Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson : lies and secrets and skateboards





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!




“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

“This conversation-starting page-turner is…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.






Jennifer Donaldson graduated from Reed College and received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently lives in Austin with her family.


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3 thoughts on “Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson : lies and secrets and skateboards

  1. THIS BOOK WAS EVERTHING OMG!! Love love loved!! I was so surprised by it–in a good way!

    After reading your review, I TOTALLY AGREE ABOUT GABE!! I didn’t even catch that. Definite lackage of oomph! He’s almost not even his own characrter but only exists to further Catherine’s storyline and Elyse’s!!?!


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