About the Book:
A thrilling, sexy coming-of-age story exploring toxic love, ruthless ambition, and shocking betrayal, Tell Me Lies is about that one person who still haunts you—the other one. The wrong one. The one you couldn’t let go of. The one you’ll never forget.
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.
Alternating between Lucy’s and Stephen’s voices, Tell Me Lies follows their connection through college and post-college life in New York City. Deep down, Lucy knows she has to acknowledge the truth about Stephen. But before she can free herself from this addicting entanglement, she must confront and heal her relationship with her mother—or risk losing herself in a delusion about what it truly means to love.
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 the completely addictive story of a very poisonous relationship. I can look back with the wisdom of age and see how toxic Stephen and Lucy’s relationship was, but yet also understand why Lucy made the choices she did.
The tale spans several years of the relationship between the charismatic yet sociopathic Stephen DeMarco and the beautiful but insecure Lucy Albright. They meet in college in California but coincidentally are both from the same area of Long Island. This actually plays a crucial role in the conclusion of the book. While definitely not a romance, there are plenty of very graphic sex scenes. Told in alternating points of view, the author did an outstanding job of making me feel anxious yet completely invested in the story. I could not put this book down!
Lucy knows that Stephen is a serial cheater (and quite possibly, worse) but she has such low self-esteem that she falls for all of his attention and flattery. (I mean, just look at the amazing cover of this book!) I actually felt sympathetic towards both of the main characters (I know, shocking!). I felt that the author really presented a clear picture of the mind of a sociopath, someone incapable of feeling any empathy or remorse whatsoever.
“I know about guilt, and it doesn’t apply to me — I don’t carry the burden of it. It actually works to my advantage, most of the time.”
I have known Stephens in my life, which might be why this was such an addictive read for me. Lucy passed up many opportunities just for a fleeting chance she might be with Stephen, and over and over again, he disappointed her. She began a very promising college life, only to settle for average just so she could be closer to Stephen. I loved the exploration of Lucy’s very complicated relationship with her mother, which thankfully, resolved itself in the end. Overall, this was a very sexy, dark and complex tale with two very difficult characters.
“I was delirious and idiotic and naive and irresponsible and self-destructive, and I knew all of that. But none of it weighed anything against what I actually felt. Do you follow your head or your heart? Which do you do? Your heart, always. Right?”
‘Tell Me Lies’ came out in 2018 and it has been on my TBR list since that time. I am so glad I got around to reading this one! I was totally engrossed in this very realistic story of obsession and first love. Highly recommend!
(Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)