teens and secrets and love and lies

Gabe is a high school kid in Austin, Texas, a skateboarder, a good friend, a devoted brother of his Down syndrome little sister, who won the heart of a beautiful girl on the school's dance team. On the outside, the look like a happy couple. But Gabe has a secret. When he doesn't go along with whatever Sasha wants, she gets angry. And when she gets angry, she gets vindictive. So when Gabe breaks up with her and starts talking to Catherine, a quiet girl with a sassy sense of humor and an overly controlling father, it's clearly not going to go well. 

Meanwhile, Elyse is in another part of Texas. She is being raised by her single mother, an opiod addict who has trouble paying the bills sometimes. Elyse works at a movie theater to help as well as going to school. And when the time comes for the auditions for Romeo and Juliet, she knows her best friend Brynn will get Juliet--she gets all the leads--but Elyse thinks she has a good shot at a smaller role. So when the new drama teacher casts her as Juliet, Elyse is ecstatic. She floats through rehearsals, making the role hers and enjoying the extra attention, even from the new drama teacher. 

As Gabe and Elyse go through the school year, taking chances with their hearts, their parallel stories end up colliding in the craziest way. Their relationships take them to places they could never anticipate, and only through the secrets and lies they've had to live with are they able to find their truest loves. 

Lies You Never Told Me is Jennifer Donaldson's latest offering in the hot YA thriller category, and it will take you on a ride that you won't soon forget. I didn't know much about it going in, and so the twists and turns I would normally be on the lookout for, I didn't see coming. I had no idea where the story was going, until the ending was right on top of me, and I got turned around in an instant. This thriller is a slow burn, each chapter building slowly, Gabe and Elyse taking turns telling their own stories, until the explosion at the end. 

For that surprise ending, I will always be a fan of Lies You Never Told Me. 

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters and could understand their situations. I liked how they were smart about their mistakes and honest with themselves about their relationships. The secrets and sacrifices of Gabe and Elyse show their strength and their choices show their true character. As their stories unfold in alternating chapters, Lies You Never Told Me unfolds like a rise. You just have to watch out for the thorns. 


Galleys for Lies You Never Told Me were provided by Penguin through their First To Read program, with many thanks.