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YA Book Review: The Color of Lies

So I ventured out of my sweet spot of clean-contemporary-with-a dash-of-fantasy YA novels, to take on a thriller. Now fair warning, I don't read thrillers. This was an experiment for me to read outside of my usual bubble. And it was a fruitful venture indeed.

The Color of Lies: by C.J. Lyons

What is it about:

Ella Cleary has a unique condition called synesthesia, as does the rest of her surviving family. She can read the mood of others through the aura of colour that uniquely surrounds each person. On her 18th birthday she meets Alec, a boy from her past who doesn't appear to have an aura. Alec wants to find out the truth surrounding the fire that killed Ella's parents 15 years ago. When his motives of using her tragedy as the story to start his journalism career are revealed, their relationship becomes tumultuous- fast. With the help of her two best friends, they uncover past secrets and lies that will change their lives forever.

What did I think:

Quality of Writing: 4/5 : CJ Lyons is a master of description and intricate plot. She presents Ella's synesthesia through a mind-boggling collection of colour analogies and names. Her characterizations are unique and filled with believable strengths and flaws. At times, the descriptions and internal dialogue dragged during high action scenes, but this may be a personal preference.

Turn Paging Effect: 4/5: Careful planning and research went into the structure of this novel as Lyons did a masterful job of planting seeds and tying up loose ends along the way. I was expecting to have myself gripped for the entire story, given the "thriller" genre, but this was a more subtle mystery that required internal reflection on the part of the characters. It was amazing how the events occurred over two days, yet the relationships felt deeper than the time allowed. The climax, although somewhat predictable, was definitely high action and kept me reading until the end.

Attributes of Hope: 4/5: I loved how the themes were more subtle in this novel. There was definitely an element of hope that emerged in the end, and without giving it away the ending was satisfying, leaving the characters with greater purpose and more wholesome passions.

How did I hear about this book:

I follow C.J. Lyons and her publisher, BlinkYA, on Instagram and spotted posts about The Color of Lies and quickly added it to my goodreads list. During my family vacation this year, I took advantage of my libraries audio book app called Hoopla. If you are ever needing to travel light, I highly recommend checking this or another ebook/audiobook resource out. I was pleasantly surprised to see this novel available for free digital download. Woohoo! Don't get me wrong, I still love a good hardcover novel in my hands, but in a suitcase pinch, ebooks and audiobooks work well.

Personal Impact:

C.J. Lyons is not an author I have read before, despite her established publishing history. As a thriller author, I thought I'd give her a go. Writing with greater suspense and tension is something I want to build into my own writing, and the cover and back cover blurb screamed turn-pager...or ear burner as the case may be? Lyons definitely taught me a thing or two about laying groundwork for tension later in the book and about bringing it home in the climax.

Have you read any YA thriller novels? How do you see the author build suspense?


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