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Hometown Antihero #1

Dare You to Lie

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When her FBI agent father is framed for murder, Kylene is forced to move in with her grandfather, back to the small town that turned its back on her, and the boy who betrayed her.

All Ky cares about is clearing her father’s name, but someone won’t let her forget the photo scandal that drove her away two years ago. As the threats gain momentum, Ky finds an unlikely ally in the rookie FBI agent sent to keep an eye on her.

Determined to expose the town's hidden skeletons, Ky unwittingly thrusts herself into a much bigger plot. They thought she’d forgive and forget. They’re about to learn they messed with the wrong girl.

351 pages, Hardcover

First published September 4, 2018

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About the author

Amber Lynn Natusch

51 books1,464 followers
AMBER LYNN NATUSCH is the author of the bestselling Caged series for adults. She was born and raised in Winnipeg, and is still deeply attached to her Canadian roots. She loves to dance and practice Muay Thai―but spends most of her time running a chiropractic practice with her husband, raising two young children, and attempting to write when she can lock herself in the bathroom for ten minutes of peace. Dare You to Lie is her debut YA novel with Tor Teen.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 233 reviews
Profile Image for Brittany.
900 reviews118 followers
February 3, 2019
3 Stars!!

Calling all Veronica Mars Fans!!! This one is for YOU!

In Dare You to Lie, we get two mysteries in one. We follow main character Kylene, who has just returned to Ohio to seek out some answers, and to fix some things that happened before she moved away. In Jasperville, she is known as the town liar- along with her father who is a cop, in prison for a supposed murder. She sets out to clear both of their names, but has no idea who or what she is dealing with behind the scenes. She doesn't realize it, but she is in for a dangerous ride.

Ky is a snarky, sarcastic and fun character. She has a take no crap- personality and is willing to dig and do whatever it takes to clean up these allegations. But that's not always a good thing- her inability to keep her mouth shut- makes her a target!

I love the friendships in this book. She has a best friend Garrett, she has known since childhood who has never let what others say stop him from being there for her. And then there is a naïve new girl in school who just fits right in with them both.

I really enjoyed the sassiness in this book and the VM Vibes were so strong- I felt like I was binge watching a new season in my brain. The only problem I had was for some reason, I found myself not being able to fully connect to the story/characters. It was really good, but something was missing and I am not sure what it was. Maybe since this is the first book in the series- whatever was missing in this one, will be in the next one!

If you like YA- and are looking for a good mystery, with a kick ass, snarky MC- with no insta-love or romance, this one is for you!!
Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,517 followers
January 27, 2023
Veronica Mars fans, this book is for you. For anyone who wanted a YA mystery/thriller where the protagonist (gasp!) actually trains to be kickass and spouts feisty dialogue without sounding forced/cliche, this is for you. For anyone who wanted a YA romance to actually build with tension over the series instead of proclamations of love or instalike in the first book, this is for you. Not only was this book amazing, but Amber builds to a climactic finish promising even more conspiracies and potential romance to come. I loved this book so much that I had to go out and preorder a signed hardcover in addition to my ARC!
Profile Image for Laura Thalassa.
Author 37 books17.6k followers
Want to read
May 22, 2018
OMG, I got a *physical* copy of this one!!!! I need to post a pretty picture of it!!! Also, this is next up on my TBR!!! Can't freaking wait--Amber is kinda sorta who I want to be when I grow up ...
Profile Image for Amy Bartol.
Author 20 books6,630 followers
May 23, 2018
A blackout. Lies. The Six. Friends turned enemies. A miscarriage of justice. Lives ruined. Secrets dark and diabolical.

Nothing’s what it seems.

Dust off your telephoto lens and brush up on your Muay Thai maneuvers because DARE YOU TO LIE’s all-out, good-girl-turned-mad, in-your-face-suspense-thriller is a conspiracy that will taunt you at every turn to solve its mystery—and my advice: Trust no one.

Kylene Danners didn’t return to Jasperville, Ohio searching for her happily ever after. She came back to right a wrong—two wrongs—one that will set her father free from an unjust prison sentence, and the other to clear her name as the town liar. If that means burying The Six a few feet under with their deceit, so be it. But a place like theirs and people like this don’t surrender secrets without a fight. Uncovering the truth will prove to be an epic battle to the death—one that few people will see coming.

