Publication Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Source: Delacorte Press, NetGalley
Fans of Ally Carter, especially her Heist Society readers, will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Oceanâ€™s Elevenâ€“inspired action.
Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. Sheâ€™s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicagoâ€™s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesnâ€™t rely on her dadâ€”she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.
But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julepâ€™s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agathaâ€™s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dadâ€™s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julepâ€™s in way over her head . . . but thatâ€™s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.
Im always up for a good, fun mystery novel, and thats precisely what I got withÂ Trust Me, Im Lying. Juleps learned the art of conning from her father, so when he goes missing, Julep puts aside her best-laid plans to find himwhich involves following cryptic clues from one place to the next. Despite the fact that Julep wants nothing more than to leave the world of grifting behind, she becomes ever immersed in it for the sake of finding her fathera characteristic I reallyÂ admired. Another thing: Juleps smart and shes kind of a though nut to crack which made it really easy to like her.Â Juleps also a bit of a recluse; being a con artist makes you weary of relationships, but in order to locate her missing father, she enlists the help of her best friend Sam as well as Tyler, the guy every girl wants.
Trust Me, Im LyingÂ wasnt big on the romance. In fact, its practically nonexistent, which I found interesting and a breath of fresh air (and yes, this is coming from the girl who loves romance). Juleps journey is one that is more focused on getting her dad and her life back on track, and I can appreciate that. However, there were times when I just couldnt get behind on certain scenes. I already said Julep was smart, but shes also very perceptive, which was why I found it hard to believe that she hadnt seen Sams feelings for what they were. I mean, really, who is that oblivious? That was hardly a deal breaker, but there were a couple of more instances I was a bit dubious.
Nevertheless,Â Trust Me, Im LyingÂ definitely had its fun and exciting moments. The action really picks up about halfway through and we get some twists and turns I had not anticipated. Overall, Summers debut is one that keeps you guessing and on your toes, and even leaves you wondering: whats next for Julep Dupree?
â€śHey, Julep. Got a sec?â€ť Murphy Donovanâ€”a soft, bespectacled nerd from my biology classâ€”stops me before I get very far.
â€śYou happen to have a decent cup of espresso on your person?â€ť I say.
â€śNot on me, no.â€ť
â€śThen if you want to talk, youâ€™ll have to walk me.â€ť
He falls into step like a well-trained puppy, but he seems to need a little prodding in the talking department.
â€śSo is this a social call?â€ť I ask.
â€śNo. That is, um, Iâ€™d like toâ€ťâ€”he lowers his voice and looks over his shoulder at the students flitting hither and yon around usâ€”â€śhire you.â€ť
â€śI see. How can I be of service?â€ť
â€śI want you to get Bryn Halverson to go to the fall formal with me,â€ť he all but whispers.
I consider his request as I shift my bag. I could do it. Easily, in fact. All it takes is a modified fiddle game. My brain is already spinning the con, assessing resources, gauging the mark. But Iâ€™d like a little more information before I take the job.
â€śThe Bryn Halverson?â€ť I say. â€śHead JV cheerleader, homecoming court, failing Spanishâ€”that Bryn Halverson?â€ť
â€śSheâ€™s failing Spanish?â€ť
â€śYes, her,â€ť Murphy answers.
â€śDo you mind if I ask why?â€ť
He drops his gaze to his hands. â€śI like her,â€ť he mumbles.
â€śYou and every other straight, red-blooded American male,â€ť I say, more truthful than kind. I donâ€™t need to drag this out of him. I can do the job without it. But how I approach the job affects him, and understanding his motivations lets me know how far I can go.
â€śI liked her before. Iâ€™ve liked her since middle school, when she had braces and frizzy hair and was whipping all our butts at algebra.â€ť
I sigh and give him a sympathetic look. Iâ€™m going to take the job, of course, but Iâ€™m not thrilled about it. Not because Iâ€™m opposed to manipulating Bryn, but because I already know Murphyâ€™s going to get trampled. And since Murphyâ€™s a tech-club buddy of Samâ€™s, Sam is not going to be pleased if I help Bryn break Murphyâ€™s heart.
â€śHonestly, Murphy, it would be easier if you just wanted the social status.â€ť
â€śSo youâ€™ll do it?â€ť
I nod reluctantly. â€śYes. But youâ€™ll probably regret it.â€ť
â€śDepends on how much you like her.â€ť
â€śNo, I meanâ€”â€ť
I wave him to silence. â€śI know what you mean,â€ť I say, calculating the fee in my head. What is the going rate for breaking somebodyâ€™s heart? This is one of those questions that make me reconsider my line of work.
â€śFive hundred. Cash. Plus the standard proviso.â€ť
â€śYou owe me a favor.â€ť
â€śWhat kind of favor?â€ť
â€śThe kind where you donâ€™t know what it is until I ask it,â€ť I say, pausing at the door to the Ballou. â€śIf itâ€™s any comfort, itâ€™s usually something pretty tame, and generally in your area of expertise.â€ť
Murphy mulls over my terms for all of half a second before forking over the cash. Iâ€™d never pay that much for a school dance, but then most of the students at St. Aggieâ€™s have money to burn. Even worse is the threat of an unspecified favor to be called in at a later date. But Iâ€™ve never had anyone protest. I guess thatâ€™s what comes of having unlimited access to whatever you wantâ€”when you need something you canâ€™t get, youâ€™re willing to put everything on the line. Maybe the opportunity to confess your undying love is worth it. Iâ€™ve never felt that way about anyone, so what do I know?
â€śWhen should I ask her?â€ť he says.
â€śA week from tomorrow,â€ť I answer as I open the door. â€śThat gives us time to lay the groundwork, but still gives her a few days to buy a dress. Assuming she doesnâ€™t have a closet full already.â€ť
â€śWhat if she says no?â€ť
â€śYou should be more worried about her saying yes.â€ť
He gives me a confused look.
â€śIâ€™ll take care of it,â€ť I say, stepping into the warm glow of the Ballou.