Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

* * * 1/2

A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…

Admittedly, I requested to review this book based on Fitzpatrick’s name alone. It’s not just because she wrote one of my favourite series – Hush, Hush. It’s also because she impressed me last year with her standalone release, Black Ice, a departure from the paranormal world she had inhabited. Having enjoyed that, I had no hesitation in reading her latest.

Dangerous Lies follows sixteen year-old “Stella” who has been placed into Witness Protection after agreeing to testify against the perpetrator of a heinous crime she witnessed in her own home. She’s uprooted from her hometown of Philadelphia and taken to Thunder Basin, Nebraska, where she’ll stay for the summer until the case is set to go to trial. This small town is far-removed from her former life. She’s annoyed to be left in the care of a retired cop, Carmina, who actually has the gall to set boundaries and curfews for her, something she’s never had to deal with from her own strung-out, ineffective mother. The only thing that could be a bright side in this middle-of-nowhere town is local hottie, Chet Falconer. The two get along well and Stella has to quell her attraction to him by reminding herself that she does have a boyfriend waiting somewhere out there with whom she hopes to be reunited soon. Carmina warns Stella to stay away from Chet but of course, she doesn’t listen. In fact, Stella spends quite a bit of time at the beginning looking down her nose at people, putting her arrogance on full display and defying Carmina. You can well imagine what sort of stupidity that can lead to.

As I read Dangerous Lies, I challenged myself to gather the clues and put the pieces together before Fitzpatrick’s final unveiling of the truth. She set a nice pace and surprised me with some diversions and twists I didn’t see coming. That's the point, right? Fitzpatrick also gives Stella a strong personality with a voice that expresses her disdain for her current situation. When you first meet her, she's just oozing hostility. And although she's in a new setting, Stella's terrifying nightmares still accompany her along with the guilt over her mother's condition. I was happy to see Stella eventually change her tune as she gets accustomed to Thunder Basin and the locals. Everything in this temporary home has given her a new perspective on what her life was like in Philly and what she has gained in the time she's been here. 

I enjoyed Dangerous Lies and how our heroine went from feeling invincible to realizing that she can allow herself to count on people who care about her. Turns out Thunder Basin is a good place after all!

~ Bel

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