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The Best Lies

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Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like.

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.

But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest—

And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.

Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

Told in alternating timelines, Thelma and Louise meets Gone Girl in this twisted psychological thriller about the dark side of obsessive friendship.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published July 2, 2019

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Sarah Lyu

2 books126 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 642 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,471 reviews9,375 followers
January 28, 2023
Two girls adrift find each other and develop one of the most disturbingly codependent relationships I have ever read.

This hard-hitting YA Contemporary follows Remy and Elise as they explore the bounds of friendship. Then they proceed to cross those boundaries in the worst possible ways.

The codependency of their relationship reminded me a lot of The Wicker King by K. Ancrum, which left a certain feeling in my gut.

Read as: extremely uncomfortable.

They seek comfort and safety in one another, calling themselves tragic heroines, because they don't feel there is anyone else in their lives they can count out.

Both struggle with intense emotional issues due to unstable, and at times, dangerous, home lives.

Both girls feel unwanted and under-valued, but in each other, they find a sense of belonging and love they were lacking.

Unfortunately for them, and everyone around them, in particular Remy's new boyfriend, Jack, the truth of their attachment is much more twisted than it would initially seem.

This book is nothing like I expected it to be. The subject matter is heavy, dark and way more mature than I was expecting. The psychological consequences of both these girls upbringings are absolutely devastating.

I felt bad for them in a visceral way ,as I know this type of circumstance happens all the time.

The timeline was done fairly well, although there is a lot of back-and-forth, so if that is not your jam, maybe steer clear.

The writing was also fairly engaging and I felt drawn into Remy and Elise's story. I definitely understand where the Thelma & Louise comparison comes from.

If you are looking for a dark YA Contemporary to pick up, I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.

There are a lot of good topics here worthy of examination. I will definitely continue to read from this author.

Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,083 reviews17.3k followers
Shelved as 'zzzzz-coverporn-etc'
February 8, 2018
there's a sapphic Elise in YA lit holy shit I've reached my final pokemon evolution
Profile Image for may ➹.
471 reviews1,898 followers
March 21, 2020
despite the whole guinea pig thing, this was Excellent! not sure what the lollipop on the cover has to do with toxic codependent friendships and murder, but Excellent!


my reading experience is absolutely ruined because the main character is named Remy and I used to have a guinea pig named Remy and every single time her name is mentioned I can’t picture anything but my guinea pig in a murderous thriller
Profile Image for Michelle .
862 reviews1,223 followers
August 19, 2019
When Remy and Elise meet their connection is instant. Unbreakable.

Remy has always felt as if she lives in the shadow of her older brother and the constant fighting between her parents makes her want to escape so when the vibrant and electric, Elise, comes along she can't resist being lured into her world.

Elise is an enigma and Remy becomes infatuated with her. They don't just love each other they need each other.

"Elise was electricity. I was the night. She banished the darkness, she lit me up."

However while out one evening and after being brushed aside by Elise, Remy meets Jack. Jack is everything she wants out of a relationship. He's kind, caring, and thoughtful. As their relationship heats up her friendship with Elise cools off and Elise is not pleased about it.

"She was gunpowder and he, a lit match."

Now Remy finds herself in a police station being questioned by a detective about how and why Elise killed Jack.

“The only question in these situations is who played what role. We know Elise was the shooter. We know Jack was the victim. What were you?”

A well written YA mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'd recommend this to anyone that was a fan of Dangerous Girls. 4 stars!
Profile Image for Bren fall in love with the sea..
1,564 reviews263 followers
September 2, 2021
“Our wounds don't make us special. They only mean we've been hurt.

Suffering isn't romantic. It's just painful.”
― Sarah Lyu, The Best Lies

My review:

I wanted to like this so much.

I was craving a good YA mystery. I have been on a kick with them lately. And while I thought the writing was excellent, I just could not really get into the story. But before I go on, I will say it seems most of my GR friends really liked this one, so take my review with a grain of salt.

So this book is about a toxic friendship between two girls....Remy and Elise. Remy's boyfriend Jack has been shot and killed by Elise and that is how The best lies begins.

We do not know what happened and why he was shot. We know only who shot him. Remy is being interviewed by a detective but we also go back into the past to see how the girls met, how Remy met Jack and how everything unfolded.

But we also get much more. Toxic parents, abuse, pranks that turn increasingly more serious...there is a whole lot going on here.

So, why did I not enjoy this? I should have because my favorite YA mystery is Dangerous Girls, also about a toxic friendship. And one of the girls is even named Elise..just like here!

But I could not warm to this. One of the reasons is there was not much subtlety. Elise is crazy...we can feel that immediately. There is no dark and creeping sense of doom....the doom is already here on the first page.

