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Lies You Never Told Me

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"A compulsive page-turner with a shocking twist--get ready to stay up all night!" --Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars

"Fatal Attraction meets Big Little Lies." --Kirkus Reviews

Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.

Quiet, shy Elyse can't believe it when she's cast as the lead in her Portland high school's production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn't sure she's up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye--someone she knows she absolutely shouldn't be with--she can't help but be pulled into the spotlight.

Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable--breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She's not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.

Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.

329 pages, Hardcover

First published May 29, 2018

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Jennifer Donaldson

4 books273 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 892 reviews
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,290 reviews343 followers
July 12, 2018
About: Lies You Never Told Me is a young adult thriller written by Jennifer Donaldson. It will be published on 5/29/18 by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House, 336 pages. The genres are young adult, mystery & suspense, social issues, and fiction. This book is intended for readers ages 14 and up, grades 9 and up. This book is the author’s debut.

My Experience: I started reading Lies You Never Told Me on 4/15/18 and finished it on 4/24/18 at 12:30 AM. This book is an awesome read! I like reading about Elyse more because what she goes through seems real. I like the support of her friend Brynn and the concerns she has for Elyse. I like the diversity in this book. I like how Gabe is such a good brother to Vivi. I like how Gabe’s mom handles those police. I’m iffy on Gabe when he profess his love because it seems like he didn’t know her so well, but I guess nobody ever know all of each other’s secrets. I like Gabe’s concerns for those he loves because he goes above and beyond for them.

This book is told in the first person point of view following Gabe and Elyse. Both teens lead separate different lives. Gabe lives in Austin, TX and is best friends with Caleb and Irene. He’s a doormat for his mean-girl girlfriend Sasha. One night, on his way home from Sasha’s house, he was hit by a car. A girl stopped to call 911 for him but couldn’t stay longer. Later he recognize the girl in school and thank her for saving his life. Her name is Catherine and she’s a new student attending the school. Gabe couldn’t help falling for her as he got to know her and dump Sasha. Gabe begins to pursue Catherine and learns just how strict it is to date her. Catherine seems to have something to hide and have trusting issues. Gabe soon receives threats that could harm those close to him. The alternative first person point of view is Elyse. Elyse lives with her unstable mom in Portland, OR and juggles between school and work to pay the bills. She is best friends with Brynn who likes vintage clothing at the thrift store. At school, she tries out for a role in Romeo & Juliet and got caught up in more than she bargained for. She has a taste of the forbidden fruit and wants more of it. Once she has it, it’s too far to go back. The freedom she dreams of turns into a nightmare, but it might not be too late to wake up.

This book is very well written and developed. I truly feel the voice of a high school student when I read each of his/her dramas. When comes to he said/she said with Gabe, I actually feel mad that nobody believes him. This book provide a good reminder to keep all the evidence otherwise, it could go back to bite you. I also learn that it’s good to keep calm because anger portrays you as a threat even though you are not. I was able to guess what will happen with Elyse but the twist at the end, that was Most Unexpected and I love it. I like the suspense and mystery in this book and many times I couldn’t put down the read. I like how reading this book, time seems to fly by. This thriller is an excellent read and I highly recommend everyone to read it!

Pro: fast paced, page turner, easy to read, adrenaline rush, couldn’t put down, suspense, diversity, twists

Con: none

I rate it 5 stars!

***Disclaimer: I won my copy of this book from Goodreads giveaway via the publisher. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
Profile Image for Michelle .
878 reviews1,272 followers
December 14, 2018
For a YA mystery / thriller this wasn't too bad at all.

Elyse is a shy girl that lives with her drug addicted mother in Portland, OR. Her best friend Brynn has been acting since she was a little a girl and with her help Elyse becomes interested in their schools theater program. Romeo and Juliet is the upcoming production and the new theater teacher, Mr. Hunter, thinks Elyse is perfect for the role of Juliet. The starring roles always go to Brynn but Mr. Hunter see's something in Elyse that no else has ever seen before and Elyse can't resist his attention. But what happens when attention turns to attraction?

Gabe is a young hispanic skateboarder that lives in Austin, TX. He has a nice and caring family and a sister, Vivi, with Down Syndrome that he adores with all his heart. He also has a girlfriend, Sasha, who happens to be one of the most popular girls in his school. However, dating the most popular girl in school comes with challenges especially when you disagree with her. She's possessive and controlling and even though he wants to break up with her it isn't his choice to make because Sasha always gets what she wants.

These two seemingly unrelated stories are bound to connect and I should of saw it coming from like a mile a way but I didn't and then at 75% in I had my AH HAH moment.

Is there suspension of disbelief to be had? Oh yeah. The short chapters and quick pace made it easy for me to overlook some of those little details though. 3.5 stars!
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
858 reviews3,756 followers
June 1, 2018
Note: I was sent an early copy of this book by the publisher for promotion and review consideration.

Representation: One of the two POV characters and his family are Mexican American. His kid sister has Down Syndrome. A side character is Filipina American. One of the POVs depicts poverty and living with an addict parent. There is possible unnamed mental illness. Abusive romances.

Content warnings: There are 2 abusive romances (both m/f couples, one abuser is male, and the other is female) that are a huge part of the plot. There is a teacher/student romance. There is an addict parent. There is a car accident. Possible microaggresions toward mental illness. Violence/guns.


