Two Truths and a Lie
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in April Henry's Two Truths and a Lie, a blizzard strands two groups of teens at a creepy hotel where a killer is on the loose. Soon after Nell and her high school acting troupe take refuge at the Travel Inn & Out, they're joined by a robotics team from another high school. That night, a person on the robotics team suggests they play Two Truths and a Lie. When it's Nell's turn, she draws a slip of paper that reads, "I like to watch people die ... I've lost count of how many people I've killed." In the morning, someone is found hanged, and then another disappears from her blood-soaked room. Cut off from the outside world, Nell and her friends have to find a way to save themselves from an unknown killer. Violence is at the heart of this story, and there's lots of blood and gore. In a long ago murder at the hotel, a couple had their throats slashed and their bed was soaked with blood "like a sponge." A room has blood smeared on the sheets and running down on the wall. There's a bit of flirting and cuddling, and a girl kissing a boy was "on him like a lamprey eel." Terrified teens pass around a bottle of raspberry-flavored vodka to settle their nerves. There are a couple of uses of "damn" and "crap."
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What's the Story?
TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE is told in the voice of Nell, a member of her high school acting troupe. The troupe's five teen actors and their teacher are on the way to a regional drama competition when they're unexpectedly caught in a blizzard and take shelter at the Travel Inn & Out. A creepy down-at-the-heels hotel, it was the site of a brutal unsolved murder in 1996. It's not long before another group of teens arrives, a robotics team from another high school. Later that night, Knox, one of the teens on the robotics team, suggests that the two groups play Two Truths and a Lie. It starts with truths and lies about French kissing, about someone being able to fit 21 marshmallows in their mouth at once. But when it's Nell's turn, she draws a slip of paper with a terrifying message: "I like to watch people die ... I've lost count of how many people I've killed." Unable to think about sleeping with the prospect of a killer loose in the hotel, one of the girls finds a Ouija board, and the group starts to play. They ask the board if they need to be worried. "Yes." Is someone going to die? "Yes." Then the lights go out. The next morning, a girl is found hanging with a noose around her neck and a note pinned to her shirt. "This is the first." Then someone goes missing from her room, and there's a message: "This is the second." With the power out and no way to reach the police, Nell makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
Is It Any Good?
This thriller ticks the boxes for scary, creepy, and unexpected twists and, despite all the blood and gore, should please even those who cover their eyes in scary movies. One area in which Two Truths and a Lie falters is giving readers a real window into the lives of the teen characters. Nell, Jermaine, and Dev are well drawn, but the two characters about whom readers learn the most are adults: Stuart the hotel owner and Travis the handyman.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the game played in Two Truths and a Lie. Would you play a game that asked you to reveal something personal about yourself?
What's more frightening, reading about a murder in a book or watching it in a movie?
Do you believe in ghosts or the supernatural?
- Author: April Henry
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books
- Publication date: May 24, 2022
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 273
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 13, 2022
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