There is so much fighting between Remy's parents that I started feeling like I was reading "Kramer versus Kramer". It got redundant.

Remy infuriated me and acted in such a bizarre manner I really did not have much sympathy for her.

I adore books on toxic friends. I have had toxic relationships...to many to count., None as batshit crazy as Elise though. I mean....the fact that Remy was STILL trying to protect her after Elise:


brought a gun to school, tore Remy away from all her friends, set fire to a house, murdered Remy's boyfriend, was not sorry about murdering the boyfriend, kidnapped Remy, shot Remy....the list goes on. I am sure I forgot a few things. I guess I thought I was getting a slow building and dark novel, one that slowly weaves the puzzle together. Here, as I said....not subtle. Did anyone think the shooting was an accident? And I got so tried of the parents squabbles I had to skim a bit.

I did feel bad for Remy at the end but Elise was clearly deranged and I do not buy the blame it on my dad defense. I mean killing Jack was clearly premeditated and I just wasn't into this. It was a let down.

I really prefer my YA mysteries to be slower moving and more moody. Dangerous Girls is really the epitome of what I look for in the YA mystery arena. I do think the toxicity of the friendship was shown fantastically and I loved the power of the dialogue, which was excellent and would look for other books by this author. But this book was a miss for me.
Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
504 reviews360 followers
June 26, 2019
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for proving a physical arc in exchange for an honest review.

Quick note, this keeps getting listed in LGBTQIA+ upcoming novels for 2019 and I'm completely confused. This story is about obsession, abuse and an incredibly toxic friendship. My guess is that people are seeing these girls calling each other soulmates and saying they love each other in intense ways and automatically throwing it into the LGBT+ category but there is never any talk or even hints or sexual attraction or romantic love.

This about two girls who are going through an awful time and cling to each other in a very unhealthy way and just how far they are willing to go to hold on to each other.

RTC, just thought I'd comment on it because I thought it was going to be a totally different book on the way that it's been marketed in some places.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,414 reviews7,418 followers
November 19, 2019
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

The Best Lies had already been on my radar for quite some time due to . . . . .

Holy crap, the recommendation feature actually barfed out something that looked appealing??? And speaking of looking appealing, there were definitely some visual similarities that also piqued my curiosity . . . .

Between the titles and the covers, my brain was telling me . . . .

Then a couple of my Goodreads friends liked it too so I put myself on the library wait list. And now?????

Blame it on me having a bit of an addiction to teenager Lifetime mystery movies ten or so years ago. This story was a classic case of a toxic relationship culminating in a moment of . . . .

And I think I have just read/watched it one too many times. There were no real twists or turns and despite having a then and now timeline, it felt very stagnant to me. The good news is it was very dialogue driven which equaled me reading it in just a few hours while I supervised some horribly boring document comparison project that was running on my computer. Please note, however, that I’m also so dumb I didn’t even put this on my currently reading list, so you probably shouldn’t trust my opinion.

Buuuuuuuuut, to anyone else who might think it’s a bright idea to copycat a megahit’s name and artwork like what was done here, I say . . . .

It’s tough not to compare the orange to the apple when you put it in an apple costume.
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
587 reviews819 followers
June 29, 2019
wow I uh


the portrayal of toxic friendship was SO good and reading this was watching a trainwreck happening that you couldn't tear your eyes away from

definitely recommend!

Content Warnings:
Profile Image for JenacideByBibliophile.
208 reviews126 followers
July 3, 2019
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster, via Edelweiss+ for an honest review.

“Jack’s blood is on my face and in my hair, on my arms and under my fingernails. There was so much, the paramedics had rushed to me, checking for signs of trauma, but they couldn’t see the hole in my heart.


My name is Remy.
I am seventeen years old.
This won’t last forever.”

If you’re looking for a book that will leave you feeling lost, confused, unsure of your current relationships, angry, sad and utterly devastated…

…you’ve come to the right place.

The Best Lies is a book that literally any and every person can relate to.

Whether it touches the angst in your stomach for never experiencing a friendship so true and heartfelt; tickles the sadness in your heart for lost love or flicks awake the inner child slumbering deep inside you that can relate to the dire need for someone – this book is going to rip your feelings out through your eyeballs and leave you so full, you’ll be empty.

“I am pain and pain is me.”

First off, this book isn’t going to be what you think. Even from the quotes I have inserted throughout this review, you are going to be making assumptions as where this story will go. And most likely, you’re going to be wrong. This book is about toxic relationships, mental health, obsessive behaviors, manipulation, family dynamics, love, friendship and of course…lies. It is beautiful and tragic, and embodies innocence so fiercely that you can’t help but weep for every character.