I really liked this! It kept me turning the pages and theorizing the whole way through. I did guess the major twist, which was marketed as being something "you won't see coming" but I was still reading the book like "OMG I HOPE IT'S THIS." It isn't something I've ever seen done before and I was LIVING. FOR. IT. Not sure if other readers will pick up on it or not so I wouldn't let the fact that I guessed it be a turn off for you.

I loved that this wasn't about solving a murder or missing person case because I feel like that's all I read in this genre. I enjoyed that abusive romances were the basis of tension. They are not romanticized but you should definitely go into this wanting a thriller and not expecting a deep exploration of toxic relationships.

This would be 5 stars except that I felt things with Sasha's character were left hanging (at least in the ARC). She was called "crazy" or "insane" for doing terrible things, but there was no indication she really had a mental illness. And no explanation was given for some of the things that happened with Gabe that he didn't remember.

This is one of my favorite thrillers that I've read in maybe the past year because I just loved how things came together though!
Profile Image for Susan Kennedy.
271 reviews9 followers
April 23, 2019
I didn't hate it, in fact I wasn't sure I even liked it, but I kept reading. I was getting annoyed at the two different stories going on. One chapter about one and the next chapter about another and on and on that is the way it went through the entire book. Then, about six or so chapters to go I'm thumping myself on the head. I have no idea where my brain went or why I couldn't put the two stories together. I only hoped that it would all come together in the end. Boy am I slow today! I should have put the two stories together WAY sooner than I did. And my husbands answer to that was, "Well, you know I didn't marry brains!". Wanker!

There was a lot of drama, a psycho bitchy girl and the teacher/student relationship. It was one ball of messy. In the end it did get all sorted out in a huge bunch of dramatization. Like I said at the beginning, I didn't hate it. By the time I reached the end and it all came together it wasn't bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. There were definitely characters that I liked and characters that I definitely didn't. The story as a whole was okay.
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,229 reviews465 followers
February 10, 2019
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

VIDEO REVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exJ8k...

Elyse and Gabe have never met but each have a story to tell. Elyse has never liked to be the centre of attention so when she is cast as the lead in her high school play everyone is surprised. That's when she starts gaining attention from someone she never expected to fall for. Gabe is fed up with the way his girlfriend Sasha treats him and those around her. After breaking up with her, she will stop at nothing to win him back.

I did not expect to like this as much as I did! The book is told in alternating perspectives which I found both to be interesting and I wanted to know more about each of them. I thought the author did a great job switching between the two narratives without feeling disjointed in anyway. I couldn't put the book down and loved how each chapter ended with a cliff hanger then switched perspectives so you had to wait to see what would develop. The book is definitely fast-paced and hard to put down! Both Elyse and Gabe are going through difficult things but their reactions seem realistic for their age. I also loved the diversity of this book! Gabe is Mexican American, Elyse's best friend, Brynn, is Filipina American. Vivi, Gabe's little sister has down syndrome and she really shines in this book.

I'm usually very good at being able to predict how thrillers will play out. I should have seen the big reveal coming but I didn't, which made the book way more enjoyable for me. I love the suspense in this book and the overall tense feeling the entire time I was reading. I will definitely be checking out more of this author's work in the future and I highly recommend thriller lovers check this one out!
Profile Image for 여리고.
71 reviews218 followers
August 6, 2020

Dear me, what a ride!

This is the second book I have read by Ms. Donaldson and it has delightfully exceeded my already high expectations of any book by her, all because of I Know You Remember and how it left me gawking (and almost drooling) for an hour straight.

It is now official! I have a new author in my sights, one whose succeeding works I definitely would kill to have in my possession. let's all hope the situation does not ever come to that lol

I did not think it was possible to love a book that is both manipulative and provocative until now. This was quite everything I wanted in a mystery novel and more. This was so ravishing in its own right. And after having a series of bad luck in choosing what to read over this past month, it is such an invigorating turn to find this luxury that doesn't come very often; a nice break from one slightly shitty book and the shittiest one I've ever read before that. It is to my colossal rapture I happened to stumble upon this brilliantly crafted and lush prose.

This book has so much grit that it gives off a profound meaning to the saying 'love knows no bounds.' Its intricately woven narrative takes on a whole new level when it comes to YA mysteries as it does not hold off the messages it wants to deliver to teens nowadays. The whole story comes off with a sting due to its raw portrayal of how a single bad decision may lead to strings of woeful consequences in which life will never be the same normal it once was again.

The thing I liked most about this narrative is it does not shy away from the complexities that is life. No sugarcoating of daily troubles and worries was ever present within its dialogues nor was it romanticizing the kinds of problematic relationships that are evident in our singularly complicated world. A love affair, whether one be acceptable or not, initially may seem validated and true in one's own eyes, but everything done impetuously and unbecomingly ends up deleterious at some point in the seemingly fine and mutually consented relationship. And the kind of relationship that was shown focus here is so destructive that there is nowhere in any dimension it will ever be found tolerable.

The author made sure that this book was briskly written, simultaneously expressing and realizing the main issues that take a toll on some people involved in the same abusive relationship.

The characters were given voices, feelings and lives without pretense and at numerous times relatable, but not without flaws, as how any human being is designed to be. Almost all of them were vaguely fleshed out as the story moved along with the exception of Sasha. The cause of the behavior she had shown throughout the book was not clearly identified but if I were to take a wild guess from my perspective, it would be from the lack of a good example inside her household to direct her life to a sense of rectitude and probity.

