ARC Review: The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

Title: The Best Lies
Author: Sarah Lyu
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 352 Pages
Published July 2019


Summary: Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like. She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world. But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest — And it was Elise who pulled the trigger. Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, and I'm honestly so glad that she offered, because I really enjoyed reading this one! When I first heard about this 2019 debut, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of such a tightly knit friendship that things start going south and stuff starts to unravel. So as soon as I got this book in my hand, I curled up with it and lost myself in Remy and Elise's story. So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, Remy feels forgotten and unloved by her family, so when she stumbles across Elise and they form a fast friendship, she is relishing in what it feels like to be loved and needed. For awhile, her and Elise are the best of friends -- that is, until Remy meets Jack, and she starts developing feelings for him, and she notices Elise's obsession with her getting stronger and stronger. And when Jack is shot through the chest by Elise in self-defense, Remy can't shake the feeling that something more sinister is involved. Slowly but surely, this book pulls you under into a whirlwind of a thrill-ride that will leave you enthralled until the very last page.

I really enjoyed reading this book! At first I thought it was just going to be a story about a friendship falling apart, but things got super toxic and dark super quickly, which immediately roped me in. I found myself flying through this book because I just wanted to know what was going to happen next, and the stakes seemed to get higher and higher with each passing chapter. I stayed up late into the night reading this book because I was so hooked! Sarah Lyu is definitely great at writing the kind of story that immediately sucks you in.

My favorite character in this book was definitely Jack. He was super sweet and dependable, and definitely seemed like the perfect guy for Remy. The fact that the book starts with us knowing he's dead makes the flashback scenes even harder, because you knew what his fate was going to be from the very start and it just made me extra sad knowing that he had no idea what was coming for him. He was such a sweet, loving character!

On the other hand, a character in this book that I really didn't enjoy was Elise. (Although that can definitely be the author's intention, so this is not a critique on the writing, just my own opinion on Elise's character!) She was super clingy, manipulative, and toxic, in a way that reminded me of several friendships I had to end during my own high school and college years, and every time Remy went back to her I found myself cringing because I knew how bad of a person Elise was for her, but she didn't seem to realize it herself. This book definitely studies toxic friendships and shows the small, subtle, yet significant ways in which toxic people like Elise manage to isolate their companions and groom them to be entirely dependable on them. 

(Spoilers in this paragraph, so please skip to the next one to avoid them!) The entire ending of the book -- the last few chapters -- really hooked me as well. I kind of suspected Elise's malicious intent from pretty early on, because there were vibes that something more sinister was happening. So when I found out that the reason she shot Jack wasn't self-defense, and it was because she wanted Remy all to herself, I wasn't surprised by the revelation, but I was still absolutely hooked on the story and kept reading because I really wanted to know what was going to happen and how it was going to specifically play out. And I'm glad that Remy told the truth and stopped trying to protect Elise in the end, because even though she knew Elise was acting from a place of defense and hurt, the things she did still weren't okay.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Best Lies. It was a dark, twisting story about what happens when friendship crosses the line into obsession, and all of the dangers and trauma that comes along with that. If you're looking for an intense, gripping read to fly through, then I would definitely recommend this one! Hats off to Sarah Lyu -- I'll definitely be reading more of her books in the future!



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