“I am alone now as I was then.”

Remy Tsai is a straight-edged and somewhat reserved character. From the beginning I saw the patterns of how Remy would envelop herself into her relationships with friends or boyfriends. She gave every part of herself up and quickly latched onto them if they said something nice to her, and then fully looked to them to fill her with happiness and love. I found her character to be a lost soul, looking for others to tell her who she is or how she should feel about herself and the world. For me, Remy embodies a typical teenager. Desperately trying to discover who they are through the people they surround themselves with. Hoping they will be remembered, loved and needed by others.


When Remy first meets Elise, it is in a moment of deep rejection and sadness for her. She has just been dumped and is feeling alone and unwanted. But then Elise is there. Reaching out a hand and whisking her off into a spontaneous night of adventure and mischief. And so begins their fierce friendship of love, truths, lies and painfully raw emotions.

“Elise was electricity. I was the night. She banished the darkness, she lit me up.”

Elise is an electrifying, exciting, daring and fierce character. She is strong and courageous, stands up for herself and others, and sees herself as a vigilante put on Earth to right every wrong. She is intoxicating and beautiful. She is a character we would all love to be friends with, and even love to BE. For Remy, being around Elise was like breathing in sunlight or Heaven’s air. Elise made her feel safe, wanted, important and necessary. Which is everything that Remy never felt in life.
“Elise liked that I needed protection, and I liked that she wanted to protect me. We needed each other, we chose each other, and there was power in that.”

Both of the girls also have difficult family lives they fight to keep hidden from the rest of the world. Remy’s parents are involved in an emotionally abusive relationship that involves nightly screaming matches, adultery and the continuous act of her father leaving their family, only to return again in a few days. Elise was abandoned by her mother at a young age and left with an absent and angry father. Both girls find camaraderie and solace in each other, and use each other as lifelines to survive each day in their own personal Hells.

“’I need you, Remy,’ she said softly. What she was saying: I love you. After a moment I said, ‘I need you, too.’”

But this isn’t just a story of strength between two friends, or family dysfunction. It is also a story of obsession and need. I can’t go too into detail without giving away all the best parts, but this story definitely takes a turn into a space of deep darkness and sorrow. The relationships and friendships that once felt uplifting and whole, begin to crumble. The common theme for many of these characters was their overwhelming need to be NEEDED. It leaves you feeling irritated because they can’t find love for themselves and have to seek it out in others. But it also leaves you aching because you know EXACTLY what that need feels like. To be wanted and accepted by others.

“She wasn’t magical. She was magic itself and I was completely under her spell.”

Obviously, this story ends tragically. Remy’s boyfriend is killed by her best friend and it is…devastating. But the reason behind WHY he is killed, is really why you want to read this story. It is intricate, well-developed, dripping in emotional turmoil, and embodies every feeling a teenager can have.

But just remember.

This isn’t a happy story.

It will hurt you, and you will feel lost afterwards. Just as I do now.

So tread carefully.

“A night tech comes into the room. ‘Are you okay?’ he asks. I answer honestly. ‘I don’t know.’”

Profile Image for Brandi.
12 reviews4 followers
July 15, 2019
This book was so disappointing. Maybe that's my fault, but I went in with high expectations based on the title alone. With that being said let's begin with the characters:

Remy: absolutely the most annoying protagonist (if you want to call her that) ever. She's extremely clingy and insecure. Some things are her fault but she always owns up to it when it's too late. Useless.

Elise: The worst antagonist on the planet. Obsessed with Remy out of nowhere? Makes no sense. Giving a ride to a complete stranger then being obsessed with them within 4 minutes made no sense. Also these dumb pranks she uses as an outlet were the worst part about her. Almost.

Jack (?) I literally just finished the book and forgot his name. Anyways, a sweetheart and an innocent bystander. You can tell his character was an afterthought although he had a bit of depth to him, the timing and placement were off for me.