I especially loved how everything has a mind-blowing connection in the end. That last quarter of the book had me deeply astonished and reeling with so much excitement I could not have turned the pages more abruptly.

This book has given me so much pleasure, ease to admire the cleverness of it all, and just the right amount of diversion from distressing reality I didn't know I needed before.

All things considered, this is a book deserving to be recognized more in the YA community, be given more hype than it has received today and be warranted as one of the most underrated titles in the history of YA books ever written, published and sold to the world.

I certainly will not be making a grave mistake of not keeping an eye out for more from this author and for your sake I suggest you do the same as well.
Profile Image for Malia.
Author 6 books551 followers
May 24, 2018
3.5 stars

I was excited to receive a copy of The Lies You Never Told, a book in a genre I usually enjoy! The story revolved around Gabe and Elyse, and I often like the multiple POVs when done well, because they add a certain roundness to a story. The characters were engaging, though they plot felt a little predictable to me at times. That being said, it did not detract from my enjoyment of the book. I was curious how the two plot lines would come together and when they did, I was drawn into the story even more. The writing was quite good and I liked that the pace of the book was quick, making for an engaging story. There were a few flaws, but overall, I thought this was a solid book and I would read more by this author in the future!

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

Thanks to BookishFirst for supplying me with a copy of Lies You Never Told Me in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,780 reviews1,626 followers
May 28, 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this sneak peek, the first 74 pages of LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME, and would definitely be interested in reading the rest of it. I feel invested in the characters journeys and excited about what eventually happens as you delve deeper into the book. The more I read the harder it was to contemplate placing it down to do something boring but necessary. In the end, I decided that for my own good I would finish it all before attempting to focus on other things. Unless there is some sort of drastic change, I imagine that the rest of the novel will continue to be just as damn addictive!

I absolutely cannot wait to finish the rest of this! You just get a feeling when you know you're reading a book of greatness.

A big thank you to Jennifer Donaldson, PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group and NetGalley for this teaser in exchange for an honest and impartial review.
Profile Image for TL .
1,818 reviews35 followers
February 18, 2018
I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.
Maybe I shouldn't have read this after the Echo Killing, but for me this was just okay *shrugs* Not great not bad, just in the middle.

Profile Image for Sylvie .
630 reviews822 followers
April 30, 2019
'Lies You Never Told Me'
by Jennifer Donaldson

4/5 stars.

At first I thought this book book was going to be a slasher aka with a killer constantly murdering people because in the tags it was described as "Thriller''. However, throughout the book I realized it was more
psychological thriller than a slasher thriller.

Before reviewing this book I want to point out the trigger warnings:
Domestic violence, forbidden relationship, drug addict, abusement and bully(ing).

This will contain spoilers:

The story is told by two narrators with alternating chapters; Gabe and Elyse. We learn about their stories individually.
-Gabe; Dating one of the most popular girl in school Sasha but doesn't get approved by her parents beacuse they dissaprove him for being a latino. After leaving her house he gets struck by a car but a girl his age saves him by calling 911. After that he realizes he had enough with his girlfriends' horrific bullshits and break ups with her, without noticing what kind of a psycho ex-girlfriend Sasha can really be. Then she starts threatning him but makes everyone think Gabe is the one who is the sociopath.

-On the other hand we have Elyse: a shy girl who auditions in 'Rome & Juliet' with no hopes that she'll get the lead part and SPOILER ALERT she gets to play the role of Juliet. Her drug-addict mother is barely in the picture. Elyse has been supporting herself for many years, doing whatever it took to keep Social Services at bay. But now she has captured a man’s attention or rather her teacher's attention with whom she has to spend a lot of time with because of her play.

I loved how Jennifer Donaldson kept the suspense built throughout the book. The interactions between her characters seemed genuine and the responses and feelings were on point. This book is a roller coaster of a page-turner with many ups and downs. The chapters were short, the plot had so much suspense in it, and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
I had my doubts about the major plot twist in this book, then I thought it would be silly to think like that, but when there were still 7 chapters or so left of it I had a major realization how stupid I was not realizing what was coming, so thankfully I figured it out before the big reveal.
The twist at the end of was so good, though I did see it coming I still questioned myself. If it wasn't for the ending I would've found this an average book. In a way this book was more of a drama than a thriller and it was psychological to be sure. Due to the ending I had to read some of the previous chapters again to understand it more not because it was difficult but because it gives a whole different perspective.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is prepared to stay up all night reading. It's a thriller but it's also a love story. It's psychological and emotional and it takes a hard look at the decisions we make and how they affect out lives. It's also about hope and fresh starts and the promise of tomorrow. Oh yes, I can't recommend this enough. And I'm 100% sure ths book will be in my mind for a very long time.
Profile Image for Tala .
192 reviews89 followers
May 18, 2018
This is how thrillers should be.

Everyone, take note.

Look, by far the genre I’m the most pickiest with is thrillers. So rare do I genuinely care for a character’s safety, or am surprised by the so-called twists and turns of the plot. I’ve read HERE LIES DANIEL TATE and was meh about it. I’ve read THE HANGING GIRL and was disappointed. ONE OF US IS LYING was fun fluff, but nothing more.

But this one? I think it’s safe to say that LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME is my favorite thriller. Ever.

