Review: Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering


Synopsis from Good Reads:

A thrilling, sexy coming-of-age story exploring toxic love, ruthless ambition, and shocking betrayal, Tell Me Lies is about that one person who still haunts you—the other one. The wrong one. The one you couldn’t let go of. The one you’ll never forget.

Lucy Albright is far from her Long Island upbringing when she arrives on the campus of her small California college, and happy to be hundreds of miles from her mother, whom she’s never forgiven for an act of betrayal in her early teen years. Quickly grasping at her fresh start, Lucy embraces college life and all it has to offer—new friends, wild parties, stimulating classes. And then she meets Stephen DeMarco. Charming. Attractive. Complicated. Devastating.

Confident and cocksure, Stephen sees something in Lucy that no one else has, and she’s quickly seduced by this vision of herself, and the sense of possibility that his attention brings her. Meanwhile, Stephen is determined to forget an incident buried in his past that, if exposed, could ruin him, and his single-minded drive for success extends to winning, and keeping, Lucy’s heart.

Alternating between Lucy’s and Stephen’s voices, Tell Me Lies follows their connection through college and post-college life in New York City. Deep down, Lucy knows she has to acknowledge the truth about Stephen. But before she can free herself from this addicting entanglement, she must confront and heal her relationship with her mother—or risk losing herself in a delusion about what it truly means to love.

With the psychological insight and biting wit of Luckiest Girl Alive, and the yearning ambitions and desires of Sweetbitter, this keenly intelligent and staggeringly resonant novel chronicles the exhilaration and dilemmas of young adulthood, and the difficulty of letting go, even when you know you should.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Tell Me Lies will be available June 12, 2018.

Tell Me Lies is an addicting tale of a toxic relationship and the dysfunctional people involved in it.

I really liked that the story was told in alternating 1st person POV. It helped keep a good pace throughout the story and I really feel like I got to know both Lucy and Stephen. They were both awful people (though Lucy was more troubled than truly awful), but I found myself unable to put the book down because I wanted to see what happened with them next. There was one plotline that I didn’t really feel fit with the rest of the story, though. It’s something that affected both Lucy and Stephen’s youth that Lucy figures out at the end of the book kind of randomly and then nothing happens with. I thought it could have just been something from Stephen’s past without having to relate to Lucy at all and would have been a little cleaner.

Stephen was a straight up sociopath. He was manipulative and uncaring about anything but his own wants and needs. He had a total lack of empathy for others. I think what I appreciated most about this story is that he wasn’t some serial killer or something. It felt like a very real, eye-opening picture of what an average person with an antisocial personality disorder is like and how they can so casually hurt and betray the people who care about them without a bit of guilt.

Though I was invested in Lucy’s story, she was hard for me to like. I couldn’t really relate to her. Though she did witness something kind of traumatizing as a young teenager and then never discussed it with anyone for a long time, I didn’t feel like it really justified her behavior. From the outside is was also very easy to see how toxic her relationship with Stephen was and how easy it seemed to me to just remove herself from the situation, so I felt frustrated with her, even though I know things are never that simple when it’s actually happening to you.

Overall, I found Tell Me Lies to be very addictive. The dual 1st person POVs were very well done and Stephen’s portrayal as a sociopath felt realistic and informative. I think this would definitely be a good book to read if you or someone you know has been in a toxic relationship. I look forward to reading more from Lovering in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

22 thoughts on “Review: Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

  1. So, you’re saying this is not a happy love story kind of book. Lol. I really didn’t know what this one was about when I requested it on Netgalley, but I’m looking forward to reading it. Glad to see it was mostly a winner for you!

  2. This sounds like an intriguing story! Generally speaking I’m not crazy about dual POV, but this sounds like a really interesting use of the format. And honestly I would pick up anything that was comparable to Sweetbitter. I loved that book.

    • I think the dual POV definitely enriches the story. I haven’t read Sweetbitter so I can’t say how good of a comparison it is, but it was definitely an interesting read. I hope you enjoy it if you get to it!

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