SUMMARY: What is this? Fatal Attraction on Xanax and cigarettes? (Cigarettes are brought up every 5 pages, I'm not kidding it's terrible) How Remy and Elise met was after Cameron dumped Remy, which made sense because he's going off to college and she's still vastly immature and believes everything is meant to be in her deluded state of mind. Elise decides to help Remy feel better with pranking Cameron with fireworks because I guess that's funny. Anyway, the 2 soon become inseparable in the unhealthiest way. Remy suddenly pushes aside her oldest and closest friend for a girl she barely knows because they both have their own sad story. Eventually, Remy grows tired of Elise and her pranks and gravitates toward being a loner once she figures out that Elise is allowed to have friends other than her (Who's obsessed with who?) and she meets Jack. They grow close quick which is a pattern in this book, and fall in love. Elise hates this because she wants Remy to be hers and only hers. Shocker. Remy decides to do her own thing anyway and cuts off her phone one night while with Jack because Jack wants to feel like a priority because Elise always cries wolf. And of course, the one time she ditches her phone Elise actually needs her. Anyway, Elise shoots Jack an insanely amount of 6 times for no reason other than she's freaking nuts. All while during her interview Remy tried to protect her because she's an idiot too. Also, there are some family issues going on within Remy's household, a little fling with Christian (who is Remy's brother who we barely get to know from anyone's point of view other than what Remy believes to be true) and Elise which never got fully explained and was thrown in for a wow factor because Remy despises her brother for being everything she's not. Also, trigger warning: suicide attempt when Remy decides to flee from Elise's crazy antics at the last minute, also Elise's dad who we never hear from at all which was so irritating, is abusive towards Elise.

I DON'T GET THE POINT OF THIS BOOK IF THE ENTIRE TAGLINE IS A SPOILER. I SO BADLY WANTED A TWIST TO OCCUR BUT NOTHING EVER CAME. I figured it out within the first twenty minutes, a watered-down fatal attraction that reeks of mediocrity and cigarette smoke. This might be a little harsh but I'm telling it like it is. Terrible book, I actually want my money back.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for CW ✨.
630 reviews1,689 followers
July 26, 2019
My full review is now up on my blog, The Quiet Pond!


Holy shit, friends. This book CAME for me.

I didn't know what to expect but whatever expectations I had, The Best Lies took them, slapped me with them, and now I'm just dazed and in awe of this book's brilliance.

- Follows Remy, a teen whose boyfriend is shot dead by her best friend -- and she can't remember why.
- Told in alternating narratives, oscillating between past and present day, this is a story about obsessive and toxic friendships and dysfunctional families, and is one heck of a psychological mystery thriller. It's also about love, abuse, revenge, and the narratives we tell ourselves.
- The characters are amazing - fleshed out characters, twisted, awful, but... as awful as it was, I empathised with them at times.
- This book had me guessing throughout. I could feel the gears in my mind TURNING when thinking about how this would play out and end and what it all meant. The ending is incredible and just... spot-on.
- I... uh... seriously. read this. but this book is pretty intense and dark, so be careful!!

Trigger/content warnings:
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,284 reviews216 followers
January 21, 2023

-Enmeshed friendship on steroids
-Dead boyfriend
-Best friend holding the gun
-Dysfunctional families

I can’t remember the last time a debut stunned me as much as THE BEST LIES. Sarah Lyu’s first, of I hope many, YA novels dripped voice and heart thumping tension. I wished I could have finished in one sitting.

Lyu’s gorgeous, smart writing had me highlighting many passages on my kindle, her words so profound. With its intensity, THE BEST LIES reminded me of Eileen Cook’s WITH MALICE and Abigail Haas’s DANGEROUS GIRLS. I never knew the reliability of Remy as a narrator, whether her obsession would lead to tragedy or if Jack deserves his fate. I did know Elise was trouble from the get go and why Remy fell for her charm. The rest I’ll leave readers to discover as not to spoil one word.

THE BEST LIES is the perfect mystery/thriller and beach read.

ETA: the audiobook is also wonderful.
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,206 reviews465 followers
August 21, 2019
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

4.5/5 Stars

Remy loves her boyfriend, Jack. She also loves her besstfriend, Elise. Then one night Elise shoots Jack in the chest, claiming self defense... but Remy isn't so sure that's the truth.

This book focuses on toxic and obsessive friendships, which I have not read many books about but I really enjoyed! I really liked how the dysfunctional family life of both girls were shown. I think that the book did a great job in showing how love become controlling at times and how sometimes you need to step away. I really liked both Remy and Elise, although I don't know if "like" is the correct word, maybe intrigued by them would be more appropriate... I was instantly hooked with both of their stories and fully invested in what was going to happen and discovering the truth behind Jack's death. The reason I took off half a star was the insta-love between Remy and Jack, although I did like them together and thought they had a strong relationship. Overall, I really enjoyed this and definitely recommend!
August 21, 2019
I have some conflicting feelings about this, so I think I’ll sleep on this one before a full review. Heavier topics at least deserve that before they’re approached in a book review.
Profile Image for Yna from Books and Boybands.
747 reviews348 followers
June 14, 2020
“Elise was electricity. I was the night. She banished the darkness, she lit me up.”

📚 Series? No.
📚 Genre? YA Mystery Thriller.
📚 POV? Alternating past and present.
📚 Cliffhanger? No.