Amber Lynn Natusch’s brilliant and fast-paced storytelling shines through in her strong, good-girl-turned-raw heroine, Kylene Danners. This is no after-school-special; it’s authentic, cunning, and fraught with the kind of devastating, real-life events that will hammer dents in anyone’s veneer. Natusch weaves in sharp-witted dialog for her well-developed characters, creating everything from behind-the-hand giggling to full-out barking laughter as I turned the pages. Read this book the way it was meant to be read: consumed in one sitting. Once you do, you’ll be clamoring for more.

If you're a Marshmellow (a fan of Veronica Mars), add this to your TBR shelf. You'll love it.

*I received an ebook ARC for review. I loved the ebook so much, I pre-ordered the hardcover with my own cash.
Profile Image for Caden.
197 reviews7 followers
May 6, 2020

I loved this story and its complex story and characters! I cannot wait for the sequel!
Profile Image for Courtney.
1,623 reviews182 followers
September 4, 2018
I had the opportunity to read this book as a beta reader and see the transformation of this book go from "I am loving the whole idea of this book" to "holy shit, you really nailed YA Mystery with the whole Veronica Mars vibe." I did read the final version of this book and even book a physical copy because I love it so much.

The only way to describe this book and not give anything away is saying it is a great blend of Veronica Mars and Riverdale . If you are a huge fan of Veronica Mars, then you will love this book. It has all the mystery and suspense along with the "take no shit" attitude and some very hilarious moments with other characters and you get one hell of an amazing story.

Kylene is kick-ass heroine who decides she is not going to sit back and just take her father's guilty sentence lightly. She knows that truth but needs to somehow prove it. But she has her own hands full starting back at the school she left because of her own problems there.

This book moves at a fast pace with a lot of moving parts and I love it. There is no slow down and you find yourself getting caught up in the witty and snarky comments from Kylene as well as her friends. I loved every single bit of this book and can't wait for the next book to release.

This is Amber's first dive into an genre outside of her normal writing and she delivers a page turner. If you love YA, mystery or just a great book that will keep you glued to the pages, this book is for you.
August 14, 2018
Sassy, snarky, sarcastic characters!  This was such a fun book for me.

Trigger/content warnings for sexual assault and physical abuse.

Kylene's father was recently convicted of murder and her mother left.  So Ky has to move back to her home town and live with her grandpa (who I loved).  Her family left a couple years earlier after Ky had naked pictures taken at a party and leaked online.  The suspects were all football players and they were protected instead of her.  One was also her ex boyfriend.

Ky falls back into her normal friendship with Garrett easily.  She didn't really talk to him when she was gone and it really broke him.  But he's a great guy and willing to let it go.  They also become friends with the new girl from Canada, Tabby.  The friendship between these three really made the story for me.  They were all so sarcastic and funny, but the love was obvious.  Tabby fit right in with them.

Kylene still wants to prove who took those photos of her and she also wants to find a way to prove that her dad is innocent.  She's smart, but she also can't keep quiet and it makes her a target.  Some of the football players start threatening her.  She gets followed, harassed, and her house is broken into.  Things start to get scary for her as she weaves through so many things that all seem connected.  

I don't want to get into the story too much because it's best to go in without knowing anything major.  Ky has to figure out who she can trust and realizes how big these threats really are.  The pacing is great and it's so easy to like most of the characters in the book.   Besides the main three, I really liked Gramps, her dad's old partner, and Meg.  Agent Dawson grew on me and I ended up liking AJ a lot, too.   There were also plenty of people to hate.

I gave this book 5 stars and I cannot wait until I can read the next book.  Thank you to Tor Teen for sending me a copy for review.  Also thank you to Amber for helping me get a copy.  

Profile Image for Booktastically Amazing.
502 reviews417 followers
February 8, 2023

It has :

✨ Strong and sassy heroine with a penchant for sarcasm and ill advised humor.
✨ A friend squad that will literally make you feel like you've missed out on a vital part of growing up BECAUSE- HAVE YOU EVER HAD THOSE TYPE OF FRIENDS??
✨Beautiful father daughter relationship
✨Side characters who are well written and amazing to hear about

✨Also, a super broody FBI agent who may or may not be a possible love interest

Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
513 reviews367 followers
October 9, 2018

Trigger Warning: Sexual assault (not graphic), slut shaming, domestic violence, bullying

Thank you to Amber Lynn Natushch for giving me this copy for my honest review.

Where are all my Marshmellows fan at? If you are a fan of that sassy, loveable trouble-maker Veronica Marsthen you're going to love Ky Danners.

This book is marketed as a cross between Veronica Mars and Riverdale and that sounds about right. Dare You to Lie basically plays out like the first season of Mars and I was still withdrawing from the series, so this book was just the hit I needed. Our main protagonist, Ky Danners, is a spunky, sarcastic bundle of trouble and I loved her. The book starts out with Ky's father for a crime she claims he didn't commit and she's moving back to her hometown to try and move just that.

The main storyline in this book is Ky trying to find out who took topless photos and shared them with the entire school when she lived her last. There are six suspects and she is determined to find out who was really responsible. All the characters do get some development and some stay fairly in the background on purpose - I assume for the next book. I loved Ky's friendship with her best friend Garret and I loved the romance that is hinted at in this book with someone I will not name. I don't want to ruin any of the surprises in this one. The romance is barely there in this one though and the actual mystery does take 100% priority. The friendships are great, the villains are frustrating and you'll want to throw them off a balcony and many of the citizens in this town are shady as hell.

I thought the story was fast-paced, clever and had some fun twists and turns. I didn't figure it all out, which is always nice and I was surprised by a couple of the reveals at the end. I'm really pumped for the second book - the author assured me that it's even better than this one and has a lot more going on! Check it out if you want a fun, cozy mystery to add to your fall/winter reads.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,023 reviews52 followers
October 22, 2019
I read this book for the first time last year, in 2018. I have no idea what was going on in my life at the time but it has come to my attention that I never wrote my review for this amazing story. So... without further ado, I give you lovely people my review for this even lovelier book.




The end.

5/5 stars.

Profile Image for Shelley.
5,220 reviews462 followers
August 31, 2018
*Source* Publisher/NetGalley
*Genre* Young Adult / Thriller
*Rating* 3.5-4


Dare You to Lie, by author Amber Lynn Natusch, is the first installment in the authors Hometown Antihero series. Kylene Danner's is your protagonist for this series. Ky didn’t return to her former hometown of Jasperville, Ohio searching for her happily ever after. She came back so that she could right a few wrongs that have been done to herself and to her father FBI Detective Bruce Danners. The second part won't be so easy as she believes. Especially in a town filled with secrets.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

Profile Image for Melliane.
2,042 reviews344 followers
September 24, 2018

Mon avis en Français

My English review

I did not know about the author but I was curious to discover the novel and I must say that I was really pleased to have the opportunity to read it because I loved it!

Ky is back in the city she left with her parents two years ago. But here she has no choice. Her father is in prison for a crime that she is sure he did not commit and she is determined to prove it even if she is the only one to do it! But coming home also means facing what she fled until then. They all hope that she will not try to dig in the past, to try to understand what happened that night but it’s not knowing Ky. Because if she did not want to investigate things after this debacle, this time, our heroine is determined to find out who humiliated her and especially to show that she is not the liar they make her look like.

I loved Ky! She is a determined girl who does not hesitate to confront her problems, even if it is sometimes not the best way to cope. It will attract more problems than she thought and she will be part of a story that exceeds her completely. I was really captivated by the author’s ideas and I was eager to find out exactly what was happening and who the culprit of the pictures was. And how to resist Garrett and Taby, her two friends? I loved them too! However, it is a bit more difficult to decide on Dawson and A.J.

This novel allows us to discover a first part of Ky’s story, but it also allows us to glimpse many tracks for the future and especially with respect to her father and I can not wait to discover all that!
Profile Image for Ashley (gotbookcitement).
716 reviews83 followers
July 7, 2020
Review to Come


I enjoyed this. It was very high school, but I can look past that. I think it covered a tough topic. Kylene is not going to just let things go. She has a lot of snark and spunk, but she doesn't always think things through when it comes to action and plans.
The last part was edge-of-your-seat definitely.
I did not guess the who-done-it, but at the same time, the motive was kind of weak. I do like how it is all interconnected with something else.
The synopsis did throw me though, I really thought that this was going to be more about Ky trying to solve her dad's case, but she was really solving her own. And I expected her to have the FBI Agent shadowing her through the majority of the book, but that only happened during the very last quarter.
I did like Agent Dawson, but it could be hard to tell what kind of vibe they were going for with him. He and Kylene have this antagonistic relationship, and if Kylene was an adult, I could totally see it going romantic. But since she's 17, I just don't know.
I'm interested to see where it goes next.
I won't lie, every time I read the name Kylene, I heard Dolly Parton singing Jolene.
Profile Image for Felicia Mathews.
238 reviews29 followers
September 24, 2019
I received an ARC of Dare You to Lie through Netgalley. All thoughts are my own.

Mystery books are not my typical genre so I was initially worried I wasn't going to enjoy this story, but I'm so glad I gave it a chance because I absolutely love it.