My favorite thing about this was how it truly throws you for a loop. I couldn’t predict how ANYTHING will play out, and this is a first for me. The story, as the synopsis tells you, alternates between the stories of Elyse and Mr Hunter (which, side note: gross) and Gabe and his girlfriend, Sasha. And from the outset, it seems like the two are unrelated (they’re in different states, even), but I promise you they are. And the link between them blew. My. Mind.


The writing, the writing, the writing. It’s lovely. And this is an observation you could notice right off the bat, when the opening chapter begins with a thunderstorm at night. And the story is structured in a way that won’t tell you everything at once, and would leave you guessing, and then laugh in your face because your guesses are WRONG.

I love that.

Okay but, there were some things I wasn’t hugely a fan of, but they’re tiiiiny things, so there’s that. One: Compared to Elyse, Gabe’s narration is bland. He’s not very fleshed out as a character because I legit cannot really describe him to you. Like, is he shy or outgoing or smart or average or funny or ..? He needed a bit more oomph. The poor boy had an oomph deficiency.
And two: Sasha. I couldn’t really see how her part was integrated into the overall picture. She’s like borderline red herring and borderline ... not. So I don’t see her overarching purpose except perhaps to keep the reader on her toes.

But overall? I looooved this one. A compelling plot, and gorgeous writing, and an ending that was absolutely mind blowing. I dare say, even if you don’t like thrillers, give this one a try.

Thank you, PenguinTeen, for the ARC!
Profile Image for Aisling.
Author 3 books99 followers
February 26, 2019
Whoa! This one blew me away. I read an ARC copy and I really can't wait to see how this one explodes into popularity. It begins with alternating stories--great dialogue, fast paced, interesting characters but for sure you can see what's coming; it's like watching a slow moving train crash. At one point I even scoffed to myself 'well that was predictable' BUT, dear reader, you HAVE. NO. IDEA.

I think the author does a truly brilliant job of pulling off an epic plot twist at the end that is 100% legit (because we all hate those cheat ones). And I am still in awe of her. I never put it together and I read mysteries all the time.

So let me put it this way; without the ending, this was a good, very readable book with characters I cared about and others I loathed bumping along life's highway. But with the ending, this book rockets into one of my favorite "holy frijoles I did not see that coming, OMG OMG OMG", books. I last felt this way after I read Gone, Girl. And I really think this belongs in the same category of thrillers.

Very highly recommended.
Profile Image for Marla.
1,260 reviews216 followers
April 18, 2018
Lies You Never Told Me was a page turner. I liked how the story went back and forth between Elyse in Portland and Gabe in Austin. Their lives were very different yet kind of the same. Elyse is a 16-year-old who decides to go out of her comfort zone and audition for the school play. She has a junkie for a Mom who can’t keep a job and can’t keep off the stuff so Elyse has had to grow up young and try to keep them in an apartment. Then there is Gabe who lives in Austin. Gabe’s girlfriend is very popular and she knows it. She controls him and is very jealous if he even spends time with his down syndrome sister Vivi. Sasha thinks Gabe should be with him all the time. She isn’t nice to any of her friends either. She is the true queen bee of the school. As Gabe and Elyse make choices that change their lives, the story ramps up even more, pushing the reader on a journey where you are scared for one character and want to reach in and slap sense into the other. (I don’t want to give anything away about the choices because it will give too much away and I would rather people find out themselves, trust me, they are big.) This was such a fantastic story. I’m so glad I read it. I hope other people enjoy Lies You Never Told Me as much as I did.

Thanks to Penguin Random House First to Read Program for an advanced copy.
Profile Image for Brittany S..
1,486 reviews697 followers
August 20, 2018
Initial Impressions 5/11/18: 3- 3.5 stars
HM. Well. This book was definitely interesting but I actually think it could have benefitted from more editing, which although I'm no expert in the editing/publishing process, is something I feel a lot nowadays.

Let's think of non-spoilery things first...
I did find the direction of this book really interesting! There was a nice twist and that light bulb moment when I finally realized exactly where this book was heading and what these two stories had in common was a very fun moment and I had flails and a freak out! That was really nicely planned and it was fun not to pick up on it right away. (Ah, the perks of multi-tasking -- my brain doesn't try to guess twists and plots when it's distracted by other things!)

What I did find irksome was the sort of red herring of the book. There are two major things that happen to change the lives of Elyse and Gabe and the second thing seemed like it was more there as a distraction than something that was actually a part of the story. It just didn't quite seem like it fit in, or thinking about it a different way, it felt like a separate story that didn't quite merge with the main point. (Confusing? It's hard not to spoil!)

Okay, if you really want to know, here are the spoilers --> I also wish that things had started picking up juuuust a little sooner. I knew it would be a dark, twisty book and I didn't lose interest but I did find myself looking for those jaw-dropping moments, waiting for them to happen. Sure, they don't need to be in every chapter but it just felt like it took a touch too long for a couple things to unravel.

This was a really interesting book and it looks like my other Goodreads friends have really enjoyed it so far! That red herring feeling did stick with me a lot so that's why I didn't enjoy it AS much but I am absolutely interested in other books from Jennifer Donaldson and I'd be so interested to see what else she comes up with!!