⚠ Content Warnings:  Physical abuse. Emotional abuse. Codependency. Suicide. Murder. Arson. Manipulation. Gun violence. Underage alcohol consumption.
⚠ Book Tags :  Toxic friendships. Family. Asian rep. Abuse.
⚠ This Book In Emojis: 👩🏼‍🤝‍👩🏻🤦🏻‍♀️🎆🧨🙅🏻‍♂️🙅🏻‍♀️

The book is about:
The Best Lies talks about the toxic friendship of the two main characters, Remy and Elise. Remy's boyfriend, Jack, died of a gunshot wound and Remy "can't" remember why. This book unfolds as the police investigates the case and as Remy looks back on the events leading up to Jack's death.

What drew me in:
What really attracted me to pick this book up is the fact that it was written by an Asian author. Then, I was attracted by the blurb, because this is the type of thriller that I tend to go for. I'm all for the toxic friendship route in the thrillers that I read.

Characters & connections:
The Best Lies told the story through the point of view of Remy. However, in a way, reading this book felt like the story does not actually revolved around her, but around Elise.

Remy has a difficult home situation. She has problems with her parents and she feels like she is being overshadowed by her brother. She has a low self esteem and tends to be timid and shy.

And then she meets Elise.

Elise was presented in a manic pixie dream girl style. She was weird and confident and charming -- which meant that Remy was fascinated to hear and felt attached to her right away.

They found things that they had in common, especially in the problems on their personal lives. This made them lean towards each other for comfort.. and that eventually became too much.. as they have been heavily dependent on each other.

This was something that I see as believable. And the author's writing style made it easier, for me, to connect with each of these characters.

Everything I liked:
The Best Lies delivered a good concept and told a story that has been told many times in its genre. It was written in a way that connects and moves.. even when you are not really guessing on things, the predictability was still written in a way that works.

Overall thoughts:
The Best Lies offers a dark contemporary thriller that is perfect for its YA audience. It shows how not all friendships are good for you. It also showed the dark side of abuse - how someone who was abused can still inflict the same to another person. Abuse does not cancel each other out and it comes with irreparable consequences, as well.

If you are looking for something dark and intense, you can try this one out!


🌼 Blurb:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Thrill/Suspense: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

☁FINAL VERDICT: 3.45/5 ☁

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Profile Image for nika.
300 reviews119 followers
August 13, 2022
toxic codependent homoerotic female friendships are laced with crack fr. just insane everytime <3
Profile Image for - ̗̀  jess  ̖́-.
576 reviews365 followers
July 10, 2019
If you've ever wanted to know about the other side of obsessive friendship, this is the book you need. One of my favourite tropes to read about in books is the sick, pining friendship, and I've only really imagined it from the person who's pining. The Best Lies takes this trope and twists it into something gruelingly real and dangerous, showing just how toxic some friendships can become.

The book opens just after the murder of Remy's boyfriend, Jack, with her best friend/ soulmate Elise being the one who pulled the trigger. Remy is, understandably, in an absolutely awful place as the book opens, but as the reader continues it turns out that a lot of Remy's life has been shaped by reactions to trauma. It's what draws her to Elise in the first place: both of them have been deeply hurt in their childhood, and it's why they can connect so well to each other. I could really connect with Remy: she's quieter and more timid, with more of a propensity to hide from her problems than enact revenge like Elise compels her to. Like Remy, I'm very mediocre compared to the rest of my family, and I can definitely see why Remy does what she does over the course of the book, because I would do them as well.

Though Remy narrates the book, I'd argue that Elise is definitely the true protagonist of The Best Lies: so much of Remy's thoughts revolve around Elise. From the moment they meet, Remy and Elise are attached at the hip, and even after Elise shoots Jack, Remy desperately tries to protect her. Elise and Remy refer to themselves as more than best friends: soulmates, family, and until Remy meets Jack, the two are absolutely insepratable. Elise is such a fascinating character, oddly sympathetic even though you know what happens and what the book is gearing up to as it goes on. Elise is a character who, in many ways, is shaped by her history of complex trauma, and many of her actions throughout the book are reactions to her experiences.

The Best Lies is, among other things, an in-depth discussion of the nature of trauma and abuse and toxic people. Both Remy and Elise have had a lifetime of traumatic situations: Remy's parents argue constantly and threaten divorce, and her mom clearly favours her brother over her; on the other hand, Elise's father is abusive in a way that one would imagine. Both are portrayed as inherently traumatic and life-changing, even though one may be considered objectively worse than the other. The author herself comes from a history of abuse, and the message running throughout the book is clear: abuse and trauma does not excuse the perpetuation of more abuse and trauma, and even if your trauma isn't objectively the worst, it's still valid, because it still hurt. It's such a nuanced and realistic look at the nature of trauma and how people deal with it.

Even though it's told through alternating perspectives, which would make one think that there would be a foregone conclusion, the book never quite loses its momentum. Not only is it a murder mystery, it's a tale of an obsessively spiraling friendship between two desperate girls, and the two stories in past and present complement each other perfectly. I was absolutely entranced by the story, and couldn't stop reading it even as the clock ticked closer and closer to morning.

I have seen some people say that this was a sapphic book, and in the interest of not misleading anyone I want to be clear that the relationship between Elise and Remy is not explicitly sapphic. It can certainly be read as such, and I did read a lot into their relationship. Neither Elise or Remy are explicitly straight, either, so there's a lot of room for reader interpretation either way.

I highly recommend The Best Lies to anyone who's a fan of dangerous girls, and anyone who can relate to girls who are just trying to survive day to day. It's a harsh book and can get dark at times, but it's also incredibly well-written and incredibly complex in its narration and characterization.

Thank you to the publisher & Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy! Any quotes are from the ARC version and not finalized.

content warnings | abuse (emotional & physical), manipulation, grief, suicide mentions, death

rep | asian mc, abuse survivor

Profile Image for Rida Quraishi.
396 reviews64 followers
June 15, 2021
“Our wounds don't make us special. They only mean we've been hurt.
Suffering isn't romantic. It's just painful.”

CW: physical abuse, cheating, manipulation, toxic relationships, child neglect

This was a pretty cool psychological thriller! The story starts with the death of Remy's boyfriend, Jack, who is shot by her best friend, Elise, and they're both taken in for questioning. But Remy is traumatised and can't think clearly to put the pieces of what happened that night back in place. And, this is one book where I really enjoyed the "unreliable narrator" perspective. So we, along with the police, are trying to figure out what really happened. Was it in self defense or cold-blooded murder?

“We were a forest fire, wild and full of rage. We were a galaxy unto ourselves, a million stars blazing bright.
Everything was possible then.”

In the meantime, we're given flashback chapters of how Elise and Remy met and how their friendship developed. Elise rescues Remy on the night Remy is dumped by a guy and helps her get revenge. Elise makes her feel so special. Like, she would always be there for her, her escape from her toxic family, her safe place, her home... and Remy is drawn to Elise like a moth to flame. We then see how a beautiful friendship filled with love and a sense of belonging later becomes obsessive and toxic and the way it is presented by the author is spectacular.

"We found it romantic, being the tragic heroines of our own stories. But the cost to being a tragic hero was always going to be the ending. Romeo and Juliet with their poison and knife, Gatsby by his pool, Bonnie and Clyde in a shoot-out."

The book talks a lot about pain and grief and how some people romanticise pain and try to make it beautiful, and how that can become toxic. It was dark, it was creepy, it gave me goosebumps to just imagine these things happening to me or someone close to me. It was really good book for a debut. Much better than my expectation since this was just a cover-buy for me 😅
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,115 reviews1,010 followers
July 23, 2019
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .

Ohhh this book is messed up! You know, in the good way! Since the whole book revolves around the thriller/mystery aspect, I am going to keep this purposely short. Basically there are two main components: The relationships of the characters, and the unsettling mystery.

The Characters and Their Relationships: So, this is a huge part of the book. Not only do we delve into Remy's relationship with Elise, but her relationship with her late boyfriend Jack, and her family and other friends. And of course, the effect that they all have together, because that is sort of the key. Remy and Elise found each other when they both really needed a friend. Their relationship goes through all the ebbs and flows of typical friendships, until it becomes something far more sinister (and far less healthy). And that is the basic tone of the book: how much is too much? How far is too far? 

Remy's relationship with Jack is far less complex, for the fact that it was a seemingly healthy and normal one. Through it all, she struggles to find her footing with her family and other friends. Meanwhile, Elise is struggling with an abusive relationship of her own, and things are pretty messy for everyone. 

The Unsettling Mystery: Obviously, keeping this short! But as all these relationships come into focus, we start to see what everyone's motivations seem to be for the way they're behaving. Sometimes it's selfish, and sometimes it's worse. But as it unfurls, you'll be hooked into the secrets, deceptions, and motivations that all the characters have hidden. 

Bottom Line: A really intense mystery based on an equally intense series of relationships.
Profile Image for Kayla Brunson.
1,332 reviews243 followers
August 21, 2019
This was a book that I was looking forward to but I am so disappointed by what I just read. This was portrayed as a mystery type read and that couldn’t be farther from what this actually was. This read nothing like a mystery/thriller like it’s portrayed to be. It really read like any other YA contemporary and I was so disappointed not to have the mystery/thriller feel.

