We Were Liars meets Heist Society in a riveting debut!
Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again. Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle. But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.
In Painchaud s sometimes farfetched but psychologically sophisticated debut, 17-year-old Violet has assumed the identity of Erica Silverman, a girl from an affluent family who was kidnapped 13 years ago. Violet is the foster daughter of a con man named Sal who spent 12 years training her in the art of impersonation and reading people s emotions in order to manipulate them. Violet has had multiple cosmetic surgeries to resemble Erica; Sal aims to have Violet gain Mrs. Silverman s trust and eventually steal a valuable painting. But several people might be on to Violet, including a psychologist, two students, and a private investigator (Violet isn t the first person to impersonate Erica). Furthermore, Violet s growing ambivalence over her deception and her desire to maintain honest friendships threaten to break her carefully constructed fa ade. Painchaud skillfully shifts between first-person (with Violet as Erica) and third-person (as Violet recalls her disturbing upbringing). Many readers will likely hope for Violet s fraud to go undetected even as they wish her to be freed from the life that circumstances have led her to steal. Ages 12 up.