Thank you to Dutton books for providing me with a free copy of The Last Time I Lied in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis from Amazon:
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends all those years ago, Emma agrees.
Familiar faces, unchanged cabins, and the same dark lake haunt Nightingale, even though the camp is opening its doors for the first time since the disappearances. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager, but soon discovers a security camera–the only one on the property–pointed directly at its door. Then cryptic clues that Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins begin surfacing. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and what really happened to those girls, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price.
First of all, let me say that this is the perfect summer thriller: The setting is an old summer camp near the Adirondacks and the girls that go missing do so on the Fourth of July. That makes a July 3 publication date the perfect time to release this book!
The camp setting in this novel is very atmospheric and one of my favorite things about the book. Sager did a very nice job describing the beautiful forests and lake that surround the camp. There are even some parts of the setting that are clues to the plot. The descriptions were so well done that I felt like I was right there with Emma and the campers which has always been a favorite quality in a book.
As for the plot and story: I was pulled in right from the start learning about Emma and what had happened to her at camp all those years ago and what Franny wanted from her now. I reached a point about a third of the way in where I felt things had really slowed down and not a whole lot was happening. However the last third of the book moved super fast and I couldn’t put the book down! I personally like a thriller to be more evenly paced. With that being said, I really loved the ending of this book. It tied up all the loose ends and every twist in the book came in just the last few chapters.
I can definitely say I enjoyed this book. The setting, characters and ending were all great, I just got a little lost in the middle sonwhere. I rate this summer camp thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars.