Three Truths and a Lie

272p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481449601.
Gr 9 Up—Mia is spontaneous, brash, and gorgeous, while Liam is a predictable honor student. Liam and his boyfriend, Rob, belong to radically different social spheres than Mia and her Adonis-like boyfriend, Galen. After Galen has a brush with someone trying to settle a score, the friends retreat to Mia's family cabin. A lakeside getaway is the perfect place to celebrate their upcoming graduation and to indulge in some romance. What should be a fun weekend soon dissolves into a fight for survival. A satellite phone, their only means of communication, is missing, and their car is sabotaged. Someone wants the teens to be isolated and vulnerable, but who would maliciously terrorize them? When Mia lets slip a terrible secret from her youth, Rob wonders if a childhood blunder could compel a person to commit murder. Although the plot is a classic horror movie setup, the story does not feel derivative. The gay relationship and the impact of Galen's insidious bullying are issues not typically dealt with in this genre. Hartinger's novel is a gripping mystery written in a straightforward way that will appeal to reluctant readers. The unadorned language propels the plot swiftly forward and keeps readers engaged. The descriptive sex scenes make this book suitable for a mature high school audience.
VERDICT An intense mystery perfect for reluctant readers.

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