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Pretending to Be Erica

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,705 ratings  ·  415 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again.

Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She kno
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 21st 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  2,705 ratings  ·  415 reviews

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May 22, 2013 marked it as to-read
Um hello? Why wouldn't I want to read a book about someone pretending to be me? ;) ...more
"Over time we all become our own doppelganger, we look the same but we're completely different people."

----Ted, How I Met Your Mother

Michelle Painchaud, an American author, pens her debut novel, Pretending to be Erica that traces the journey of a con artist who pretends to be a dead and rich princess to steal a million dollars painting, but it is not an easy road to try to have the best of the both worlds, because in reality she is just a regular teenager who has a normal lifestyle.

Feb 02, 2015 added it
Shelves: ebook, arc
DNF 58%

I'm just incredibly bored with this one. It started out intriguing enough but far-fetched, too. And the whole priceless painting bit was just not convincing. Her being this perfect teenage con artist was not convincing either. I was kept mildly curious due to the tagline on the cover - does that mean she's the real Erica somehow? Or decides to play the con forever? But I just have no interest in these characters at all :(
Reading Teen
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

At a Glance:

Pretending to be Erica was an intriguing thriller, full of moral complexity. It got a little bit slow in the middle, with a lot of repeating internal dialogue, but for the most part it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it.


I adore this cover! The typography is fantastic, giving the book a slightly eery feeling. It's so well done!

First Sentence:

"I still haven't gotten used to writing my new name."

The Characters:

The characters in Pretending to be Erica were all pret
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So good! Nice balance of flash backs and current day. I wouldn't change a thing! ...more
Jul 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Real rating 2.5

The number-one rule of a con artist: even if you have no confidence, act like you do.

Pretending to be Erica is a pretender book. If you expect this book to be funny and witty and want to learn a con world from the inside - you are for a big disappointment. This book is sheer melodrama. It seems author took her own advice and pretended to write a solid book but it was only an act - the deeper you look, the lesser you see. This book wasn't bad, but mostly I was tired of MC's crying

Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it

The microwave clock spills into midnight, and the marionette girl walks up the stairs to sleep in her puppet bed in the puppet house, filled with not-puppet people.

They are made of flesh and blood, and she is made of lies and wood.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I picked Pretending to be Erica up, but it certainly delivered in both the premise and the execution. This is an eloquently written and thought-provoking novel.

More than a decade ago, Erica Silverman, the young da
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book trapped me, I liked it from the very beginning even if I knew it wasn't going to be a happy book.

In fact it is a novel about loss , the inability to cope with it and the will not to give up hope no matter what. The loss of a daughter because of a kidnapping and the loss of a husband due to mental illness.

It is also a book about wanting to have a normal life with loving parents, a family and friends. Things that other people take for granted but Violet , the main character, needs more t
Rachel  (APCB Reviews)
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-debuts
Whoa. I did not expect to like this one as much as I did. The main character and the writing are both superb. I really enjoyed the conning aspect and secondary characters too. I'd definitely rec this one! Review to come. ...more
Apr 08, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: i_like_the_title
I want to read this because of the title.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
This was quite an interesting idea and the execution was clever.

Loved Violet. Her inner monologue was captivating. I enjoyed reading her struggle with being Violet and Erica. Taylor and James were the best part of the book and I definitely wanted more scenes with the 3 of them together.

There was a pretty good twist and the ending was definitely wasn't what I was expecting.

All in all, a quick read with an authentic voice.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-books
I have been trying to write a review, but I keep erasing it. I'm just not sure what to say. This wasn't an easy book to get into.

Violet was raised to become a dead girl. She learned how to read people, to lie, to con, and she learned everything there was to know about Erica (the girl she was selected to become). But being Erica is harder than she thought it would be. Things aren't black or white anymore. Violet is starting to see grey, and that scares her more than anything else ever could. Sou
Kylara Jensen
Probably 3.5 stars

Finally! A book about thieves/con artists that doesn't suck!

I enjoyed reading this book.

There's kind of not as much conning as I would like though. However, unlike most teen con characters Violet is ACTUALLY skilled. She is plausible. And also practical. She can read people like nobody's business, but everything she does makes sense.

So while this book is based around a con, it feel more like a coming of age novel. Violet is split between being herself and being Erica. She's nev
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Originally reviewed on Hey Teen Books Hey

I picked up this book after spending too much time researching a real and nearly equally fantastical case of Frédéric Bourdin, a French conman pretending to be a missing American teenager.

Violet has been getting groomed to become Erica for years. This included plastic surgery and having a bone broken because Erica had that bone broken too. Despite a faked positive DNA test lots of the characters still doubt that Violet is Erica and a PI is investigating
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

For Violet, a teenage con artist raises as a con artist, PRETENDING TO BE ERICA, the missing presumed dead of a wealthy Las Vegas family, is her biggest scam yet. All she has to do is steal a famous painting and she and her dad Sal will be set for life. Violet doesn’t count on becoming attached to Erica’s mother and her life. She doesn’t count on making friends for the first time in her life. She doesn’t count on meeting a guy, for the first time in her life.

