Review: Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering


TELL ME LIES by Carola Lovering

On sale: June 12, 2018

Atria Books | ISBN: 9781501169649 | $26.00

eBook: Atria | ISBN: 9781501169663 | $13.99



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.

Lucy knows there’s something about Stephen that isn’t to be trusted. Stephen knows Lucy can’t tear herself away. And their addicting entanglement will have consequences they never could have imagined.

Alternating between Lucy’s and Stephen’s voices, TELL ME LIES follows their connection through college and post-college life in New York City. 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.



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I never read reviews before picking up books I’m excited about. I like to go in without any knowledge about the story except what I get from reading the synopsis and sometimes not even that. With this book I couldn’t resist reading a review before I started it, a not very favorable review I might add, and… I got a little scared. I was so scared of reading this book and hating it that I thought about not reading it at all. But I did, I went into it thinking I was going to hate the characters and I would finish reading it no matter what. And it worked. Or Carola Lovering is an amazing writer who can make me enjoy reading a story that contains pretty much everything I hate like lies, drinking, drugs, secrets and characters who can’t make up their mind.

When I read I usually put myself in the character’s shoes. I become the characters for however long it takes me to finish reading their story and that’s why a lot of times I end up getting frustrated when things don’t go the way I wish or expected, because I AM the characters and I want a happy and unproblematic story. This time I didn’t put myself in the character’s shoes. I was an spectator. I read Lucy and Stephen’s story as if they were friends of mine telling me their story and I only listened without judging them or the decisions they took. I read all the ups and downs in their relationship from both of their perspectives without getting frustrated… okay, I got a little frustrated but Rome wasn’t built in a day. It wasn’t pretty or fun, it was ugly, messed up and definitely toxic but it was an enlightening journey. It had me biting my nails and my stomach twisting from the anxiety of imagining how everything was going to end and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I don’t think this book is meant for everyone. If you hate reading about characters that are bad for each other but keep coming back to each other’s arms time and time again despite how obviously bad they are for each other, then maybe you should stay away from this one. Although, look at me now, I didn’t think I would end up enjoying it one bit and here I am, giving it four out of five stars.


Massive thanks to Atria Books/Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


4 / 5 flowers


Carola Lovering attended Colorado College, and her work has appeared in W Magazine, National Geographic, Outside, and Yoga Journal, among other publications. Tell Me Lies is her first novel. She currently lives in Brooklyn. 

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