Lie Or Die by A. J. Clack
Published: March 7th 2024 by Firefly Press
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Genres: Young Adult // Thriller, Mystery, Horror
Quick Thoughts: Lie Or Die was exhilarating, haunting, and meticulously clever. The paranoia we feel through the characters is multidimensional, seeping into each tentative turn of the page. This deserves ALL the hype.
I was gifted this book via the Publisher. There was no obligation to post/give this book a certain rating. I remain entirely impartial.
About This Book:
Ten strangers trapped in a television studio
Forty-two remote cameras
One rule: Trust no one
When a casting call is announced for new reality TV show Lie or Die, Kass is tricked into auditioning by her best friend. Big Brother meets Mafia, Lie or Die pits contestants against each other as they try to discover who is a murderous agent and who is an innocent player.
But when contestants start to turn up dead (the real kind, not the fake kind), Kass realises that not being eliminated and winning the game is the least of her worries. No longer a game of truth and lies, Kass and her friends are in a fight for survival. ‘Reality’ just got very real.A dark, reality-TV based YA thriller, perfect for fans of The Traitors TV show.
When I was offered the chance to read Lie Or Die, with it being pitched as a cross between Big Brother and Mafia and for fans of The Traitors, I jumped—even though I’d never heard of the party game known as “Mafia” I am a huge Traitors and Big Brother fan, so I knew I’d categorically love this read.
Kass doesn’t want to apply for Lie Or Die, a brand new reality TV show looking for cast members—however, she’s sort of indebt to her best friend, Thea, who still hasn’t forgiven her for kissing her ex-boyfriend, no matter how much she grovels. The show will be Mafia, a social deduction game with designated Players, Agents, and Detectives, faux-murders and trials, on a mass platform scale inside a house put on by a production company. Thea does the unthinkable and already signs up herself and Kass before she even agrees, but when Kass isn’t chosen for the role she’s semi-relieved, just going along to the casting to support her BFF with other best friend, Lewis. Only, due to a last-minute injury of one of the chosen cast members, Kass is reeled into filling the vacancy, thrust into the spotlight she never wanted.
Surrounded by Pretty People and all their flawless personas, Kass feels out of place, especially when she’s given the trope “Girl Next Door” by the show. Her castmates aren’t mean, per say, but they all want to win, and if she has any chance at getting back in Thea’s good books, she has to make sure her BFF wins. But when the game begins it’s not what any of them expected, small things going awry that slowly spiral out of control. Players aren’t just fake-dying, they’re being murdered for real. Suddenly, the cast are painfully aware that this game isn’t a game anymore, and surviving until the end doesn’t mean winning—it means not dying. Working together with allies she doesn’t know how to trust, Kass begins to pull together the mystery one clue at a time. But when treachery is closer than she initially thought, does protecting her friends mean throwing herself into certain death?
Overall, Lie Or Die was exhilarating, haunting, and meticulously clever. The paranoia we feel through the characters is multidimensional, seeping into each tentative turn of the page. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through, blurring the lines between reality and fiction, but also between who we say we are and who we really are. A. J. Clack created a book that not only perfectly captures the dark side of reality TV, but also embodies the essence of toxic friendships, judging a person by their exterior, and that things we see aren’t always what they appear to be. I really didn’t expect to end up loving Lie Or Die as much as I did, a true dark horse of a book. And with that ending?! I sure am excited for all things to come from A. J. Clack. Bravo—the easiest five star read. This deserves ALL the hype.
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