twin sister. It sounded Lovely Bones-esque and I liked the ease with which I had read through Shepard’s previous series. NOTE: ease = it was written for teenagers who text message too much and like unicorns.
Sadly, it was no Pretty Little Liars. The plot was even thinner, and it seemed to be a shoddier copy cat series. They’re both about twins, are mysteries, involve murder, have supernatural antagonists, and feature deviously mean rich girls. Although this time around there are four twins and none of the characters are that distinguishable from one another. Sometimes I even had trouble telling whose point of view I was reading, Sutton’s or Emma’s. And there’s only two narrators! I should at least know who’s thinking/talking/drinking the tears of free range feral orphans.
I immediately assumed the worst. Sarah had obviously gotten a ghost writer. I mean, who can put out a book every six months? Then I realised that Cassandra Clare does it too and that Sarah Shepard has an MFA and that I had to face the facts: this series is awful. And not in that it’s so awful it’s good kind of way. Like Deep Blue Sea.
Sadly, the TV show is even worse. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE!?! Well don’t yell at me because I certainly don’t know.
The pilot opens with Sutton and Emma talking on Skype about how they’re randomly on a search for their birth parents. After punching her foster brother in the face and escaping from the cops, Emma runs away and switches places with Sutton’s while she’s in LA “following a lead”. Because that totally happens all the time.
Basically, the writers took the only interesting part of the book series (that Sutton is a ghost watching her twin sister Emma try to solve her murder) and completely removed it.Rather than even have a murder, the show is completely sanitized and the mystery is instead “liek omg who r our birth par3ntz?”. I would rather explore the mystery of why they would change a character’s name from Garrett to Luke. Or why the case of the missing brother is changed to the case of the brother who moved to LA. Mostly though I just want to know why David Wallace (Michael Scott’s boss on “The Office”) agreed to be on this TV show.
The pilot is basically one long painful decision after another. For example, why have Emma fall in love with a mysterious guy who likes astronomy when he could be a dark brooding stranger riding a dirt bike who is secretly dating cold heartless Sutton for absolutely no reason? Probably just so ABC Family could throw in a love triangle. Like they do in Twilight.
It would be remiss of me to not recap the most painful line from this episode. After she arrives at school, Emma is followed around by Ethan (the dark brooding guy with stupid looking hair I mentioned in that last paragraph) who is “studying” her. We are later told this is because he expects she’s not Sutton. GASP! After noticing him creeping on her for the billionth time Emma asks, “Are you Humpty Dumpty or something, because every time I see you you’re on a wall?”
That quote pretty much speaks for itself. It’s okay, you can slam your head against the floor now.
I had planned to watch more than the pilot because I’m not above wasting another 40 minutes of my life if they were planning to kill off Sutton, but that bitch is still alive. Or at least according to an episode two recap I read. Therefore not a ghost. So consider this my open plea to you ABC Family, if you’re not going to turn Sutton into Casper, at least change the name of your stupid show. It’s an embarrassment to the series, which in itself is an embarrassment to the written word.