Friday, April 17, 2015

Author Spotlight: Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM



Mary Elizabeth Summer contributes to the delinquency of minors by writing books about unruly teenagers with criminal tendencies. She has a BA in creative writing from Wells College, and her philosophy on life is “you can never go wrong with sriracha sauce.” She lives in Portland Oregon with her wife, their daughter, a scaredy-cat lab/pitbull, and their evil overlor—er, cat. TRUST ME, I’M LYING is her first novel.


Title: Trust Me, I'm Lying
Author: Mary Elizabeth Summer
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication: October 14th 2014
Cover Rating: 4/5







I have never read a book like Trust Me, I'm Lying before. I own a few Mafia/Mob/Crime Infested type YA books but none of them sound really intriguing. This book sounded both intriguing and different so I was excited to read it.

Julep, if that is her real name, goes through so much in just one book that I am shocked she hasn't been committed to some shock treatment insane asylum. She is so strong but she is also bull-headed. She wants help but at the same time she knows that might mean jail, expulsion or death for the people that want to help her. 

Sam is a great side-kick. But that is all Julep sees him as and it's very obvious that the reason he puts so much on the line for her is because he wants to be more than a side-kick. I can't say that I wanted Julep to end up with Sam but I can say Sam was a great guy and he deserved a great girl.

Oh lord, Tyler. At first I didn't trust him. He is Mr. Popular and every girl wants a piece of him. So why would he want to help anyone? But he turned out to be pretty genuine and I fell for him. In the end, I wonder how Tyler's father feels about everything that happened. I know it ripped my heart out. But it must be killing him knowing he is the reason for how his son ended up. I truly wanted Julep to end up with Tyler.

Julep's dad is the biggest part of the book. He might not be an actually speaking character for most of the book but if it wasn't for him Julep and her friends wouldn't have been in the situations they found themselves in. I can't say whether I like him or not because I didn't get to know him that well. But after hearing everything he's put Julep through and the life he has lived because of being a grifter kind of made me angry. Being a grifter is a job for a single person. Not someone with kids. And he brought her into his world. Some part of him HAS to feel guilty for everything he has done.

I loved the preppy private school setting of the book. It truly added to the story. And the fact that Julep was in this school also helped her out a lot. Sam, Tyler, Heather and Murphy all helped her out A LOT but she wouldn't even know them if it wasn't for St Aggie's. Most of what Julep did also wouldn't have been possible without the fact that everyone she knew was part of a super wealthy family with connections. They say money can't buy happiness but in the case of this book... I say it can. 

I was left with so many questions that I am praying the second book answers. Like what the HELL did Julep's mother have to do with this entire situation and the "blue fairy" situation. I know her mother has to play a big part somewhere. The book didn't end on a cliffhanger PER SE but the entire book built me up to tons of questions that need answers NOW. I was definitely in tears by the end of the book. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.


1) Where did you get the idea for Trust Me, I'm Lying?

I got the idea one night while watching back to back episodes of White Collar and Leverage. I said to my wife, "Man, I wish I could read a book about a teenage con artist, but I don't think one exists." I went to bed that night thinking nothing more of it, until I woke up the next morning with Julep's voice in my head. She literally would not shut up until I wrote her story. I was resistant at first, because at the time, I didn't consider myself a mystery writer. But I just kept asking her questions, and her answers back kept intriguing me, so I ended up writing it all down. ;-) (By the way, there are several books with teenage con artist protagonists--I just didn't know about them until after I wrote Trust Me, I'm Lying.)

2)What kind of research did you have to do for the book?

I did all kinds of research--the different kinds of cons, how to make convincing fake IDs, stuff about The Adventures of Pinocchio, stuff about Chicago, stuff about Ukrainian orphans, cars (the cars in this book are almost characters unto themselves), Catholic high schools, racetracks (I even went to our local racetrack to get ideas), how to blow stuff up, sound engineering, hacking, PI stuff, FBI stuff--basically, anything and everything that could land me squarely on the government watch list.

3) Is St. Agatha's a real school?

It is not a real school, but it is loosely based on St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. The campus in my mind is very similar to that one. The Brockman Room in the book is based on The Brunswick Room at St. Ignatius. 

4) Have you ever been to Chicago?

Nope. I keep meaning to go, but things keep coming up. I will say, however, that Google Maps Street View is a beautiful thing.

5) Are any of your characters based off of a real person?

Nope. Although some of my college friends suspect otherwise. But as far as I know, I never based any of the characters off anyone real.

6) What is your favorite genre to read?

Science fiction. Hands down. But I loved mystery when I was younger--especially Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, and Richie Tankersley Cusick (and the occasional Nancy Drew).

7) How many books are going to be in the series?

Um, I'm not sure about that. It partially depends on how many books my publisher wants, but it also depends on how much story needs to be told. I'm a pantser by nature, so I don't have everything all nailed down as far as the series storyline goes. But there's at least two books and a novella so far. There could potentially be more...

8) If Julep had the choice of what kind of family and life she could have what do you think she would pick?

This is tough, because I'm not even sure Julep knows herself. She thinks she does, but I don't think she's right. I think the white-picket-fence life would make her blood itch. But she's a bit tired of being the fixer for everybody, and the prospect of a normal life seems like a vacation by comparison, so she thinks that's what she wants. Still, at the end of the day, she's a fixer. It's who she is. And until everybody's problems are solved, she'll keep trying to fix them. :-)

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