After witnessing a dangerous crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere under witness protection until she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer. Stella has been whisked away from everything she has ever known and expected to start a new life in Thunder Basin, Nebraska. But this isn’t a life she wants. No one can know who she really is. Not even Chet Falconer, her hot, enigmatic neighbour. As Stella starts to feel safer, it becomes harder for her to keep her guard up and the threat to her life increases. It turns out that her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…
First of all, I just want to say a massive thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for choosing me to be a part of the #FitzBlitzTour – a blog tour encapsulating dedicated blogger’s thoughts on Becca Fitzpatrick’s new book and showcasing their creative talents. I was beyond thrilled to be chosen – but this review isn’t all that I’ve done! I also made a video about Dangerous Lies and the lies that I’ve told (check that out here) and I did a photoshoot of the book and posted the photos on Twitter (which you can check out here). I’d really love you to take a look as these things as I’ve spent ages working on them to ensure they reflect the brilliance of Dangerous Lies. I hope you enjoy wandering around my other social media platforms!
Now I think it’s time to start discussing this book. Wow. Where do I even begin? Well, I should probably point out that this book is nothing like Becca’s other books. It’s completely different from everything we’ve seen from her and while comparisons can be drawn between this book and Black Ice, seeing as they could both be classified as thrillers, Dangerous Lies was starkly different. I enjoyed seeing where Becca would take me this time, and what a heck of a roller coaster ride was I taken on. Ever since I read the Hush, Hush saga I’d been praying that Becca would write more YA novels. Thankfully, my prayers have been answered, and I think that Becca will continue to write more amazing and enthralling books into the future. I’m watching you, Becca.
One thing I loved about this book was how it made me wonder how people who are actually in witness protection would survive. I’ve only ever read one other book about a young adult in witness protection (By Any Other Name), and I really enjoyed exploring that idea. Our protagonist, Stella Gordon, wasn’t always Stella Gordon. After witnessing a crime, Stella had to leave everything she had ever known behind her – her name, her past and her life – and move to Thunder Basin, Nebraska, for the summer. Stella must lay low until she can testify, hiding from the men associated with the one who committed that horrific crime. Right from the get-go, this book was enticing and captivating. I loved how this book began where it did. It made me ask questions and beg for some answers, only to be made to wait at the edge of my seat until the very end.
In the beginning, I didn’t particularly like Stella. I felt for her, yes, and I understood how hard it must have been to be in that situation. However, that didn’t excuse her behaviour. She refused to cooperate, argued with those trying to help her and made snarky remarks towards everyone. Honestly, she was quite a brat. But I began thinking, if I were in her situation, would I act any differently? I suppose not. While, in that way, this fact made Stella very relatable, it also made her transformation throughout the book even more stark. I loved watching her turn from a recalcitrant teenager to a brave and confident young woman.
Family was another big aspect of this book. When Stella is forced to move to Thunder Basin, she has to leave her mother in rehab to help her recover from her drug problem. It was heartbreaking to find out how uncared for Stella was because of her mother’s all-consuming addiction. Although she wanted her mother to be there for her and desperately wished they could be a happy mother/daughter duo, Stella wasn’t naive enough to believe that could happen after being let down by her mother too many times before. I absolutely loved seeing Stella stand up to her mother in the end. I know it takes immense bravery and strength to stand up to someone who plays a major role in your life, let alone a parent. I couldn’t have respected Stella more for what she did and the choices she made to allow herself to move on and to realise that someone who cared more about getting high than their own daughter is a toxic person to be around.
When Stella moved to Thunder Basin, Carmina became her parental figure. At first, she seemed like a strict lady who was stuck in her ways, barely able to comprehend how a teenager acts and lives. Stella didn’t like Carmina, therefore I didn’t either. However, as the novel progressed, we got to see the soft side to Carmina. Strict turned to protective and ‘stuck in her ways’ turned into dedicated. By the end of the novel, Carmina felt much more like a mother to Stella than her biological mother did, and I respected Carmina for how she stood up to the people of Thunder Basin and would do anything to keep Stella safe. I really enjoyed watching the relationship between Carmina and Stella change into something beautiful.
Okay, let’s talk about my favourite character – Chet (a.k.a. Patch 2.0). You should probably know that Patch was my first book boyfriend, therefore I’ll always have a little place in my heart for the young men that Becca creates. Did that sound creepy? Don’t pretend you haven’t had book boyfriends before. I can see right through you. Anyway, Chet… *fans face* was the best love interest we could ever hope for. There wasn’t insta-love between him and Stella (which I despise), and I’m happy that they had such a close friendship as well. But the thing I loved most about Chet is that I never quite knew where I stood with him. I didn’t know whether he was going to lead to Stella’s downfall or whether he was just an innocent guy trying his best to make do with what he had. I was second-guessing his actions for most of the novel and I loved not knowing whether I could trust him or not – kind of like Patch! But there romance was the sweetest romance I’d read in a while. While Stella first tries to ensure they remain friends, the chemistry between them is undoubtable and those fiery moments between them will leave you breathless.
But Chet isn’t the only love interest in the book. Stella left her boyfriend, Reed, back home when she got relocated to Thunder Basin. We get to know a bit about Reed as Stella reads the old letters he gave her. I felt like this was a great way to get to know a character who was hardly ‘physically’ present in the book and it was much more useful that using backstory alone. There were a few flashbacks, which always provided me with a little more clarity about the situation Stella was in, but I never knew the full extent of it until the very end. Waiting was torturous, but I couldn’t have been happier with the ending – or Dangerous Lies in general!
Another aspect of this book that I adored was how well-written it was. Well of course it’s going to be well-written, you say. Becca Fitzpatrick is a New York Times Bestseller or something, you say. I know, I know, let me explain. One part of this is how realistic Thunder Basin felt. I feel like I could go there today and know my way around. This town felt really well-researched so that everything felt authentic and not like some city slicker using long and elegant prose to describe tumble weeds. Additionally, the suspense and thriller aspect of this book was astoundingly good. I didn’t expect my heart to race like it did and to have to put the book down for a minute because I was getting too emotionally invested and was likely to have a panic attack when something unexpected happened. Not only did I fear for Stella, I also feared for myself. I’d be reading this book late at night, jumping at the slightest of sounds, thinking – Oh no, Danny’s hit men are after me! They know that I know something about the crime! … I have a wild imagination, okay?
Honestly, this book can’t be faulted. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I know I’ll be picking it up again soon. I highly recommend it, especially to those who love thrillers and contemporary YA. A strong protagonist, a swoon-worthy love interest and a suspenseful plot… what’s not to love? I’d give Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick a score of 10 out of 10. Have you read any other books by Becca Fitzpatrick? Have you managed to get your hands on a copy of Dangerous Lies yet? Do you like thrillers? Let’s chat! 🙂
Disclaimer: I debated on whether or not I could give this book 11 out of 10, but then I thought that I should probably stick to societal conventions, otherwise my rating system would go out the window. Why stop at 11? Why not 20 out of 10? Or 100 out of 10? Because this book deserves it.
I’m just going to ponder on the irrelevance of numbers now and dream of a unconstrained society where I can give a book 13.56 out of 10 if I like…
A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!