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, I want to thank Inge, who encouraged me to read this book right away. Thanks to her, I spent one day consumed by this book and not thinking of anything else.
To be honest, I don’t even know why I didn’t read it when it came out. After all, I loved THE FINAL GIRLS by the same author. I guess I saw some reviews or read something that made me push it down the TBR… And I was so wrong to do that. LAST TIME I LIED instantly became one of my favorite reads of 2018 and I liked it even more than Riley Sager’s debut.
It’s no secret that I love teen horror movies, slashers and everything that Riley Sager seems to write about. So I guess it was obvious that the summer camp setting quickly captivated me and I suddenly couldn’t stop reading. Life happened, and I had to spend all day outside, but then the morning after, I raced through it and finished the rest of the book in a sitting.
This is a deeply atmospheric and twisty novel that follows a similar structure to Final Girls. The flashbacks, of course, tell us the story of Emma’s first summer at Camp Nightingale and the present story focuses on her investigation back at the same location where her friends vanished fifteen years ago.
There are many things I loved about this story. First of all, there was a chapter around the middle that literally made me gasp out loud. If you’ve read it, you probably know which one I’m talking about. It was so well done… so smart. And from that point on, the novel became unputdownable.
Secondly, the reason why Emma felt so guilty about the disappearance. The fact that she felt it was partly her fault. This reveal broke my heart and it’s exactly the kind of narrative that I love in stories. It was perfect.
Finally, I admit that while the present mystery resolution wasn’t as satisfactory, I can’t think of other option that would’ve made more sense. BUT. THAT. ENDING. I’m sure most of you were most invested in the disappearance of Vivian, Natalie and Allison. I know I was. Never in a million years would I have guessed what really happened. And when you think of it, all the clues were there.
This is how it ends... Goosebumps.
What did you think of this book? Did you like it better than his first? Were you as shocked as I was? 💙