Rummanah Aasi

 During her freshman year at college, Anna Xu investigates the unsolved on-campus murder of her former babysitter, as she and an old rival have to team up to look into the hate crimes happening around campus.

Review: Katie Zhao's thriller The Lies We Tell tackles important and timely topics. I can definitely see what the vision of what this book was suppose to be, but the execution of the story fell flat for me. 
   Anna Xu is a sheltered Chinese American freshmen college student who has recently returned from a summer visit in Beijing and will be starting school at Brookings University, a liberal college known for its elite, affluent, white alma mater. It is also known in the Asian community as the place for a cold case in which Asian-cued Melissa Hong, Anna's babysitter, was murdered seven years ago.  Anna, hoping for answers and closure, resolves to covertly investigate. 
  I had difficulty in believing Anna was a college freshmen. Her voice and actions were too young. I can understand having difficulty in making friends in a new environment and adjusting to a new environment, but Anna does not to have any common sense or street smarts. I didn't think she was capable of taking on an investigation. When she finds a suspicious app in which she can meet and make friends, she trusts it right away and discloses way too much information about herself.
 I also had issues with an unnecessary romance that didn't do anything for the story. In the book we learn about the rivalry between Anna's and Chris's family restaurants. We spend more time on their relationship than we do learning about Melissa's case. The thriller aspect of the story doesn't really start happening until about 60 percent of the book and once it started it was too rushed. I'm not sure how many readers would stick with this book. Some reviewers mentioned that the book is fast paced, but it wasn't for me. I found the mystery underwhelming because I figured it out early in the book. I did, however, like the themes the book touched on such as Anti-Asian discrimination and sexual fetishization of Asian women, but they didn't land powerfully as they should. The Lies We Tell wanted to be like a hybrid between Ace of Spades and a thriller by Tiffany D. Jackson, but ultimately it fell flat.  

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, a racial slur is used, bullying, and racial stereotypes. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson, Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide
1 Response
  1. A bad premise poorly executed is so disappointing!

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