Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Beautiful Lies

Beautiful Lies - Jessica Warman Also appears on The YA Kitten! I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.The idea behind stigmatic twins, a concept central to Beautiful Lies and its plot, is that if one twin is hurt, the same injury will manifest itself on the other twin. Warman created well-rounded characters as she explored the relationships between stigmatic twins Rachel and Alice Foster and how they interact with the world around them and it's a shame such fantastic characterization is brought down by horrible pacing, glaring inconsistencies, and bloated writing.The greatest strength Beautiful Lies has going for it is how well done its character relationships are. Alice and Rachel's relationship as sisters and as stigmatic twins who have only had each other for a large portion of their lives is believable, especially once Rachel's secrets start coming to light. Alice is a complex character herself--not fully explained or completely comprehensible, but she's someone people will want to read about. They might need a hint of what's to come to get them hooked, though. Their relationships with their aunt and uncle and also their friend Kimber were high points as well.What really got me was how inconsistent the novel was. Remember the explanation I offered earlier about stigmatic twins? The way it's used in the novel doesn't always make sense. Alice doesn't notice she has two black eyes, a dog bite in her leg, or a big gash in the back of her head until someone else points it out and that strikes me as a little strange considering the injuries. When Rachel pulls out one of her teeth, Alice feels nothing and loses no tooth. The scene would have worked had Alice questioned why she didn't feel her sister's pain, but she takes it at face value and never questions why she didn't feel the pain of a tooth being pulled out if she suffers through her sister's injuries.The scenario that let Rachel get kidnapped in the first place wasn't too logical either. Alice's phone got taken away with good reason, but her guardians still let Alice (or Rachel, since the girls switched identities) to go out with her friends on a Saturday night. Strange way of punishing a child, sending them out with their friends without their cell phone. It seems more sensible to ground her from going out. At the very least, it seems smarter to lift the cell phone ban for one night so Alice would have a way to communicate. But no, that's too inconvenient to the plot, so we get this nonsensical set-up.None of this was helped by the novel's poor pacing. Alice and Rachel have a strong relationship with one another that gives Beautiful Lies the minimum amount of drive needed, but it isn't powerful enough to hold up a four-hundred thirty-two page novel, nor is the mystery of where Rachel is and who took her. With so little forward momentum to it, getting the novel read took much longer than it usually takes me to read novels just as long or longer. Toward the end, I started skimming.I own Between, another of Warman's novels, but I'm a little more hesitant about it because part of the problem I had with Beautiful Lies was its prose and how the book felt twice as long as it was. That's more of a style problem than a content problem and there's not much you can do about that sort of problem. Still, Between is here and I might find myself happy with it if I decide to flip through it one day. Beautiful Lies requires a great deal of mental energy because it's the kind of novel where you'll have to reread passages to fully understand what's happening, but other readers may find such a novel more rewarding than I did.