Also reviewed on The Book Addict's Guide 8/14/18
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,304 reviews220 followers
April 13, 2021
***Thank you to First to Read for providing me a complimentary copy of LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME by Jennifer Donaldson in exchange for my honest review.***


In Oregon, Elyse lands the part of Juliet in her school play while beginning a dangerous relationship. In Texas Gabe’s ex girlfriend doesn’t want to let him go. And she’s willing to stoop to crime to get him back. These teens stories come together in a deadly conclusion.

Almost from the beginning, I knew how Elyse and Gabe’s lives would ultimately connect, most readers will. That didn’t keep me from being glued to LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME, caring about both characters and rooting for their lives to work out.

Donaldson switches first person points of view between chapters end each with cliffhangers that kept me interested until the end. The characters are interesting, albeit not fully fleshed and the minor characters were tropes. Still, I cared and couldn’t put down LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME as a fun reading experience.

ETA: I also liked the female narrator in the audiobook, the male was only average.
Profile Image for Karima chermiti.
812 reviews154 followers
October 4, 2018

Actual rating : 3.75 stars

Trigger warning:

Everything worth doing has the possibility of ending in pain

Sneaky, dark and upsetting; Lies you never told me is a manipulative book about obsession, toxic relationships and unhinged emotions; this is a book you don’t want to miss. Told in alternating narratives between a girl and a boy, one lives in Texas and the other lives in Oregon and yet both will discover what it means to be a prisoner in a dangerous unhealthy relationship and to what extent some people are willing to go if it means that they’ll get what or who they want.

Lies you never told me is a YA psychological thriller that revolves around two characters:

No, it’s not the same. Juliet is treated like precious property. I take care of a mom too strung out to even notice me. But still—we’re both invisible. We’re both hungry to be seen.

Elyse the quiet and shy girl who’s used to go through life being unnoticed and invisible but it all changes when she’s cast as the lead in her school production of Romeo and Juliet and before she knows it, she’s not only the center of attention of all the students but she’s also the target of a calculated and manipulative person who knows how to play on her vulnerabilities.

People will always find a way to hurt each other. To use each other

And Gabe, the guy who’s trapped in a toxic relationship with his abusive and emotionally manipulative girlfriend who is obsessed with him in ways that makes him fear for everyone he cares about. So when Gabe manages to do the unthinkable and breaks up with her, he will learn that she can turn his life upside down in ways he can’t control.

Both Gabe and Elyse are living in a nightmare and they both make the mistake of falling in love with the wrong person. The question is how long will it take them to see the truth of their feelings and would it be too late once they do?

This book tackles a lot of issues that are hard to explore without giving the wrong message and that are sensitive and yet they need an absolute honesty if you need the readers not to mistake what you’re trying to say. I mean for books that deals with toxic relationships, abuse and emotional manipulation, I always see some people loving those books and others accusing them of romanticizing those disturbing behaviors and that’s why in my opinion, when authors takes on their shoulders the responsibility of tackling such topics, they needs to make clear what they’re saying via their books.

There are a million and one things I could say. I could point out all she’s put me through. I could use all the labels she hates so much: manipulative, abusive, controlling. I wouldn’t be wrong.

So going back to this book, there is no mistaking that the author challenges these behaviors very well and portray them as unhealthy, toxic and wrong. Both the main characters go through a very unhealthy relationship and everyone of them reacts to that differently, Gabe is kind of aware right from the start that his relationship isn’t something good or healthy and he is aware that he’s being manipulated and used and we get to see his journey where he learn how to get out of that sort of relationship.

Elyse on the other hand is another story, her personal life and her longing for being noticed and loved drive her at first not to see that she’s being manipulated into thinking of that relationship as pure love and again we get to see her get deeper and deeper into this dark space and see how her choices are taken away from her and then we get to see her discover everything wrong about the way she’s been treated.

This book doesn’t romanticize abuse, it doesn’t make it seem like a dangerous passionate love story, on the contrary, it exposes it for what it is, and it does it in multiple convincing ways and there is no mistaking what this book is saying.

I don’t recognize myself in the story. A part of me wants to; to be able to absolve myself of all responsibility. To be able to shake off the guilt, the shame. But some other, bigger part of me can’t let go of all the choices I’ve made in the last year. All the lies, all the mistakes.

And other than that, the book has this intensity to it that just sucks me in from the first page. I find myself the older I am, the more drawn I become to dark books that deal with dark topics that makes people feel upset because it goes where other books refuse to go, yes I still enjoy the fluffy reads from time to time because They make me feel happy but this is the kind of books that leaves an imprint in me. It is powerful, it is bold and it doesn’t sugarcoat things.

The mystery in itself is well done and even though I kind of suspected that crazy twist right in the middle of the book it didn’t take away from the mystery, it actually made me more curious about the ending and how it’s going to tie all things together, not to mention that the book is compulsively readable and I just couldn’t turn the pages any faster, I just needed to know if I was right in my suspicion, if it will make sense at the end or not.

The only reason I didn’t give this book more that 3.75 stars is that the ending was over the top a little bit for me, and it was really dramatic and it felt just like the author was trying too hard to give us a shocking ending. I also didn’t like the writing style that much, I felt like it lucked something that would’ve made this book more consuming. Some of the things also weren’t really explained by the ending and it made me feel like there is a plot hole in the book; some of the things that happened with Gabe didn’t make sense to me and I was expecting the book to explain them a little bit by the end but it didn’t and I was left feeling like I don’t have the full picture.

