By Jessica Warman
Published on August 21, 2012
Published by Walker
Summary from Goodreads:
Rachel and Alice are an extremely rare kind of identical twins—so identical that even their aunt and uncle, whom they’ve lived with since their parents passed away, can’t tell them apart. But the sisters are connected in a way that goes well beyond their surfaces: when one experiences pain, the other exhibits the exact same signs of distress. So when one twin mysteriously disappears, the other immediately knows something is wrong—especially when she starts experiencing serious physical traumas, despite the fact that nobody has touched her. As the search commences to find her sister, the twin left behind must rely on their intense bond to uncover the truth. But is there anyone around her she can trust, when everyone could be a suspect? And ultimately, can she even trust herself? Master storyteller Jessica Warman will keep readers guessing when everything they see—and everything they are told—suddenly becomes unreliable in this page-turning literary thriller.
Beautiful Lies is a book where discussing even the most basic elements of the plot can be a potential spoiler-filled landmine, so this review is going to have to be vague. Rachel and Alice are, of course, identical twins with a bond that goes deeper than just being siblings. They have what one of the twins calls a psychic link, which becomes important as the story goes on. And Rachel and Alice, for as similar as they look, are also hiding some secrets of their own, which unfold in dramatic form as the search gets more and more desperate.
This book is definitely more than it seems on the surface. I had expected a mystery, given that this is a story about an abduction and the race to find the missing twin. What I hadn't expected was a book permeated with an eerie, overwhelming sense of dread. I mean that in the best possible way, too! I love a good thriller, and from the very start of the book, you are left wondering what's going to happen, when the other shoe's going to drop, and hoping that everything is going to be okay. Warman is excellent at crafting a world where you don't know what's true and what isn't, which really helped keep me guessing the whole time. There are a lot of red herrings and clues you realize afterwards you should have picked up on.
While some of the plot points were pretty easy to guess, overall I thought this book was a really enjoying read, with lots of twists and turns. I did notice that there were some passages that I had to read a few times to understand what was going on, but after finishing the book, I wonder if that was part of the author's plan. She really cultivated a confusing, desperate atmosphere as the clock is ticking on the abduction, so maybe it makes sense that there were aspects which didn't always ring true to me.
I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a good YA mystery/thriller that doesn't play all of its cards right away. As a side note, there are some brief scenes of violence in the book, including one scene involving teeth that I had to skim. I'm not usually squeamish, but man, teeth things gross me out.