My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA contemporary/Mystery
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: July 2nd, 2019
Trigger Warnings: Parental Fighting, Physical Abuse, Bullying, Toxic Friendship, Violence, Murder, Gaslighting
She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.
But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest—
And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.
Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.
Told in alternating timelines, Thelma and Louise meets Gone Girl in this twisted psychological thriller about the dark side of obsessive friendship. – Synopsis from Goodreads.
“They’re not just afraid for me, they’re afraid of me”
OH MY GOD! I did not expect that. I went in expecting something like Pretty Little Liars and I got an intensely dark and authentic portrayal of a toxic friendship gone horribly, horribly wrong. Man, that was DARK.
The Best Lies was a physical arc that I requested, I thought it looked like a quick, fun summer read and boy was I wrong about that. There is nothing fun about this story but it’s so freaking good. Remy, our main character is a young Chinese American girl, who is fairly straight and arrow – has nice friends, does the right thing mostly, gets good grades, etc. Then comes along Elise. Elise is a firecracker, she’s just full of energy and fun and most importantly love and acceptance. She meets Remy on a really shit day and gets her through it and they become close almost immediately. What’s really well done about this book is that a lot of us are going to see ourselves in Remy – I know I did. You will know exactly who Elise is in your life, or was. Maybe it didn’t come to the extremes it comes with these young girls but it’s very easy to get wrapped up in a person like Elise, especially when you are younger and the feelings of freedom she gives.
Elise has a lot of issues, she lives with her very abusive father who is rarely home and she seems to mostly just run wild and belong to really no one. Her friendship with Remy is so uncomfortable to watch. At first, it seems like she just might be kind of a lost kid who might be a bit of trouble, but nothing serious. After a while you realize that she is grooming Remy – the amount of gaslighting and manipulation is off-the-charts. I found it incredibly triggering, so if that is something you are sensitive about, please be aware. When Remy becomes involved with a boy named Jack, the relationship between Elise starts to change and become more erratic and harder to maintain. Remy slowly tries to give the friendship some breathing room with devastating results. I don’t really want to say too much but we know when the book starts that Jack is dead, but we don’t know what happened. Let me tell you – it’s a rough one!
I want to address something super quick. The Best Lies seems to be being put in some LGBTQIA+ book lists, that is incorrect. There are no queer characters in this book. I think people may be confusing the fact that the girls have a very intense friendship where they frequently tell each other how much they love and need each other.
Overall, this is a hard book but if you think you can read it then I definitely suggest giving it a go. At times it feels far fetched but the scary thing is is that this type of thing has very much happened in real life. I think a lot of young girls are going to recognize this type of friendship and hopefully, it’s one they’ve gotten out of.
Thank you to Simon Pulse for sending me a physical advanced reader copy (ARC) of this book, in exchange for an honest review.