This book was about the effects of a toxic friendship. The friendship follows Remy and her friend Elise. We get flashbacks of them meeting and forming this bond and everything that leads up to Elise shooting Remy’s boyfriend Jack.

As far as the relationship between Remy and Elise goes, the first word that comes to mind was toxic. Remy seemed to have this obsession with Elise. She thought that she was tough and strong and had a hero complex about her. Elise bathed in that adoration but in truth was just a manipulative person and a liar. I keep seeing this book being tagged as LGTBQ+ but I don’t think that’s the case. They did say that they loved one another called each other their soulmates but I don’t think that it was in an attraction way. They saw each other as family and they thought of their tragic lives as something that gave them strength. As much as Remy cared for Jack, I don’t see this being true.

I have to say that the only redeeming character here was Jack. Yes, the guy who was shot in the beginning of the book. Not even Remy was likable to me. She enabled Elise’s behavior so much that she even started making excuses for her in her mind. She knew that something should have been done way before the shooting happened.

Like I said earlier, this definitely read more like a contemporary than a mystery/thriller. I also need to say that this book was so much darker than what I thought. Some of the things said here really shocked me. While it does make it more real, I was still shocked that the author went there.

All in all, this book was dark and showed how some friendships can turn toxic. I think it did show that part well but it lacked in other areas. Since this was the author's debut, I would be willing to read something else by her.

TW: physical & mental abuse; acts of suicide

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Profile Image for Esther.
265 reviews58 followers
March 4, 2021
Random Comment:
That was probably the most disturbing book I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

The best part of The Best Lies was when Remy realized the toxic relationship she was in. Elise needed help and I am happy Remy realized Elise wasn’t in a good state of mind.

Reading this book made me feel deeply disturbed. The way Remy and Elise were so dependent on each other seemed both natural and unnatural at the same time.

In the beginning, it seemed Remy needed Elise more than Elise needed her, but I was soon proven wrong. As the book continued, Elise seemed to unravel before my eyes. Her swagger, bravery, and nonchalance melted until there was only a terrified girl. It made me sad to read about Elise, but I was more scared about what was going to happen to Remy.

The Best Lies is a sorrowful and disturbing book. I expected something juvenile but was surprised by the maturity of this book.

I would read it again if I wasn’t so apprehensive of feeling this way again.

Rating: 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Dana.
666 reviews9 followers
August 2, 2019
If I could sum up The Best Lies in one word it would be stressful. I spent so much of this book wanting to take characters and shake them!! And let me just say this isn't a negative thing ... I'm giving this book a 3.5 star rating. You know the authors writing has got you when you're feeling SO many different emotions, and I probably felt ALL of them throughout these pages. But with that being said, that wasn't always a good thing either ... we've got some serious trigger warnings happening here, parental abuse, domestic violence. This was a heavy read to say the least.

I didn't love the characters, but I don't think we were supposed to. Remy & Elise both made me crazy in their own way ... toxic relationships my friends ... so very toxic. You're in for a very bumpy ride!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgalley for my review copy!
Profile Image for Tala  Lolias.
248 reviews62 followers
May 15, 2020
For a young adult book this was super dark, obsessive and very addicting to read.

The relationship between Elise and Remy was so dependant on each other that it was obsessive. The need to control and be with each other 24/7 was just crazy.

This book was very well written, the character development throughout only got stronger and I loved the way it finished.

Definitely worth a read.
Profile Image for Martina Urbanová.
Author 3 books64 followers
September 21, 2020
Toxické priateľstvo je jednou z náročnejších tém – a všetky tieto náročné témy bývajú často romantizované. Síce o nich autori v mnohých prípadoch začnú písať s vážnosťou, ktorú by si zaslúžili, nakoniec ale často mávnu rukou a povedia si, že však to nie je až také dôležité a z naozaj potrebnej témy sa stane kulisa vyškerenému happyendu. Sarah Lyu je však jednou z mála autoriek, ktoré sa nebáli zobraziť takúto náročnú tému nielen s dôstojnosťou, ktorú si zaslúži, ale najmä s otvorenou brutalitou, ktorú si vyžaduje. Pričom to dokázala v pomerne jednoduchom príbehu.

Postáv je v knihe pomenej, ale najdôležitejšími sú Remy, Elise a v neposlednom rade aj Jack. Remy je okrem toho aj rozprávačkou, takže dostala úplne najviac priestoru. Ako rozprávačka je však do určitej miery nespoľahlivá, nakoľko jej úsudok ovplyvňujú city a všetko to, čo prežila. Navyše je z rozvrátenej rodiny, v ktorej si rodičia z hádok urobili závodný šport a brat, ktorý by jej mohol byť oporou, zvolil vlastný spôsob vyrovnávania sa s problémami – ignoráciu a nevšímavosť.