Kylene is such a badass character! I'm obsessed with her and her wit and sarcasm. The characters in Dare You to Lie felt so real and it made me never want to stop reading even though I forced myself to go through it slowly since it's not a genre I typically read.

I'm really excited that this is the start of a series because there is so much going on in this book and I need more!
Profile Image for Heather (The Sassy Book Geek).
358 reviews143 followers
October 24, 2018
Review Originally Posted On The Sassy Book Geek

**** Thank you to Tor Teen for providing a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Trigger Warnings: Sexual Assault (Nude Photos Taken Against A Character’s Will), Physical/Emotional/Verbal Abuse, and Violence

This is a hard book for me to rate and review because on the one hand it was interesting enough but on the other the pacing was really off and by the end I just wanted it to be over. Therefore I’m stuck in the middle with a 3 star rating, I think it’s worth checking out if it sounds up your alley but I can’t say it’s something I’d go around recommending a whole ton.


First off, the plot revolves around not one but TWO different mysteries Ky is trying to solve: the framing of her father for murder and also who the culprit was behind a photo scandal involving her from a few years ago. While both mysteries started out intriguing enough I couldn’t help but feel like it really started to drag by the end. Especially considering that this is a series and we don’t get a lot of answers in this first book, I feel a bit robbed. There is a much bigger picture to the mystery than we get a look at in this first book, I know there’s a lot more going on but I felt like they could have gone into it more to pique interest in reading the sequel.

It also got to the point where it was a bit hard to follow all the overlapping story lines and “clues”, it felt messy at times and when that happens I tend to lose interest. The plot was just sort of unfocused by the end of the book, like it was trying to hard to do too many things all at once. Which stinks because I don’t think I’ll be looking to read the sequel now because of that.

The pacing is moderately fast, as I said the mysteries are intriguing to start with but by the end it wasn’t enough and the pacing dragged on. There are a few good, minor plot twists but as far as the big reveal towards the end…not surprised at all, which is a bummer. Therefore I thought parts of the story were pretty predictable and also a bit too convenient. That ending twist though was by far the most disappointing because it was so glaringly obvious to me and I don’t think it will shock many of you either.


I felt the same way about the characters as I did the plot: they were okay. What I did like about Ky is that she’s a strong girl who can defend herself, has no problem saying what’s on her mind, and she was hilariously sarcastic at times. However, as much as I liked a lot of her qualities I just didn’t fall in love with her. She also had a bad habit of making …not the greatest decisions sometimes. Such as antagonizing someone who will physically harm her and putting herself into dangerous situations alone. Yeah, that got old pretty fast.

There are a few other more minor characters such as AJ, the ex boyfriend, Agent Dawson, who I don’t get why is even included in the book, Garrett, the best friend, and Tabby, the new student and also new friend. I didn’t really care for Garrett, I don’t know why but there wasn’t very much to like there. Tabby was cute and sweet, I liked her curiosity. AJ seemed alright but he needed to just let Ky go….it’s downright getting stalkery. And Agent Dawson? Hate. Well hate is a strong word but I really didn’t like him, I felt his character is completely unnecessary not to mention he’s like 23? 24? 25? Years old and is like…..interested in Ky who is a high school student. Creepy.


I did like that there wasn’t a big romance in “Dare You To Lie”, however, I could easily see a love triangle or love square developing. Not quite sure yet. There are definitely quite a few boys interested in Ky, the main character, and as I already mentioned one is much older and I hope nothing happens there because it’s kind of creepy. However, there isn’t any insta-love or other romance tropes here which was a blessing.

In Conclusion

What I Loved:

Fast pacing
Intriguing mysteries (though they weren’t quite as interesting at the end)
Sarcastic, strong heroine
No romance

What I Didn’t Love:

Pacing did slow down by the end
Plot was unfocused and messy, too much going on
Ky tended to make irritating choices and dumb decisions at times
Secondary characters were kind of meh


Overall I didn’t find this story to be anything groundbreaking in the YA thriller department. It’s fun enough to pass some time but there other books I’d recommend spending that time on instead. Still if the synopsis caught your eye give it a try! (That rhymes!)
Profile Image for Jenny.
931 reviews188 followers
February 22, 2019
4.5 stars

This was an amazing story! The mystery and suspense was SO GOOD! I had no idea what was going to happen next, and I suspected damn near everyone at some point or another. Can't wait for the sequel!
Profile Image for Candyce Kirk.
1,180 reviews39 followers
September 9, 2018
4.5 stars

Dare You to Lie is definitely a book for fans of Veronica Mars, Pretty Little Liars and Riverdale. I loved the dark and mysterious vibe this book gave us. This book is actionpacked and just when you think you may know who is behind everything, it turns out to be just a bit different.

