The Lying Game
The lying game
Author Sara Shepard
Publisher HarperTeen
Publication Date December 8, 2010
Number of Pages 307
Series Guide
True Lies
Never Have I Ever

The Lying Game is the first book in The Lying Game book series.


The story is about a girl named Emma Paxton, who has grown up in foster care almost her entire life. One day, her foster brother, Travis, discovers  a video of a girl who looks exactly like Emma. The only problem is, it isn't her. Intrigued, Emma finds her Facebook page and sends a message to this girl, whose name is Sutton Mercer. Sutton writes back saying that they need to meet. However, Sutton is actually dead.

When Emma arrives in Arizona, Sutton's friends greet her and automatically believe that Emma is Sutton, and take her to Nisha's party. Nisha is Sutton's archnemesis and is always pranked on by Sutton and her friends. Back at Sutton's home, Emma still goes on with the charade as being Sutton. The next morning, Sutton's younger sister, Laurel finds a note under her car wiper. She gives the letter to Emma without reading it. The letter says 'Sutton's dead. Tell no one. Keep playing along...or you're next'. Emma, immediately panicked, goes to the police station to report it, but she is not taken seriously because Sutton is notorious for her pranks and lies. When Emma goes to school, Garret, Sutton's boyfriend, believes that Emma is Sutton like everyone else. Despite Sutton having a boyfriend, Emma begins liking a boy named Ethan. Ethan lives next door and was in love with Sutton. Because of this, Ethan is the only one to notice that Emma is not Sutton.

Emma learns about a game Sutton and her friends play, "The Lying Game", an elaborate pranking game. Emma also learns that one day, Sutton's friends took it too far, and almost strangled Sutton to death. Ethan told Emma that he saved Sutton that night that she almost died, so Emma concludes that Sutton died after that incident and anyone could have killed her. Emma runs off with Ethan and she tells him everything and he promises to keep her secret and help her find Sutton's killer. Emma decides to stay and pretend to be Sutton so she can find out who killed her sister.