Series: Trust Me, I'm Lying #1
Published by Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 14th, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Fans of Ally Carter's Heist Society novels will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.
Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.
But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.
CHAPTER 2: THE GEEK JOB
“Hey, Julep. Got a sec?” Murphy Donovan—a soft, bespectacled nerd from my biology class—stops me before I get very far.
“You happen to have a decent cup of espresso on your person?” I say.
“Not on me, no.”
“Then if you want to talk, you’ll have to walk me.”
He falls into step like a well-trained puppy, but he seems to need a little prodding in the talking department.
“So is this a social call?” I ask.
“No. That is, um, I’d like to”—he lowers his voice and looks over his shoulder at the students flitting hither and yon around us—“hire you.”
“I see. How can I be of service?”
“I want you to get Bryn Halverson to go to the fall formal with me,” he all but whispers.
I consider his request as I shift my bag. I could do it. Easily, in fact. All it takes is a modified fiddle game. My brain is already spinning the con, assessing resources, gauging the mark. But I’d like a little more information before I take the job.
“The Bryn Halverson?” I say. “Head JV cheerleader, homecoming court, failing Spanish—that Bryn Halverson?”
“She’s failing Spanish?”
“Yes, her,” Murphy answers.
“Do you mind if I ask why?”
He drops his gaze to his hands. “I like her,” he mumbles.
“You and every other straight, red-blooded American male,” I say, more truthful than kind. I don’t need to drag this out of him. I can do the job without it. But how I approach the job affects him, and understanding his motivations lets me know how far I can go.
“I liked her before. I’ve liked her since middle school, when she had braces and frizzy hair and was whipping all our butts at algebra.”
I sigh and give him a sympathetic look. I’m going to take the job, of course, but I’m not thrilled about it. Not because I’m opposed to manipulating Bryn, but because I already know Murphy’s going to get trampled. And since Murphy’s a tech-club buddy of Sam’s, Sam is not going to be pleased if I help Bryn break Murphy’s heart.
“Honestly, Murphy, it would be easier if you just wanted the social status.”
“So you’ll do it?”
I nod reluctantly. “Yes. But you’ll probably regret it.”
“Depends on how much you like her.”
“No, I mean—”
I wave him to silence. “I know what you mean,” I say, calculating the fee in my head. What is the going rate for breaking somebody’s heart? This is one of those questions that make me reconsider my line of work.
“Five hundred. Cash. Plus the standard proviso.”
“You owe me a favor.”
“What kind of favor?”
“The kind where you don’t know what it is until I ask it,” I say, pausing at the door to the Ballou. “If it’s any comfort, it’s usually something pretty tame, and generally in your area of expertise.”
Murphy mulls over my terms for all of half a second before forking over the cash. I’d never pay that much for a school dance, but then most of the students at St. Aggie’s have money to burn. Even worse is the threat of an unspecified favor to be called in at a later date. But I’ve never had anyone protest. I guess that’s what comes of having unlimited access to whatever you want—when you need something you can’t get, you’re willing to put everything on the line. Maybe the opportunity to confess your undying love is worth it. I’ve never felt that way about anyone, so what do I know?
“When should I ask her?” he says.
“A week from tomorrow,” I answer as I open the door. “That gives us time to lay the groundwork, but still gives her a few days to buy a dress. Assuming she doesn’t have a closet full already.”
“What if she says no?”
“You should be more worried about her saying yes.”
He gives me a confused look.
“I’ll take care of it,” I say, stepping into the warm glow of the Ballou.
“My talent is the one thing I can leverage. I’m a grifter, a con artist, and a master of disguise. I’m the best, actually, because I was taught by the best–my dad, Joe. Never heard of him? Well, you wouldn’t have, because he’s never been caught. And neither have I. The best grifters are ghosts.”
Julep is just your average teenage girl. Sort of. Not really. Known as “the fixer” to her classmates, for her ability to con and manipulate for the right price, Julep’s world is rocked the day she comes home to find her father missing and her apartment ransacked. Despite her father’s rather successful record of never having been discovered for the con that he is, Julep knows that his luck has finally turned and he is in danger. With the help of her best friend and loyal companion, Sam, as well as the attentions of the mysterious and gorgeous big-man on campus, Tyler, Julep is left to discover what happened to her father before it’s too late. But the fate of her father is just one layer in the complexity that is Julep’s unconventional life.
“I guess it’s true what the French say: fortune favors the innocent. Lucky for me, it also favors the moderately dishonest.”
I honestly don’t know what I was expecting with Trust Me, I’m Lying but I was simply blown away. This is just one of those books that manages to hit all the right spots without being too overwhelming or too cheesy. There is a wonderful balance of mystery and action but also romance and character development. With the negative connotation that comes with con artists and grifters Julep shatters the stereotype. She may be the master of deception but Julep is the real deal. It could be easy to discredit how smart and capable she is at being successful as a grifter, but the vulnerability of her age and circumstance really balance the duality of her character. Julep is a contradiction and one that I found very likable and easy to root for.
“As much as I wish I weren’t, I’m still all smoke and mirrors. You can love an illusion, but the illusion can’t love you back. Even if it wants to.”
The emotions this book pulled from me really caught me off guard but in the best way possible way. I cried three times! I am very excited for the follow-up to this book. While there is resolution and no cliffhanger this story is far from over. Between riddles, car chases, elaborate schemes and first love, Trust Me, I’m Lying is a story that is fast paced, witty and surprisingly poignant.