Kylene hasn't had an easy time. Her father is in prison, her mother left her to go live with her new boyfriend and she's back at the school where there are too many bad memories. Kylene is convinced her father is innocent and will do anything she can to find proof.

Dare You to Lie is a definitely a book I couldn't out down. I felt so bad for her with the photo scandal. No person should have to go through what Kylene does. Especially when the kids that were responsible got off without any punishment. I do think that's something we still see in society. Girls get blamed when things like this happen.

I loved all the twists and turns in this book. I kept trying to figure out who was playing with Kylene and I was surprised. I love that there is so much more to this story than just her father's case and the photo scandal. Everything seems connected on a whole other level. I don't want to say too much though, because this is a book you really need to experience yourself.

I knew it was a good book for me when I really wanted to slap some of these characters. I really needed them to be punished or that someone would notice what they were doing. If an author can make me feel things like that, they're definitely doing something right.

I think my favorite thing about this book are Kylene's friends. Tabby and Garrett are amazing! Kylene's grandfather is one of the characters I love as well. Even though Kylene had a lot of enemies, she had plenty of people in her corner as well.

I can't wait for the next book and see how everything plays out! Dare You to Lie is the perfect read for the dark and rainy nights that we will be seeing in our near future.
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,340 reviews227 followers
September 16, 2018

Kylene reluctantly returns to her hometown after her FBI father is imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Her goal is to prove his innocence. Still reeling from naked photos from freshman year, Kylene is repeatedly confronted by bullies, though she gives as good as she takes. With the help of some friends, Kylene investigates what really happened the night she was photographed. Things are about to get dangerous.

Kylene, sarcastic and ready for a fight, unlike most YA characters. Her strong sense of justice never waivers; the corruption she encounters only makes her more determined. Unafraid to get physical, she fights the boys responsible for her humiliation. I wasn’t comfortable with the guys getting physical with her.

DARE YOU TO LIE is nonstop action and intrigue. Any number of suspects could have been responsible for what happened to Kylene freshman year, changing my theories frequently. Amber Lynn Natusch kept the tension-filled pace moving along nicely. She gave Kylene a smart, witty voice and the characters great dialogue and banter.

I can’t wait for the second book of DARE YOU TO LIE TO BE RELEASED.
Profile Image for Mischa Thrace.
Author 3 books22 followers
March 20, 2018
If you like badass girls who take zero shit, plots chock full of scandal and snark, and a friendship worthy of Buffy/Willow/Xander (without the supernatural baddies), then you're going to ADORE this book. DARE YOU TO LIE is a furiously fast-paced introduction to what better become a series!
Profile Image for Sana.
1,099 reviews962 followers
Shelved as 'to-read-so-bad-it-hurts'
November 17, 2016
Hometown Antihero! What a great name for a series
Profile Image for Carlene Inspired.
959 reviews248 followers
September 7, 2018
Find this review and others at Carlene Inspired.

Lawyer isn't Ky's career goal, but she's prepared to be a teen version of when in order to track down the truth behind her father's imprisonment. She just has to deal with the bullies and the bad memories following her around upon her return to her old high school. They all know about her dad, but they all also know about that night that produced the photos that chased her out of town. It doesn't help that her dad's old partner as put a babysitter on her, a handsome FBI agent with zero trust in her last name. What starts as investigating what happened with her dad turns into investigating the past, knowing she must uncover what happened to her first before she can focus on the next, if she can make it out alive.

I know I'm not the first to say it, but this was just like watching Veronica Mars. Ky is a tough girl with a sassy attitude and the ability to throw a mean punch if she has to. What starts as a single investigation turns into a multi-faceted story about a small town with dark secrets kept quiet by deep pockets. Of course, she's still only in high school, but somehow she knows the ropes. She's got contacts in the FBI, a father that's passed his determination onto her, and two of the best friends around. What happened to her during her freshman year is a story we've all heard, the kind we'd never wish on anyone, and her outcome is just as dire as those we hear on the news. Rich, popular jocks getting away with assault, a girl left embarrassed and with a tarnished reputation, but Ky just uses that as fuel. She fights the system, manages to do her homework, and despite the danger at every turn continues to face fear head on to uncover the truth and protect it from happening to others.

