Perfect Lies: Mind Games, Book 2

Book review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Perfect Lies: Mind Games, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Easy-to-read Mind Games sequel is OK for young teens.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Perfect Lies is meant as entertainment and not intended for learning.

Positive Messages

Orphaned sisters will do anything to secure each other's safety and happiness. They are both self-sacrificing in different ways. At the same time, they both make morally questionable decisions and are even willing to act violently for the other.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Annie and Fia are certainly brave and committed to each other, but they're also confused or they let their emotions dictate their ability to cope with certain situations. Fia never questions when it comes to saving Annie; if it means shooting someone, she will. In this installment, Annie rises to the occasion and is able to act courageously despite her lack of training.


Fia, a secret organization's assassin, knows how to use various weapons and styles of self-defense to injure or fatally wound, and she has the perfect instincts to win just about any fight. She kills someone easily when Annie is threatened. As for Annie, she isn't a fighter but she manages to learn how to train and to kill someone when it means saving people she loves.


A few passionate kisses. Two characters flirt and hold hands and share first a chaste kiss and eventually a "we might never see each other again" full-on snog. Annie, who's blind and can see the future, obsesses about a vision she has of herself in love with someone she can only recognize by holding his hand. When Annie sees visions of people, she thinks about whether they are as attractive/beautiful/sexy as their voices and personality make them seem. A woman who can read people's emotions tells Annie that she and her love interest obviously want each other.


The characters swear, but the words aren't revealed; instead the author just says so-and-so "swore" or "cursed." Milder language such as "holy crap," "hell," "damn," "sucks," "idiot," "stupid," and "slutty" is included, however.


The drug Adderall, a Bentley.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Prescription drugs help enhance characters' paranormal abilities.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Perfect Lies is the second installment in best-selling YA author Kiersten White's Mind Games series. A psychological thriller following teen sisters with paranormal abilities (one has perfect fighting instincts, the other is blind but can see the future), this installment features slightly less violence than the original, but there are still deaths via shooting. The romance includes mentions of love, attraction, and a few passionate kisses. The language is pretty mild: Characters are said to "swear," but it's rarely revealed what they actually say. Although the twin protagonists can act naive, confused, and morally questionable, they are also brave and utterly devoted to each other.

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What's the story?

PERFECT LIES picks up right where Mind Games leaves off, after trained teen assassin Fia pretends to kill her older sister, blind "Seer" Annie. Free of the Keane Foundation's leverage to force Fia to do their bidding, Fia joins Keane's son (and her love interest) James to covertly dismantle the secret organization. Meanwhile, a very-much-alive Annie is protected by researcher Adam, attractive Keane Foundation nemesis Rafael, and the grouchy and brooding bodyguard Cole, who slowly but obviously starts to bring Annie out of her shell. Rafael's camp wants to save other girls with paranormal abilities before the Keane Foundation can use them. When Annie keeps having visions of something terrible happening to Fia, the sisters must once again decide how best to help each other as well as other girls like them.

Is it any good?

There's not much meat to these books. They're fine for an easy (and, at 232 pages, short) young adult novel, but don't expect anything substantial, either in plot or character development. The most interesting part of this two-protagonist story is Annie's arc from scared and sheltered blind Seer to a young woman more in touch with reality, ready to train and fight and to, for once, rescue her tough but tragically troubled sister, Fia. Another improvement is the narrative's structure as the buildup to a particular event (every chapter is a time line before or after a climactic encounter in Annie's visions). It worked far better than the confusing intermittent flashbacks employed in the first book.

The Fia chapters are considerably less appealing than the Annie ones, except for the introduction of a new Feeler (thought reader) named Mae, who challenges Fia's instincts: Can she be trusted, or is she a good actress/manipulator? As for the romance, it's definitively more believable (if predictable) in Perfect Lies, because it concentrates on Annie having a vision she's deeply in love with someone whose face she can't see but whose hand she holds with tenderness and desire. Readers will figure out immediately who the mystery future love is, but it doesn't make that particular romance any less sweet. Although not up to White's best work (that remains Paranormalcy), this sequel improves slightly on the original and is an effortlessly quick read.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Perfect Lies. How does it compare with that in Book 1? Do you think it's more common these days for a female teen character to perpetuate violence?

  • What do you think of the author's device of making characters swear by saying "she swore" instead of detailing the actual words? Do you think it makes the book more accessible to younger YA readers, or does it come off as less authentic?

  • White is known to downplay sex and strong language. The romances in her books rarely go beyond making out, but characters don't shy away from acknowledging their desires. How does this approach compare with the trend for steamier YA books?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction and parnoraml romance

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