Review of THIS IS WHY WE LIE by Gabriella Lepore

This is a well-written mystery for young adults, but I would add mature young adults since the content is not for everyone. There is quite a bit of “hooking up” and expletives were used freely. Jenna is going to a private girls’ school in a small town, living with her aunt who is a police detective, when one of her friends is killed. When another friend is a suspect, Jenna starts investigating on her own, determined to find out who killed Colleen. There are two sets of teens who are the focus of the story. The girls are Serena, Imogen, Brianna, Hollie and Jenna, all friends who attend a school called Preston Prep. Then there are the bad boys who go to Rookwood, the boys’ private school that seems to be for the incorrigible throw-aways of society, the ones that their parents can’t or won’t control or who just don’t want to deal with them anymore. That group comprises Adam, Max, and Tommy. Of course, the girls are attracted to the bad boys and visit a cabin near the campus where they party together. The scene was well set for conflict since the kids were meeting outside of the bounds of acceptable behavior and they were doing things that their parents and the schools would not approve of. Therein lies the appeal to the younger generation since a central theme is rebellion against authority. The plot was complicated, but not so much so that it was not easy to follow. There were lots of red herrings along the way, as the story is told from the viewpoint of several of the main characters, especially Jenna and Adam. At first, I was not sure that they were reliable narrators because of their differing opinions about what had happened, but I discovered as I read that they were both reliable and accurate. They just saw things differently because they had their own perspective. With deep understanding of the teen psyche and what teens really need from life, this was a well done character study as well as a blockbuster of a mystery. I was guessing whodunit almost until the very end, and even then I was surprised by some of the revelations. Fans of YA mystery will enjoy this book and should enjoy discussing it with a book group or their parents since it brings so much information out about growing up and choosing friends wisely.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

I would rate this a M-YA book due to content, both language and sexual exploits of the youth as well as murders that make up the mystery.
Gabriella Lepore is a YA author from South Wales in the United Kingdom. She lives in the countryside with her husband James and daughter Sophia. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found exploring the coastline. She enjoys cups of tea, bookstore coffee shops, stormy beaches, and autumn days.

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This is a new young adult mystery that just released on September 21, 2021. Purchase Links: Barnes & Noble: Powells: Amazon:

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Gardiners Bay at dawn is my secret. There’s a moment, right before the day starts, when the ocean is bathed in amber light. That first golden breath of morning. Everything is still, apart from the pelicans gathering near the water, their plump bodies shuffling along the shoreline. Sometimes I sit on the promenade for hours with my legs suspended over the pebble beach below, just watching the night turn to day. Watching the darkness turn to light.
It’s often like this, just me and the birds. The only other people I tend to cross paths with at this hour are fishermen wearing heavy-duty gear and hugging their thermoses. They sit on the benches and swig their hot drinks while skimming the daily newspaper. Then they leave. A little while later, their boats drift out onto the water.
Today, though, I’m the only one here.
I raise my camera and adjust the focus, capturing the new light as it spills over the ocean. In the muted daylight, the silver tide is a murky, dull gray and frothing as it slaps against the shore.
“Help! I need help!”
My eyes dart across the shoreline. There’s a boy on the stretch of beach at the foot of Rookwood Cliff. He’s kneedeep in the water, fully dressed.
He shouts again.
I spring to my feet and run along the promenade. Ducking beneath the boardwalk railings, I jump down to the pebbled cove.
The soles of my feet sting at the impact of the stones beneath my Converse. I scramble toward him, my footing slipping on the damp pebbles.
It’s then that I recognize him.
His jeans are soaked to the thigh. He’s wading through the shallows, his legs tangled in fishing net and seaweed. And a body lies limp in his arms. A girl. She’s swollen, her skin has turned purple, and one arm is swinging downward with the momentum of Adam’s labored movements.
I press my hand to my mouth.
“Call an ambulance,” he shouts.
But all I can do is stand there, paralyzed by the sight. He lowers the girl onto the sand and begins CPR, breathing into her mouth.
It’s too late, I want to tell him.
She’s already dead.

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