Remy je teda citovo nestabilná, nešťastná a neuveriteľne hladná po akejkoľvek pozitívnej emócii. Je teda svojom spôsobom aj dosť naivná a tým pádom sa vynikajúco hodí do tohto typu príbehu – pretože má predstavovať obeť, ktorá je príliš zaslepená na to, aby dokázala vidieť jasne. Do veľkej miery jej pomôže otvoriť oči práve Jack, ktorý ju takisto pomáha formovať a napriek malému priestoru, ktorý dostal v príbehu, je pomerne kľúčový.

Elise je však významnejšia a navyše dosť stratená postava. Vplyvom naozaj brutálnej minulosti i prítomnosti z nej vyrástlo zúrivé dievča, ktoré krikom a nenávisťou a hlavne bolesťou odpovedá na všetko, čo by ju dokázalo zraniť. S Remy sa teda v istom zmysle dopĺňajú, no pritom sú jedna pre druhú totálne nevhodné priateľky, čo ich však ani v najmenšom nezastaví, aby sa naozaj kamarátili.

Ich vzťah mi opisovala Remy a robila to čiastočne retrospektívne, pretože dej sa odohrával v čase tesne po tom, ako Jack zomrie a ona sa v spomienkach vracia k tomu, ako sa s Elise stretli a k ďalším kľúčovým momentom. Ako som však už spomínala, Remy je nespoľahlivý rozprávač a navyše autorka niekoľkokrát zdôraznila, že Elise nemá problém klamať – nakoľko Elise s radosťou tvrdí, že základom každej dobrej lži je kúsok pravdy a je teda na čitateľovi, aby pátral, čo presne z toho, čo Elise tvrdí je pravda a čo prikrášlená lož.

Po dejovej stránke je kniha napriek tomu dosť chudobná. Línia je priamočiara a od určitého bodu je veľmi jednoduché uhádnuť, čo presne sa stalo medzi Elise, Remy a Jackom. Avšak cieľom knihy nie je vykresliť komplikovanú detektívnu zápletku, v ktorej bude každý podozrivý. Miesto toho sa autorka zamerala na psychologickú stránku veci – hlavne na Remy a jej prežívanie. Na to, ako sa postupne mení, ako si uvedomuje, čo sa okolo nej deje a prečo, až po moment, keď konečne otvorí oči a prestane si svoj vzťah s Elise romantizovať. Čo je jednoznačne najkľúčovejší moment a je fascinujúce sledovať, ako sa k nemu Remy nakoniec prepracuje.

Kniha Najlepšie lži je ukážkovým príkladom toho, ako by autori mali spracovávať náročné témy – že by ich ani v najmenšom nemali romantizovať, ale mali by o nich hovoriť otvorene, úprimne a s istou dávkou brutality. Rovnako to urobila autorka v tejto knihe, navyše sa sústredila na psychologické prežívanie postáv, predovšetkým Remy, ktorá bola zároveň aj rozprávačkou. Na stránkach som tak mala možnosť sledovať jej cestu a naplno s ňou prežiť každú emóciu, každý pád a hlavne každý moment, ktorý jej nakoniec pomohol uvedomiť si, že Elise nie je tou kamarátkou, ktorú potrebuje. Kiež by bolo takýchto otvorene brutálnych kníh o dôležitých témach viac.

recenzia: https://book-addicts-kingdom.blogspot...
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,457 reviews144 followers
June 27, 2020
⇢ 3¼ ✰STARS✰



If you like a story about the inner workings that will lead to a tragic downfall...all while knowing how it turns out in the end...then this might be the story for you. For me, I wanted a twist that I never got, I literally just waited for it, all the way to the end...and it never came.

On the outside, this is a story of a toxic friendship gone bad. On a deeper level...it's the story of someone who never got the validation they needed, that everyone needs really, and turned into someone who seeks control over anything and everyone that they can because of the one thing that they cannot.

For me, Nancy Wu's narration wasn't necessarily bad...I just didn't gel with her nasally voice.

Narration Rating ⇢ 3 STARS
Plot ⇢ 3.2/5
Characters ⇢ 3.7/5
The Feels ⇢ 3.7/5
Pacing ⇢ 3/5
Addictiveness ⇢ 3.2/5
Theme, Tone or Intensity ⇢ 3.3/5
Originality/Believability ⇢3/5
Flow (Writing Style/Ease of Listening) ⇢ 4/5
Twisty-ness/Mystery ⇢ 2/5
Ending ⇢ 2.8/5
Summation ⇢ 3/5

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