cover image Beautiful Lies

Beautiful Lies

Jessica Warman. Walker, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-8027-2338-3

Warman (Between) crafts an entertaining, if sometimes meandering mystery with a swipe of Dumas's The Corsican Brothers. Eighteen-year-olds Alice and Rachel are "monochorionic monoamniotic" twins: they shared an amniotic sac and placenta. Not only are they identical, but they are also so close that they can feel one another's pain and emotions. They have posed as each other plenty of times, with studious Rachel often helping volatile Alice with her class work or taking a reprimand for her following one of Alice's wild nights. When Rachel goes missing while they have swapped identities, Alice has to keep up the pretense, even as she suffers the physical pains being inflicted upon her sister. Warman's unsettling narrative moves at a slow, deliberate pace with extensive focus on extraneous details; as Alice's world disintegrates into confusion and crisis, readers will question her reliability. Attention to secondary characters (notably the girls' aunt, and their friend Kimber) adds realistic dimension, and despite superfluous supernatural elements and a story line that leaves much unexplained, the novel's tension and pervasive sense of dread should captivate readers. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger. (Aug.)