While Dare You to Lie is definitely a young adult story, the story is one that is relatable and interesting to read for readers of all ages. If you like suspense, characters with tenacity, and mysteries you can't predict, this one's for you. I didn't know it was a series when I started it, but I'm here for it now and definitely eagerly awaiting the next. While one crime is solved in Dare You to Lie, there's certainly more to be revealed. Plus, I really like Detective Dawson and want to see his character in a positive light, please give me that Amber Lynn Natusch! Full of moving parts, a fast-paced storyline, and gripping prose, Dare You to Lie is a fantastic new release in the YA-Suspense genre.

ARC provided.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,073 reviews2,634 followers
October 21, 2018
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/10/21/...

Dare You to Lie is the story of Kylene Danners, a teenager with a lot on her plate. Two years after her departure from Jasperville, Ohio, she is forced to move back into the hostile and bitter environment of her hometown that she thought she had escaped. However, Ky is not going to take these new changes lying down. Living with her grandfather because her dad is in prison and her mom has run off with a new lover to California, Ky is here to settle two scores. The first is to prove that her father, a former FBI agent, did not in fact commit the crime for which he was convicted. The second is an even more personal matter, involving a drunken party during freshman year in which Kylene was photographed topless without her knowledge, and the pictures were leaked online. The suspects were all guys on the football team, and one was her boyfriend at the time. In the end, all of them got off scot-free, protected by powerful parties keen on defending the school’s football record, and Kylene’s reputation was destroyed.

That event was what drove her from Jasperville. But now Kylene is back, and she’s on a mission. With the help of her best friend Garrett and the new girl in school named Tabby, Ky is determined to dig into both cases and find out the truth, no matter what the townspeople may think about her and her disgraced dad. What she didn’t count on, however, was the depth of corruption she would encounter, sending her and her friends down a nightmarish path littered with violence and threats against their lives. Someone is going to great lengths to stop her investigations, but instead of making her back off, the pushback only confirms she is getting close to finding the answers, and she is not going to be intimidated.

I confess, this book probably deserves a higher rating, had not been a few major issues that really grated on my nerves. Annoying thing #1 was probably Kylene’s character herself. This girl comes charging in, full of piss and vinegar, ready to tear the world a new asshole. Normally, I would say, “You go, Kylene!” and God knows with the hand life dealt her, she has every right to have a chip on her shoulder. My problem, however, was the condescending way she immediately casts judgment on everyone, from the moment she steps foot back in her hometown and in her old school. She’s also aggressive and has no self-control, deliberately goading fellow students and even some teachers into altercation, not to mention she has an irritating tendency to get up on her soapbox to pontificate on some social issue or another, usually unnecessarily and at the most inappropriate times. Worse, it felt as if the author inserted many of the school-related conflicts to indulge her protagonist’s savior complex. I really wanted to like and sympathize with Kylene, especially given what happened to her, but she made that hard by coming across as my least favorite kind of character—the ones who are hypocritical and lacking in self-awareness, clearly being propped up by forced scenarios to seem more noble than they really are.

I also enjoyed the mystery, though I did feel the plot was spread a bit thin at times, tackling two cases at once so that it was impossible for the story to give enough time or attention to either one. While there’s a light hint that the two threads could be related, in the end one gets resolved while the other doesn’t, so be prepared for an incomplete ending that includes some groundwork that will set the stage for the next book in the series. Given the circumstances, I think the author did the best she could to balance all the different parts of her story, but it didn’t change the fact that the focus was scattered in multiple directions and pacing was often interrupted by too many distractions.

Speaking of which, it didn’t help that the issue was exacerbated by “guy drama”, between the best friend who has carried a secret torch for Kylene after all these years, and the ex-boyfriend who’s still in love with her who may or may not have been involved in her naked photo scandal. And as if that wasn’t enough, also throw in the rookie FBI agent who is a total hottie but also a major douche canoe (Kylene can’t seem to decide which detail is more important) which gave me all sorts of weird vibes. Because seriously, what kind of mid-20-something would bet to invite himself to an 11th grader’s homecoming dance as her date?

