Series: Standalone Novel
Published by Atria on 6/11/18
Genres: Women's Fiction
Buy on Amazon
Lucy Albright is far from her Long Island upbringing when she arrives on the campus of her small California college, and happy to be hundreds of miles from her mother, whom she’s never forgiven for an act of betrayal in her early teen years. Quickly grasping at her fresh start, Lucy embraces college life and all it has to offer—new friends, wild parties, stimulating classes. And then she meets Stephen DeMarco. Charming. Attractive. Complicated. Devastating.
Confident and cocksure, Stephen sees something in Lucy that no one else has, and she’s quickly seduced by this vision of herself, and the sense of possibility that his attention brings her. Meanwhile, Stephen is determined to forget an incident buried in his past that, if exposed, could ruin him, and his single-minded drive for success extends to winning, and keeping, Lucy’s heart.
Lucy knows there’s something about Stephen that isn’t to be trusted. Stephen knows Lucy can’t tear herself away. And their addicting entanglement will have consequences they never could have imagined.
Alternating between Lucy’s and Stephen’s voices, TELL ME LIES follows their connection through college and post-college life in New York City. With the psychological insight and biting wit of Luckiest Girl Alive, and the yearning ambitions and desires of Sweetbitter, this keenly intelligent and staggeringly resonant novel chronicles the exhilaration and dilemmas of young adulthood, and the difficulty of letting go—even when you know you should.
Tell Me Lies is unlike anything I’ve ever read, a mind boggling portrayal of dysfunction that never felt good to read yet I couldn’t look away. It’s peppered with twists and turns that left my chin on the floor and knots in my stomach and a desperate need to get away from it despite the fact that I just couldn’t put it down. And it ends in a way that is unsettling but right all at once. I was entertained. I was transfixed. I really enjoyed this story in a sick, twisted way and I look forward to much more from Carola Lovering.
4 “Yes. This.” Stars!
This book was wild. This book took me right back to college, to a time where hormones and alcohol and insecurities rolled out the red carpet for bad decisions and toxic relationships. I feel like every one of us has been a Lucy at some point, or a Diana, or a Pippa. And we all know a Stephen, unfortunately. And as brutal as it is to take this journey with Lucy, as frustratingly clear as our own hindsight reveals her path to us, we’ve still all been there, wanting something that is so terribly wrong for us just because it’s out of reach.
This story is hauntingly relatable for much of it. Sure, there are twists and dark turns that elevate it into a story that is both shocking and riveting and crazier than any life experiences I’ve had personally. But the bones of it are so real, so ugly, so honest. Tell Me Lies is a seriously twisted story of a college student convincing herself that something toxic and unhealthy is actually something perfect. It’s a story of desperation and narcissism. It’s a story of growing and learning and having to go through a whole lot of unsavory experiences in order to learn and grow and change.
Stephen is pretty horrible. At first, I saw every college guy in him. He just wants to get laid. He’s selfish and self serving. He cheats on his girlfriend. He’s a partier and a drinker and he says all the right things, flirts with every girl in the room, is underhanded and can manipulate any situation to make himself seem like a solid guy. We all knew that guy in college. But as this story unfolds, as Stephen shares more of himself from his own twisted point of view, it becomes disturbingly clear that there’s something way off about Stephen. His unpredictable personally makes for a story that’s precisely that.
These characters are so hard to like at times and I think it’s because they represent everything we should’ve done differently at their age. They can’t see beyond the superficial things they want. They don’t see how self absorbed they are, or how ridiculous their behavior is, or how they should want more than what they’re settling for. As infuriating as it is to watch, Lovering’s portrayal of twenty somethings trying to figure out love and life while their perspectives are clouded by emotions and drugs and alcohol is disturbingly accurate.
Tell Me Lies is a story about a character who loses herself and finds herself thanks to the manipulative, detached, charming, deplorable guy she meets in college. This book is kind of a mindf*ck for so many reasons. I didn’t know whether to throw my kindle in rage over the games Stephen plays or if I should just shake my head in shock over all that he gets away with. But it’s kind of a kick to the stomach as well because I related to this story in ways I’m ashamed to admit. I’ve been a Lucy and I’ve been a Diana and I sold myself short by allowing myself to be treated like crap, let myself cry over a guy that was never worth it, and let myself stupidly grasp at straws for a relationship that I never should’ve held on to. This is NOT a feel good story. It’s a cautionary tale for every college girl who will undoubtedly lose themselves in a guy. It’s a hypnotic novel of heartache and desperation. It’s funny in a baffling way, shockingly shameless and it’s unputdownable the whole way through. This is one of those books that you know can’t end well and you are SILENTLY PRAYING that it doesn’t because what these characters desperately want is exactly what SHOULDN’T happen. Tell Me Lies is unlike anything I’ve ever read, a mind boggling portrayal of dysfunction that never felt good to read yet I couldn’t look away. It’s peppered with twists and turns that left my chin on the floor and knots in my stomach and a desperate need to get away from it despite the fact that I just couldn’t put it down. And it ends in a way that is unsettling but right all at once. I was entertained. I was transfixed. I really enjoyed this story in a sick, twisted way and I look forward to much more from Carola Lovering.
About the Author
Carola Lovering attended Colorado College, and her work has appeared in W Magazine, National Geographic, Outside, and Yoga Journal, among other publications. Tell Me Lies is her first novel. She currently lives in Brooklyn.