Author: Catherine Greer Publisher: Penguin
Love, Lie, Repeat is a gripping read from start to finish. It is an action-packed thriller, so if that’s your thing, then you will like this book. I wanted to like the book and I admit that it was easy to read, it hooked you from the beginning and when you realised what was really happening, you wanted to know more, but there were lots of things about this book that I just didn’t like.
Australian author Catherine Greer introduces us to three beautiful, rich teens whose lives seem perfect, of course they aren’t, and as you delve deeper into the novel, you realise that girls live quite toxic lives.
Annie and her two best friends, Ash and Ruby, have everything – on the surface. The girls are rich, attractive and talented. The girls are supportive of each other and it would appear that their bond is strong. The girls call themselves the Sirens (which really, really irritated me). The Sirens are there for each other – they have survived divorces, mothers, boys, step-mothers and mishaps. It would appear that the girls have an unwavering bond.
Suddenly there is a new arrival on the scene. Ash’s step-dad brings his son home to live with them in Australia. The appearance of Trip throws the girls and their friendship into chaos. Trip is beautiful, charismatic, smart and has a dangerous past that he can’t seem to escape from. Annie is immediately attracted to Trip and he has a profound effect on all the Sirens. Annie falls hard for Trip, but she finds it hard to trust him and this where most of the drama, twist and turns occur – in Annie’s lack of ability to truly trust those around her. Does Annie trust the Sirens? Is their friendship built on a solid foundation or just a foundation that Annie has been able to manipulate and control? As the plot unravels, more is discovered about Trip, Annie, Ash and Ruby.
Love, Lie, Repeat is a thrilling, psychological drama filled with lots of twists and turns. Of course, as the old saying goes, nothing is what it appears to be and this is true for the Sirens’ friendship. Underneath this seemingly unbreakable friendship, there lies jealousy, aggression, guilt and betrayal.
What I didn’t like
- I know that Catherine Greer wanted to show the many different layers of friendships that exist between girls and she successfully did this, but I found the whole premise of the book a little bit too dramatic. I found it all a little jarring. The relationship between the girls was unhealthy and the power play between them was toxic. I didn’t enjoy this aspect of the book. I know that manipulation, backstabbing and secrets are standard amongst girl friendship groups, but this book was all very over the top and I found all the drama too much at times.
- I found the constant body shaming unnecessary and I didn’t truly see the point of it – particularly when a lot of the body shaming came from the mothers. I don’t think it was needed in the book, or it could have been handled differently. I am not sure that Catherine Greer succeeded in wherever she was going with this plot line.
- I didn’t like any of the characters. Annie was troubled, vindictive, hateful and a victim and I really hate victims.
- Ruby’s character seemed pointless except for the fact that she was needed to show off Annie’s manipulation and need for control.
- Ash, I’m assuming is the girl that we were meant to empathise with the most, but she was a bit meh and I didn’t feel anything too much for her at all. I think I was meant to want to protect Ash, but I didn’t care what happened to her.
- The parents were all one dimensional and lacked believability.
What I liked…
- It is an intense novel.
- The friendship, in the beginning, is impressive and you are hooked into the idea of these three girls forming this unbreakable trio.
- The sinister, creepy feeling that Catherine Greer creates in the novel – right from the start.
- Catherine Greer succeeds in making the book disturbing and yet addictive reading.
- Greer maintains a reliable voice throughout the novel, the novel never wavers and it remains unsettling from start to finish.
- I loved Dashie, the dog and I was on tenterhooks the whole time expecting something awful to happen to Dashie.
The book was a look at a world that I wouldn’t want to be a part of and I genuinely hope that our wealthy and privileged do not live lives like this because if they did that would be truly troubling. If you are after a break from reality and you like a psychological thriller, then this is the novel for you.
One thought on “Love, Lie, Repeat – a psychological thriller.”
Hi Michelle! Thank you, truly, for taking the time to read my debut novel and write such a detailed review! I appreciate your point of view. It’s interesting…there are so many similarities between us (education, age, experience) and I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Love Lie Repeat.
I’m sorry you felt the book was about body shaming — in fact, I’ve had so many opportunities to speak about the book and talk to young women all over Sydney about those themes: the pressure to be perfect, why female friendships falter in high school and how they can become less competitive, and how to cope with family situations that are often less than ideal. It’s been a wonderful way to talk about beliefs and being strong. I’m so grateful for the opportunity. That’s exactly why I used them in the book, and introduced an anti-hero like Annie.
Creatively, I ran a great risk modelling the plot of book on the Atwood poem, “Siren Song,” where females know their own power and lure unsuspecting men overboard. I was trying to describe what it feels like to be 15 and impossibly beautiful, but in pain and living a lie. I think I achieved that.
Critically, the book has had two kinds of reception: the readers who “get it’ and understand the conflicted feelings of the Sirens and the terrible pressure young women feel to be perfect. Other readers are repelled by the themes and don’t love it. I respect both opinions.
Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts and review my novel. Best regards, Catherine (www.loveourage.com)