THE LAST TIME I LIED is a compelling psychological thriller, teeming with secrets, lies, and shocking truths that will hold you captive. It paints a…


THE LAST TIME I LIED is a compelling psychological thriller, teeming with secrets, lies, and shocking truths that will hold you captive. It paints a vivid portrait of a teenage girl’s life that is both intriguing and unsettling.


Imagine a sleepaway camp where four girls share a cabin, until the day three girls from influential and powerful families disappear, never to be found again. The story is left to be told by a 13-year-old girl from a less notable family, whose accounts are shrouded in lies.

Vivian once said, “Lying is how you win the game.” This book layers secrets, lies, suspense, and mystery so deeply that as I read, I realised the importance of every word, line, and character. Each element is significant.

Fifteen years ago, summer camper Emma Davis watched sleepily as her three cabin mates snuck out of their cabin in the dead of night. The last she--and anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the NYC art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings.. They catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of the very same Camp Nightingale--and when Francesca implores Emma to return to the camp as a painting counselor, Emma sees an opportunity to find closure and move on.

Yet, it is immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by surfacing memories, Emma is suddenly plagued by a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca, and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian apparently left behind about the camp's twisted origins. And as history begins to repeat itself and three girls go missing again, Emma must face threats from both man and nature in order to uncover all the buried secrets--including what really happened all those years ago.

Alternating between the past and present, the story is explored through the eyes of our protagonist, Emma. Normally, I am not a fan of narratives from a single character’s point of view, but this book has made an exception for me.

Initially, we only know how Emma defines the disappearance of the three girls, and I felt compelled to judge her for withholding the truth and the lies she told. However, as I journeyed alongside her, my judgment waned because Sager masterfully revealed just how damaged Emma was. She returns to the camp as an art instructor to confront her demons and the mysteries of her past. Despite everyone thinking she is foolish to return to the place of her trauma, Emma channels her guilt and trauma into her art, which helps me understand her need to face her past.

PS: Never trust that any character is telling the truth; their mind games and manipulations are pervasive.


The story revolves around interpersonal drama, lies, betrayals, and a suspenseful urban legend that significantly impacts the missing girls’ case. Riley Sager delivers an extremely detailed, twisty, atmospheric, and well-written story.

I love his writing style and how he sets the mood—perfect for a creepy and thrilling reading experience. Throughout most of this novel, I was enveloped by an uneasy and apprehensive feeling, which is exactly what I seek in my thrillers. This one certainly delivers. Another enjoyable aspect of the novel is the game of “two truths and one lie” that the girls play at Camp Nightingale. I was so captivated by the story that I finished the book in under six hours!

This is, by far, the best psychological thriller I’ve read this year, with a serious, shocking, and unexpected ending.

Let Chat

  • What did you think of Emma? Did you understand why she did what she did, or were some of her choices hard to agree with?
  • Did you like how the story flipped between the past and now? Does that make it more exciting, or do you prefer stories that stick to one timeline?

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