Still, to the book’s credit, the mystery went far deeper than I had expected, even though I was able to guess the person behind all of it before we got anywhere close to the end. It didn’t make following the story’s events any less interesting. A part of me still wants to know the outcome of the larger series arc and to see how our characters’ investigations will pan out, but I think I’ll be keeping a close and wary eye on reviews of the next book before making my decision on whether to continue. If we see growth in Kylene’s character, I just might be persuaded.
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,953 reviews306 followers
August 19, 2018
I love my mysteries as much as I love my romances and this one drew me in as the author K.A Tucker had mentioned on the cover two of my favorite series - Riverdale and Veronica Mars. I also have an infinity for Teen girl detective like characters. I have to admit though that the main character reminded me more of Veronica Mars and a bit like Jughead rather than the female characters of Riverdale as she had more bite and guts and didn't come off as hiding even when things got tough. Kylene aka Ky's father has been framed for a murder of a fellow FBI agent, and now she has to move back to her childhood hometown and live with her grandfather who is the prison warden of the prison her dad is in. Before this happened, Ky was part of a sex tape fiasco and photos of her were distributed, and no-one charged, and she was made out to be the one who cried wolf. Now she's back at the high school and facing all her old enemies and the few friends she has left. Ky is adamant her dad was set up and is determined to find proof of his innocence but as she delves deeper into the case, her friends and herself will start to uncover a town widespread conspiracy and soon will prove that you can't trust anyone as they are all connected even her best friend Garrett's dad - the sheriff of their town. Can Ky and her friends unravel the conspiracy before more people are hurt, and innocents are framed? Find out in Book #1 of the Hometown Anti-Heroes Series "Dare You To Lie" as it's move over Veronica Mars and make way for Kylene Danner's with Amber Lynn Natusch's new series.
Profile Image for Nemo (The ☾Moonlight☾ Library).
642 reviews301 followers
May 31, 2020
This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library

This book was about 1 girl and about a hundred dudes.

The male/female ratio of this book was way off. The main character was female, and she had literally 1 female friend. Everyone else in this novel, except for a victim of domestic abuse and a 'cool aunt' archetype, was male. Literally every single one. She didn't even have an on-page mother. All the other girls were nameless airheads or your typical mean girl slut. And there was lots of slut-shaming. Combining this with some pretty tired cliches, I wasn't entirely thrilled with the opening few pages. But it got better.

This was my first bully novel and I was kind of hoping it would also turn into a reverse harem because there was just so. Many. Dicks. There was the incarcerated dad, the jail warden grandfather, the dad's FBI partner, the hotshot FBI rookie, the martial artist we saw for a whole one scene, then there was also the male best friend, the ex-boyfriend, the bully, and of course the bully's goons. SO MANY GUYS. And no romance with any of them. It would almost be a waste, except that Kylene clearly showed she doesn't need a man to kick butt and take names.
So Ky's two main conflicts in this novel were to try to get her dad out of jail by proving he was framed for murder, and to find out what really happened 2 years ago when a scandal caused her to flee the town - and the football team.

I really liked her platonic friendship with Garret, who seemed like a brooding big brother type. Her chemistry with her ex-boyfriend was written but unbelievable, and there was no romance. I thought there might have been with the hotshot rookie, because he was only 19 and he was described in the way all YA love interests are when they first meet (not even Garret got that kind of introduction) but there was none there either - I think it's being set up for the second novel because Ky thinks he's really hot, although an asshole, and he comes to respect her. And it actually really worked, because Ky was way too busy, determined, and focused to let romance sway her. Unfortunately, like most teen mysteries I've read, Ky didn't make much progress on her investigation until well over halfway. That didn't seem to matter so much, because she was dealing with taking down quite a scary bully, and because of the several sub-plots, the pace was kept quite high all along this book.

Ky seemed smart and only did dumb things about half the time. She seemed to thrive on drama and throwing herself into situations where she came off as the hero. She was brave, curious, a smart-mouth, and thanks to years of Muay Thai martial arts training, even though she is a tiny little petite blonde thing, she's mostly capable of looking after herself, except when it suits the plot to have someone rescue her. This means that when the bully comes after her, she mostly holds her own.

However, I felt that this made Ky verging on a super-powered teen, especially since none of the other women in the novel were half as cool, or smart, or tough. I know it was literally her against the world, but she was just so damn capable, and self-assured. Nothing rattled her, not even being stalked and threatened. I honestly don't know if it was a good thing or a bad thing: I think some readers will really like this, but some readers might be looking for someone with a little more character growth to sympathise with. To be honest, at times I found myself wondering if she was a self-insertion, and I do not like to think about such things.

I solved the main mystery long before Ky did. It was obvious. As in, jumping up and down holding an 'I'm the secret bad guy!' sign lit up in neon.

Overall, for my first bully novel, I really enjoyed it. The narrator in the audiobook was capable, and did different voices for different characters which I never realised I appreciated so much. I eagerly put the next book in this duology on hold at my local library.

PS I've never seen Veronica Mars or Riverdale, so I can't say if it has similar vibes.
Profile Image for Cee.
2,511 reviews111 followers
September 2, 2018
*I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

3.5 stars

I will admit, I almost did not finish this book. The writing style doesn't mesh with me. It feels too fast and the dialogue is always full of sarcasm and Ky talking big.