Profile Image for Madison.
421 reviews4,773 followers
September 20, 2020
"I always feel like somehow, this time, I can make her stay clean ... If I can make things perfect. If I can be perfect"

*4.5 Stars - Listened to on Audiobook*

A majority of the time I spent listening to this book I had resolved to give it 3.5/5 stars, however, within the last 40% I was completely shocked and taken aback - so much so that I increased the rating by an entire star. This novel is focused on toxic relationships and the manipulative and naive nature of teenage romance. I adored the psychological suspense and drama that was woven into it.

LYNTM follows two story-lines:
Elyse (living in Portland, OR) is tasked with looking after her oxy-addicted mother and paying the bills so they do not get evicted. When the new drama teacher, Mr Hunter, casts Elyse over her best friend for the lead in "Romeo and Juliet", she starts to feel seen for the first time. As Mr Hunter begins to spend more time helping Elyse with her role and provides her a shoulder to lean on, a forbidden attraction starts to bloom.
Gabe (living in Austin, TX) has been in a relationship with popular girl Sasha for three years - but Sasha is headstrong and her grip on Gabe is getting suffocating. When Gabe breaks up with Sasha, she spirals. After receiving anonymous threats and being the subject of dangerous rumors, it becomes clear that Sasha will do anything to have Gabe in her grasps again - even if it means harming those closest to him.

The stories of Gabe and Elyse are ones of heartbreak, betrayal, and growth. Both teenagers learn that sometimes love can be blinding, and by the time your vision finally clears, it may be too late. This novel was very fast-paced and I found that it never had a dull moment. While Gabe and Elyse have two very different story lines, it was not difficult to go back and forth between their perspectives. Donaldson wove their stories seamlessly.

This novel is one of psychological suspense . Elyse's story hit me on a very emotional level, while Gabe's story held a lot of mystery and thrill. While I have never been in an emotionally abusive and manipulative relationship, I think that the way Donaldson showed the manipulative nature of Sasha over Gabe very well. I also thought that the relationship between Elyse and Aiden showed how people can manipulate teenage nativity. All Elyse ever wanted was for someone to lover her and put her well-being over their own, and she fell head over heels in blind love for the first person who showed her this sort of affection. Overall, I found the character's to be very fleshed out and their reactions and relationships with the people around them felt real and genuine. I also thought that the descriptive nature of this novel was beautiful. Donaldson created gorgeous scenery and I could vividly imagine the character's surroundings.

The major plot twist got me good. I was left utterly shocked and was very impressed with Jennifer Donaldson. I had absolutely no idea that it was coming and just sat in my car with yelling "what the hell?!" for a solid five minutes. Trust me when I say this.

My main problem with this novel was that a majority of the time women were portrayed in a negative light. They were either naive and demure or bitchy and manipulative. This was a major theme in Gabe's plot-line, where his two "love interests" fell onto either end of this spectrum. There was also a mild sense of insta-love - but this didn't really bother me.

I enjoyed the representation in this novel with Gabe being Mexican American and his little sister Vivi having down-syndrome. Vivi was a true gem in this novel and I loved seeing the relationship she had with Gabe. Overall, this was a truly phenomenal book. I will be keeping an eye out for Jennifer Donaldon's upcoming novels.

This story has a lot of trigger warnings : Domestic Abuse, Verbal Abuse, Bullying, Adult-minor relationship, Death, Substance Abuse, Murder
Profile Image for Carlene Inspired.
927 reviews243 followers
June 18, 2018
Find this and other reviews at Carlene Inspired.

Elyse. Gabe. Sasha. Caroline. Four students, four very different lives. Lies You Never Told Me is a twisted tale told from the perspective of Gabe and Elyse, two high school students who have never met, but whose lives are about to be changed forever. A gripping Young Adult Thriller, Lies You Never Told Me is a novel about consequences. Elyse is starring in a school play for her first time and she catches the eye of a handsome, new fellow. The spotlight is new for her, its promises too enticing, but there's a line that once crossed she may never come back from. Gabe wants to leave the comfortable life as the popular girl's boyfriend behind, but Sasha is vindictive and not about to let him go. Quiet loner Caroline is just the sort of girl he'd like to spend his time with, but she has secrets and soon the truth and lies are too tangled to differentiate.

This novel had my attention right away, from the intriguing summary to the unique cover, but I never expected to be so caught up in a young adult thriller. The story is gripping, with characters that are believable and events that, though realistic, are unfathomable to think of. There's prejudice, abuse, mental illness, forbidden romance, addiction, poverty, and more lies than I could possibly keep track of. It's a well written novel that reads true to American teen's experiences growing up today. While I guessed at the twist very quickly, I remained engaged from start to finish, loving how Jennifer Donaldson amped up the drama and weaved two very different stories together. I really felt for both main characters, the weight of their personal situations too heavy for youth. Each has had to be more mature than is expected of others their age and their daily life is very different from others. While some guys are playing football, Gabe is picking up his younger sister and doing his best to protect her from Sasha's dangerous plan. Elyse has been in the shadows forever, picking up the pieces at home and parenting her mother, it was obvious that positive attention is something she sorely lacked. Each ends up in a dangerous position, the lies each has told pulling them farther from the protection of adults and deeper into the deceitful web of a vengeful ex and a man far too old to be romancing a high schooler.

