Goodreads: Dangerous Lies
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.
Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.
After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.
But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.
As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…
Dangerous Lies is one of those books that tackles a question that just about everyone has considered in their daydreams–what would happen if I ever have to go into witness protection–and runs. It’s a book version of Our Lips Are Sealed for a new generation, complete with requisite romance but adding a stronger sense of danger–and resentment–than the Mary-Kate and Ashley film ever had.
The problem with Stella’s brand of witness protection is that she isn’t sent anywhere fun; she’s sent to the middle of nowhere. Hiding isn’t entertaining, and for the most part it isn’t even suspenseful except in her nightmares. It’s just boring. Stella embraces a lot of bitterness about being sent to spend her summer in Nebraska. She doesn’t even latch onto the idea that at least she did the right thing by agreeing to testify in court, because she’s not sure she has, which means for a while this story is about a whiny city kid who thinks it’s cool to hate on ranches and small-town living and that talking back to everyone makes her tough. (Still no word on why someone who readily admits she’s from a respected, wealthy, upper-class family thinks just having lived on the outskirts of Philly in a mansion makes her a rough city kid.)
Anyway, the story steadily evolves and Stella learns a lot about herself and who she wants to be–either as Estella or Stella. Her growing relationship with her “foster mom” and a cute neighbor boy make her question what it means to do the right thing and what it means to be successful in life. Stella’s personal growth is as much the draw here as the plot about the dangerous thugs looking to kill her.
Chet Falconer is also a worthy love interest. He seems like a typical wholesome farm boy, until Stella learns more about his shaded past. His past actions make him complex, which also makes him a good match for Stella. Readers will find it easy to like him and his determination to do right by everyone around him, no matter the personal cost. I do think the way sex plays out between Chet and Stella is odd–they seem on somewhat different pages about the importance of sex and a bit leery of talking about it to each other as if afraid they’ll discover they disagree–but this part of the relationship doesn’t take a lot of precedence in the book.
The romance in general can take center stage because most of the danger Stella faces is indirect: she has flashbacks and worries and nightmares, and she ponders the benefits of breaking the rules that keep her safe. She wants to reconnect with her Philly boyfriend. She wants to tell her new friends the truth. She wants to keep new enemies from finding out the truth. The fact that the sense of danger is simply lying in the background for much of the novel helps to keep the suspense alive.
However, the ending of the novel is a little bit neat. There are certainly loose ends, but they tend to be loose ends that readers and Stella have decided they don’t care much about. Stella herself gets a lot of her life back in a neat little bow, and I’m not sure how realistic this actually is. Nonetheless, it is satisfying from a literary perspective, and I’m not sure I would have wanted the novel to end any other way.