Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.
Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.
And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.
Trigger Warnings for – Murder, Kidnapping, Sexual Content, Abuse, Trauma, Attempted Suicide.
Friends i had an expectation of this book going in, but boy did i get something else. Riley blew my expectations out of the water. This book was amazing, the writing, descriptiveness and overall atmosphere was just so good.
Your MC is Emma, a 28 year old painter that is dealing with mental illness and trauma, possibly also PTSD. 15 years ago she was at camp nightingale for the summer. She was placed in the dogwood cabin with Viv, Natalie and Allison. One night her and Viv get into a fight and the next morning Viv, Natalie and Allison are no where to be found.
Now the camp as reopened and Frannie, the camps owner has invited Emma back to try and help Emma heal. Emma arrives and things start off good but slowly Emma thinks she is loosing her mind. She saw someone watching her through the peep hole in the shower, standing in front her cabin window, and then someone painted liar in bold red paint on the cabin door. Slowly Emma is trying to find out what happened to the three girls, but also while risking herself too.
Now i thought i knew where this was going about halfway through. I thought so and so did this or so and so did that, but there were so many twists and turns throughout the second half that you found yourself going “what the hell just happened” Riley has you looking one way while simultaneously dropping hints throughout the book at what actually happened.
Emma as overall character seemed weak and extremely naive in the beginning of the book. As the story went along though she quickly has major character development and turned in to such a strong main character, defending not only herself but others too. One thing i admired about her most was that she shared her emotions, even when she was dead wrong. She didn’t hide them or feel shamed for feeling things, I admired that.
The three girls that went missing you get a bit of back story on throughout the entire book, even up to the end. Viv is basically the the queen B. Viv rules the group and will be an outright bitch to anyone to get what she wants. Natalie and Allison you really didn’t get much back story on since they were only mentioned when Viv was around. I wish Riley would have included a bit more about them to know them and what happened before they were Vic’s friends.
Frannie, Theo and Chet are the owners of the Camp. Theo was a senior counselor when Emma was there 15 years ago. So I’m guessing Emma being 13 at the time Theo was possibly 18? I really wish there would have said his age. Throughout the story they are a mysterious bunch and you really want to dig deeper into their past. Frannie has so much family past that isn’t necessarily a secret, but its not out right told either. Theo is a complex character as he grows throughout the book as you get to know more of his story. Chet you don’t really see much of until the end and I don’t wanna give spoilers.
Overall I loved this book and all of Riley’s work. If you do read this and enjoy it, I highly recommend picking up Final Girls by Riley as well. Final Girls is a huge murder mystery surrounding a camp and a girl years ago as she was the only sole survivor. I can easily say though reading it first and now Last time I Lied Riley has greatly improved as an author and i cant wait to see what comes next.