There's a fine balance between high school life and the thriller nature of the novel taking over that, but I found it to be blended quite well. There's classroom gossip and locker room flirting, each tinged a shade of red as the characters await what could come next. Jennifer Donaldson has written an incredible suspenseful thriller with Lies You Never Told Me. Readers of all ages will enjoy the did they, didn't they storyline and will appreciate the relevant social issues that make this novel so diverse. I found it to be very clever considering it's a debut novel and am interested to see what comes next from author Jennifer Donaldson.

ARC provided by Razorbill of Penguin Random House.
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,291 reviews2,962 followers
April 13, 2018
Elyse isn't sure if she's up for the task of playing Juliet in her high school play of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is the one with more experience in the spotlight. But when someone shows he believes in her, Elyse gets caught up in a web of secrets and lies that could have horrifying consequences.

Gabe wants to break up with his high school girlfriend, a controlling and manipulative girl named Sasha. But she's not going to let him go without a fight.

This is a story of obsession and the lengths people will go to in order to get what they want.

Despite being able to figure out early on where the story was headed, this was still a "can't put it down" type read. To me that's the sign of a good book, you pretty much know what's going to happen but you still want to see it all play out. I thought the author did a good job with the back and forth narration between Elyse and Gabe. The story had a good flow and never felt disjointed when switching to a different character. The only real criticism I have is I wasn't a huge fan of Sasha and her story line. At times it really made me question the plausibility of some of her actions. Overall though, this was a good read and I definitely recommend if you like young adult fiction.

Thanks to First to Read for the advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Kris.
408 reviews44 followers
January 22, 2019
This book was outstanding! I’ve never read anything by this author, but it will added to my auto buy author list. I thought it was told in such a great way to the point where everything came together I was blown away. I had a tingling feeling that maybe I knew where the whole thing was going, but not to the extent, I’m floored by how amazing it was.

I loved both the perspectives the story was told in, and was wondering how everything would line up. Gabe and Elyse were both lovable characters to me, I thought they both really acted in ways that were relatable. I didn’t agree with a lot of their choices but I always saw where they were coming from. The side characters (Mr. Hunter and Sasha) pissed me off to the point where they were the perfect additions!

It’s not often I find a great psychological thriller in YA, actually I haven’t read any that have ever even touched on this great! This is a must read for lovers of this genre and people who just want to get into it. I honestly can’t rave enough about this one, just go pick it up!!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,568 reviews125 followers
May 29, 2018
Teens (Gabe and Elyse) risk it all for love.

Told in alternating narratives, Lies You Never Told Me followed Gabe as he made the momentous decision to break up with Sasha, his long time, popular, and controlling girlfriend, and Elyse as she earned the leading role in her school play and learned how to command the spotlight. By the end of this dark, twisty, and shocking tale, however, Gabe and Elyse learned the hard way that "everything worth doing has the possibility of ending in pain."

I found this debut so engrossing that I read it in one sitting! I highly recommend it and look forward to more from this author.

I won an advance copy in a BookishFirst giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Location: Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 19 books2,392 followers
April 29, 2018
I'm too paranoid to reveal anything by reviewing this so all I'll share about it is that I read it in one shot and sort of want to read it again now.
Profile Image for Elle G. Reads.
1,550 reviews737 followers
August 4, 2020
Young Adult Drama | Suspense | Social Issues

Lies You Never Told was much different than I imagined when I first bought the book. Reading the description and some of the reviews by other authors made this book seem like a twisted, young adult thriller. In reality though, it’s more of a high school drama novel that deals with social issues. There is certainly a big twist towards the end, and I enjoyed it immensely, but being so unexpectedly different than the description made me feel a little let down. It was like I kept WAITING for the thrills to show up and they never did.

Now, while I did feel let down in a sense this book does have some fantastic pieces to it. First and foremost, the “mashup” at the end BLINDSIDED me in the best of ways. It was unexpected, thrilling, and absolutely GENIUS. I won’t say WHAT happens but if you’re feeling let down yourself when reading I implore you to keep going. The ending truly makes this book. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a horrible novel, it’s just not what many readers thought it was going to be. There’s a lot going on in the story between the two characters; student/teacher relationships, drug abuse, stalking and other forms of abuse etc. but it’s not THRILLING like the description makes it seem. That’s honestly what gets me the most. I don’t like being deceived and in some sense, I felt like the description of this one did deceive me.

Anyway, this is a solid read despite some of the things that bothered me about it. I would recommend it to those who enjoy young adult novels, especially those on the dramatic side. It’s an easy read (I read it in 24 hours), fast paced, and the type of book that will keep you turning the pages at record speeds.
Profile Image for Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?.
617 reviews105 followers
September 6, 2018
As a teen high school has to be the hardest, yet most defining moments in your life. It's where you decide what your life is going to be like for the rest of your life. Whether you'll go to college, or find a a trade, or do absolutely nothing.

Two teens, Gabe & Elyse are trying to figure out life right now. Gabe is dating one of the most popular girls in school, although he's not too keen on the way he treats her and he's thinking about ending it. But what will that cost him in the long run? Elyse has just landed the lead for the school production of Romeo and Juliet. Always content to be a part of the background, will she be able to perform in the spotlight?

Both of these teens are trying to make it through these tumultuous high school years. But there are things that are holding them back from being their best. Will they allow these things to come to the surface, or will they boil inside of them until they can't handle it any longer?

Thank you to NetGalley & Penguin for the sneak peak of this book. I knew it wasn't going to be enough so I got the full book from the library.