Wendy Darling
3.5 stars Great premise, and surprisingly engaging and plausible execution.

Review to come.
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Con Artist with a Heart! Love it!!
Laura's Book Addiction
Dec 16, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2014, 2014-wishlist
Ohhh sounds soo good!!!
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Pretending To Be Erica is one of the most interesting books I’ve read this summer. Even though Violet was really doing something pretty terrible to this grieving family, I felt deeply sorry for her. She was clearly wanting to be a part of something, of a family that loved her, and her childhood with a conman was the only love she’d ever really known. There were times that I felt more sorry for Violet than I did for her grieving mother, which I think is a testament to Violet’s development as a ch ...more
The Reading Raccoon
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Definitely a young adult book. I think they did a fairly good job at portraying the difficulty of attempting to subsume another life, but didn’t go as in-depth as they could have. The way the teenagers acted and talked at the beginning was extremely unrealistic, but got slightly better throughout the book. Almost too clean of an ending— didn’t really resolve the Violet-Erica distinction which was what I expected to be the focus of the whole book. Would recommend for anyone who enjoys books about ...more
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I’m giving this one a 3.5. I loved the storyline: teenage con artist torn between two very different lives. In fact, it almost felt like the main character suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder sometimes. The character development was great and I enjoyed the coming-of-age aspects of the book as well. I think the only negative thing was that it was slightly repetitive in some parts. Overall, an easy and fast-paced read!
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Pretending to be Erica was definitely an interesting read. This was my first YA con book and I have to say I think I will be craving more of these!

Violet has been groomed to become Erica Silverman. This will be her until con and solidify her place besides the man who rescued her from foster care and taught her everything she knows. All she has to do is pretend to be Erica for a few months, steal a painting, and disappear into the night. Easy right? Well the whole stealing the painting thing woul
Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
ARC received for honest review.

This is one of those that is so hard for me to review. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't as gripping as one might hope. Con artistry seems to be a hot little niche topic in YA lately, and this book cashes in on that. To its credit, it kept me reading to the end. I could never predict the ending well enough that I wanted to stop reading, even when I had a guess as to how it would all play out. That guess also kept changing. It is a mystery that you want to solve.

That sai
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is great writing. Pretending To Be Erica has everything; ambitious plot, surprisingly complex characters, compelling themes, suspense and surprises.

Ambitious plot? Because the story could have been cliched, con girl turns good, but for the journey. The themes of grief, parental love, identity and integrity are cleverly explored.

I cannot think of the main character as either Violet or Erica. This con is the catalyst for Violet/Erica to grow and develop away from the controlling influence of
Đurđica Sarjanović
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Erica is Violet and Violet is Erica. I must say I really loved this story. If nothing, at least the good always wins. Violet's entire life has revolved around becoming Erica Silverman, a girl who disappeared a long time ago. Her parents are very rich, and there's the catch. Violet has Erica's DNA, her looks and everything, but returning "home" is not always a good idea. I really recommend this book, it's really different from the others I've read in the past month. ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Overall I enjoyed this book. The subject interested me the entire way through, but the ending let me down; it failed to tie up any ends with Violet's 'dad' and 'brother.' Rating: 3/5 stars; a fast-paced read for sure! ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read YA books. I don't know what made me pick this up. Maybe it was the thriller element. Or the synopsis. Whatever it was, it piqued my interest. And in the end I wasn't disappointed.
I must say though that the beginning of the book fried my brain cells. Erica is 17 yrs old. She attends high school with all its drama. And to top it all off, we all know what's going on from the second page. She's not Erica. Okay. So there is absolutely no mistery. Nothing to solve. Nothing to be
Maddie Roth
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: do-not-recommend
This book is about a con artist, possibly pulling off one of the greatest cons of the decade. I got my hopes up, I desperately wanted this whole book to be one large con. That was unfortunately not the case and I got my hopes up with all these ideas and little things meaning one thing. I got hung up on strawberries. STRAWBERRIES! Could I have chosen a less significant detail? Highly disappointed as I expected this to be as dark and unexpected as ‘We Were Liars’. Unfortunately it is unworthy of y ...more
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Michelle Painchaud is the author of the young adult thriller PRETENDING TO BE ERICA, (Viking Children's, 2014).

She likes anime and you and has a twitter if you want to chat or say hi!!

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“The microwave clock spills over into midnight, and the marionette girl walks up the stairs to sleep in her puppet bed in the puppet house, filled with not-puppet people. They are made of flesh and blood, and she is made of wood and lies.” 1 likes
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