The Lying Game is a suspenseful novel by Ruth Ware, author of mystery favorites like The Woman in Cabin 10. It tells the story of four friends bound together by a shared secret from their past. After spending years apart, the friends are reunited when their secret is at risk of coming to light.
The purpose of our Book Club Guides is to recommend books for your book club and provide guidance for discussion. This book guide focuses on Ware’s 2017 novel The Lying Game.
Book Review: Plot, Pros and Cons
Ware’s new novel is narrated by Isa, a new mother living with her partner, Owen, in London. One morning, she receives an ominous text from her friend from school, Kate, reading simply, “I need you.” Isa, along with old pals Fatima and Thea, rush to Salten, where the attended boarding school, to come to Kate’s aid.
The friends find Kate living in the same dilapidated house out on the foreboding reach. Their initially joyful reunion is quickly darkened by the question hanging over their heads, why has Kate called them there? The book takes us back to the girls’ boarding school days, explaining who they are and how they got here. The story slowly unravels, revealing new layers of their relationships and their shared secret.
The novel leads you to question the characters, their relationships, and what they are capable of. You’re often not quite sure who to believe, who is doing the right thing, and what the characters’ motivations are. Some points of the ever-developing book lead you to wonder where the story is going. However, all those twists and turns bring you to a captivating finish.
If the synopsis of The Lying Game makes you think, “well, that sounds like plenty of other modern mystery novels,” you may not be alone in that sentiment. The concept of old friends connected by a terrible secret, and whether or not that secret will come back to haunt them, is nothing new to mystery fiction.
However, there’s something to be said for taking on a common topic. In this book, Ware takes on this theme well and creates an overall entertaining read, which of course works well for book clubs. Between the plot, the characters, and their relationships to each other, you will have plenty to discuss are your book club.
Here are some discussion topics and questions, kept somewhat vague to avoid giving away too much of the plot to those who haven’t read it yet.
- What did you think the girls’ secret would be? Were you surprised when you found out the secret?
- The girls suffer quite a lot at the expense of keeping their secret. Do you sympathize with them? Did they do the right thing at the time? What about in the end? If not, what should they have done differently?
- The book presents us with four quite different main characters in Isa, Fatima, Thea, and Kate. With which of the four friends do you most identify?
- What do you think of the girls’ “lying game” they used to play? Did you have any running games you’ve played with friends?
- Isa’s relationships get a bit complicated. Discuss.
- Were you shocked by the ending? Why or why not?
- If you’re a fan of similar mystery novels, how does this compare to others in the genre? How is it different?
Overall, Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game is a suitable choice for a book club book, particularly if your book club likes mystery novels. It has somewhat dubious characters, a suspenseful storyline, and an intriguing finish. No matter your opinion of the story, it will definitely keep you talking!
Have you read The Lying Game? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!
Happy reading! Cheers!
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