The sneak peek takes you through the first 7 chapters of the book. It's so good though that you have to continue reading and find out what is going to happen next.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat. With things happening to Gabe and no way for him to explain it, to Elyse falling in love for the first time and discovering a lot of firsts with an unusual partner. How are these two alike, how are they different? With a twist at the end that I didn't see coming, this is a book you are going to want to read.

Profile Image for Natille.
132 reviews4 followers
May 21, 2018
I was hooked on this book from the first sneak peek. Gabe's story has me gripped as I read more about him and Sasha. Then get parents paint a nasty view and I immediately think they ran poor Gabe over as he leaves their house, but I was off the mark and that was probably what hooked me. This is definitely worth reading for those within the age bracket and is a good psychological thriller for teens. As you read further you will be introduced to two different personalities that are going through two totally different life transitions but not completely far off from each other. The two perspectives hit a lot of important topics and some of these terms might face regularly or not at all. I do think some of the scenes or dialogue seemed overly concerned with being correct or... trying to make sure the reader understands the just of it. It made it hard to make it believable. I do think it made a good point of making the story seem sinister and dangerous by focusing on how your choices can often lead to serious consequences. I like how that is focused on and how the characters changed as they faced different things in their lives. It shows us that we are fallible creatures and are often motivated by our feelings and not our head. Elyse paints a very interesting view for young girls and insecurity. It also shows how vulnerable you really are under certain circumstances. Overall, I did enjoy the book but I felt it romanticized certain things that shouldn't be.
Profile Image for Jamie Rosenblit.
903 reviews506 followers
June 4, 2018
3.5 rounded up!

Listened to this on audio and the strong narration was definitely a big plus! Around 40%, I had a strong hunch as to what the twist might be and I was ultimately right, which ruined a bit of the “oh-em-gee moment” for me, but still a fun ride, nonetheless!
Profile Image for Diana Iozzia.
347 reviews46 followers
March 3, 2018
“Lies You Never Told Me”
Written by Jennifer Donaldson

“Lies You Never Told Me” is a complex book. We meet four titular characters, Elyse, Gabe, Catherine, and Sasha. Sasha and Gabe are breaking up, and Sasha is hell bent on preventing that from happening. Gabe meets Catherine and starts to fall in love with her. In a separate perspective, Elyse begins to fall in love with her drama teacher, Aiden.

After this begins, I don’t really understand where it goes. This is a book for teens, but it does incorporate very adult themes. They include: drug addiction, sexual harassment, incest, gun violence, and inappropriate relationships.

I have a few things that I extremely dislike about this book. Teacher-student relationships are disgusting and it only turns sour about 10 percent before the book finishes. Not good, I worry that too many teens will read this and not realize the manipulation behind this. I worry, because I used to enjoy the television show, “Pretty Little Liars”, which completely glorified an inappropriate teacher relationship. In this book, we receive a more negative result, but it’s still relatively glorified.
I also find the language and vocabulary to be immature. I understand that teens may use some of the slang and the social media that is incorporated into this book. It severely ages the book and makes it cringe-worthy. “Throwing shade”. Sending threats over Snapchat. This may very well be a normal thing for teens, and I understand I am reading a teen fiction. However, it would be nice if other ages could enjoy this too, not only sixteen-year-olds.

A lot of the language feels strange through a first-person narrative. It sometimes reads like fan fiction. When Sasha rubs her chest against Gabe’s in her bikini top. It just sounds like a narc is speaking to teens, rather than a teen actually speaking. I feel that a lot of the narrative over-explains. There’s a portion I had annotated where Gabe introduces his six-year-old sister with Downs Syndrome. “Oh, but she’s not stupid. Her development is just delayed”. Yes, because the reader is going to need that further explanation, thanks.

Certain aspects of the story line aren’t interesting to me at all. I understand that because Elyse receives little to no attention from her drug-addicted mother, she seeks asylum in her perverted teacher. Is that really necessary? This feels like Degrassi. Oh, there isn’t any drug addiction? Well, it can’t be a book for teens without drug addiction, sexual harassment, cyberbullying, affairs with teachers, or guns??!?

Unfortunately, a lot of this is makes for a slightly unlikeable book. However, it wasn’t unreadable. I finished it. The last quarter of it was very climatic and intriguing. I just wish the reveal / spoiler / twist wasn’t what it turned out to be. It confused me, and I’m not entirely sure if it’s fleshed out enough for my liking. I understand I’m reading an ARC, but it’s not going to be changed dramatically before final printing. I think the twist is a bit “WOW HEY LOOK. I want it to be CRAZY and TWISTED and COMPLEX. Look at me!!!” It’s confusing and took me about 10 minutes of talking out loud to understand it. It wasn’t a “Sixth Sense” reveal, where it doesn’t make sense, and then you breathe it in, and you’re shocked by the brilliance. This was just wow, okay, that’s confusing. I get it, but why was most of that necessary? Not to give away the twist, but if the story was told in a different narrative without the big secret twist, I might have liked the story more.

I definitely recommend this book, if you like young adult dramas, like “Riverdale”, “Pretty Little Liars”, “Degrassi”, and maybe a couple others. I think I’m too old to enjoy this anymore. I had initially thought that about “One of Us is Lying”, but I was completely wrong. I think that although I’m twenty-two now, I can still enjoy teen fiction, but perhaps more selectively than I used to enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy through Razorbill Books for reviewing purposes. Thank you.
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