It isn't until I made the connection to Veronica Mars that I started getting into it more. I loved that show and since these main characters are so similar, why couldn't I just like Ky more? I still might not be Ky's biggest fan, but I see how she might grow in the series and I realized suddenly that I really did want to know how the mystery would work out -- and I wanted to make sure it didn't involve a character I did like.

Ky has a temper and a love for justice. She doesn't follow the rules and can't help but step in when someone needs assistance. She might not be my favorite character, but I do respect her. I'm glad some of the other characters were redeemed as well. Not the football players, because ugh, but I do like Dawson.

This is fast-paced and sometimes feels it. I wasn't always sure on timeline at times and I wouldn't have mind things slowing down, but there isn't ever a dull moment in this book.

Slowly I began to realize that this mystery was going to be bigger than just one book and my attention was grabbed even more. Now, I want to read the sequel! I had problems with this book, I almost didn't finish it, but I did eventually get into the groove of it and now wish I had more because I just need to know what is going on in this small town.
I'm also curious about the relationship building between Ky and Dawson -- She's a minor and he isn't, which is made obvious at multiple times in the book, but... I really like them together??? If she turns 18 soon then I won't mind if that is where the series is going, but if not then I might have issues-- but the author is so cognizant of this considering the subject matter of the next book! So, yes, I have feelings and a desire to know what happens next.

If you like Veronica Mars, girls out for justice, and/or fast-paced thrillers, you should check this book out!
Profile Image for Brittany Lamb.
224 reviews34 followers
August 17, 2018
*4.5 stars

Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for sending me a free advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this. It was not at all what I was expecting but in the best way possible. I didn't realize that I needed a new mystery series in my life, but guess what? I did.

The plot in this book is so heavy and dense but it somehow never feels at all overwhelming. I've seen other reviewers compare it to Veronica Mars, but I've never read anything in that series or even watched the tv show so I have absolutely no idea if this is anything like it, but if it is, then maybe I need to check out Veronica Mars.

There are so many different mysteries going on in this that it all kind of turns into one big conspiracy and I love that. I mean, how many times do I have to say 'love' in italics or bold print to really get my point across? The characters all feel a little shady (besides our main character, Kylene), so you're always guessing who's guilty of what and wondering who is worthy of trusting. Personally, I can't wait to find out who else is hiding secrets in future books in the series. I have lots of theories.

It took me a little while to warm up to Kylene because she has one of those really thick heroine personalities that is trying to not come off as heroic and this usually ends up with the character saying things that kind of make me cringe (which definitely happens here). But even though I didn't really care so much for her personality, I was all in for the cause. There is so much going on in this book that not liking how some of the characters are written won't distract you for long.

Overall, I'm so excited for the next installment. Natusch has got a winner on her hands.
Profile Image for Dennise Pendergrass.
549 reviews14 followers
September 19, 2018
This was a 3.5 for me, but I rounded up because I want to continue on with the series, it definitely ended up drawing me in.

Kylene is obnoxious. She has some superiority-hero complexes. She does not think her crap stinks, that is for sure. Her speech verbiage is also off-putting. Not like any high school student I ever met. I really struggled with the beginning of the book. While I wanted to know the story, I did not want to read about Kylene at all. Once things got going, the plot kept me interested. I really liked Garrett. He was my favorite character. The bad guys made good bad guys.

The book sets up two cases. The first, being her dad convicted for a crime Kylene is sure he didn't commit. The second, the circumstance that led Kylene's family to leave Jasperville a couple years before. While Kylene sets out to tackle both, her dad's case is rarely mentioned. Only visited twice, but there was supposed to be another visit that was never spoken of again. Most of the focus is on her case from a few years ago, and figuring out how to bring Donovan down a notch or 10. I would have liked some more time on her dad, too.

Overall I enjoyed the story, especially seeing how deep everything goes. I am definitely looking forward to reading where the next book takes things.
Profile Image for Kit Frick.
Author 10 books568 followers
May 14, 2018
A fast-paced thriller with a whip-smart and smart-mouthed protagonist. I immediately loved Kylene, both for her "act first, think later" attitude and for her grit and propulsive drive to get to the bottom of the highly personal scandal haunting her return to her Ohio hometown. As Kylene works to uncover the truth about the person or people who wronged her, as well as her FBI agent father's almost certainly wrongful conviction for murder, you'll be drawn in by her bad-assery as well an endearing supporting cast. There are plenty of high-tension moments and mysterious subplots to keep even veteran readers of YA thrillers engaged and turning pages.
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