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YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR WORST.
“A twisted modern love story” (Parade), Tell Me Lies is a sexy, thrilling novel about that one person who still haunts you—the other one. The wrong one. The one you couldn’t let go of. The one you’ll never forget.
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. 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. “Readers will be enraptured” (Booklist) by the “unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story” (Kirkus Review). With the psychological insight and biting wit of Luckiest Girl Alive, and the yearning ambitions and desires of Sweetbitter, this keenly intelligent and supremely resonant novel chronicles the exhilaration and dilemmas of young adulthood and the difficulty of letting go—even when you know you should.
Lovering's winning debut chronicles the on-again, off-again relationship between beautiful Lucy Albright and the charismatic sociopath Stephen DeMarco. As a freshman at California's Baird College in 2017, Lucy is depressed and still disturbed by the memory of glimpsing her mother having sex with a younger guy when she was 14. She keeps her knowledge of the incident a secret until she has a heart-to-heart with Stephen, a junior whose mother is bipolar. Lucy misinterprets Stephen's reaction, thinking he cares for her, when, in reality, Stephen is a calculating, unempathetic person who has a history of cheating on his girlfriends. He views Lucy as his latest conquest. While alternating Stephen and Lucy's points of view, Lovering does an excellent job of showing how Lucy's depression drives her codependency. Stephen's sections allow for a look at his remorseless Machiavellian sensibilities: unable to genuinely feel affection, he studies people in order to learn how to act normal and get what he wants. The story falters slightly when one too many coincidences pile up, but that doesn't detract from this potent novel or its strong characters. Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the author's name.