Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review: Three Truths and a Lie

Brent Hartinger
YA Mystery/Thriller
272 pages
Simon Pulse
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
A weekend retreat in the woods and an innocent game of three truths and a lie go horribly wrong in this high-octane psychological thriller filled with romantic suspense by a Lambda Award–winning author.

Deep in the forest, four friends gather for a weekend of fun.

Truth #1: Rob is thrilled about the weekend trip. It’s the perfect time for him to break out of his shell…to be the person he really, really wants to be.

Truth #2: Liam, Rob’s boyfriend, is nothing short of perfect. He’s everything Rob could have wanted. They’re perfect together. Perfect.

Truth #3: Mia has been Liam’s best friend for years…long before Rob came along. They get each other in a way Rob could never, will never, understand.

Truth #4: Galen, Mia’s boyfriend, is sweet, handsome, and incredibly charming. He’s the definition of a Golden Boy…even with the secrets up his sleeve.

One of these truths is a lie…and not everyone will live to find out which one it is.

Three Truths and a Lie is lightning-fast read, a weekend getaway with friends turning into the stuff of nightmares with shocking speed, but despite the characters being in their upper teens, the story as a whole reads young.

It's clear from the opening chapter that Rob is talking directly to us, recounting his story in all its embarrassing and horrifying detail so that we can be witnesses to the events and share in the burden of his truth. The fact that he at times breaks from the telling of the story to address us or ask us rhetorical questions does tend to rip us from the action for that brief moment and remind us that we're reading a piece of fiction though, and we then find ourselves attempting to settle back in after we've mentally supplied an answer to his query. Rob's posing of questions also makes his voice feel younger than his seventeen or eighteen years, a feeling compounded by a more simplistic writing style and fairly straightforward murder mystery.

The fact that this one reads young wouldn't be a mark against it necessarily as it would certainly appeal to younger readers (rather than much older readers of YA like myself ;-), but there's also a heavy focus on sex, with both innuendo and fairly detailed descriptions of male anatomy thanks to Rob's ogling of both his boyfriend as well as Mia's. Rob and Liam also have sex not five feet from the dead body of one of their friends as a way to remind themselves they're still alive, something hugely off-putting for obvious reasons. With the subject matter being more appropriate for slightly older readers and the writing style seeming better suited to younger, this murder mystery finds itself in a bit of a limbo in terms of target audience and leaves us on the outside looking in.

All of that being said though, the way Mr. Hartinger brings this story full circle and links the final paragraph to the opening one is clever, adding a nice little twist that leaves us with a smile of appreciation on our faces.

Rating: 3/5

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This book was sent to me by the publisher  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.


  1. Hmm. Interesting. Haven't seen anyone bring that up before. I have this sitting on myself. Hope it goes well when I get to it. Thanks for the review!

  2. Woah, that sounds really disturbing (the dead body sex). Not sure this is for me since I'm in the category of older readers as well but thanks for such an honest and helpful review, Jenny!

  3. Huh. Such a huge discrepancy between writing and content is pretty unusual. I'm honestly not sure how I'd feel about this one, but I can already tell that there are some things (writing especially) that would probably bother me.

  4. I'm always game for a thrilling reads, so I'm adding this to my pile despite your problems with it. I need fast reads in my life right now. Lol.

  5. Even though this reads younger I love that you still had a good time with it and it still managed to shock you at times and leave a smile on your face by the end.

  6. Hmm.....it is surpsising that there is so much sex if this feels like it is shooting for a younger audience. Sounds like it may have missed the mark a bit.

  7. Hmmm, I don't think I'll end up adding this one to the list of books to read for Halloween... I don't usually like when books read young...
    Great review Jenny!

  8. Oooh, the older content with younger voice would bug me. I'm curious about it, though!

  9. I had to laugh about the sex near a corpse. Wtf? I'm freaky, but that's ... ick. lol. Idk, if I could deal with this book.

  10. Hmm, the fact that it has older content, but reads like young YA makes me a tad nervous.

  11. I don't think I'm the right reader for this one. The discrepancy would drive me nuts.