Mega-bestselling author Luanne Rice returns with a ripped-from-the-headlines story of a girl who is kidnapped by her friend’s family.
Emily Lonergan’s best friend died last year.
And Emily hasn’t stopped grieving. Lizzie Porter was lively, loud, and fun — Emily’s better half. Emily can’t accept that she’s gone.
When Lizzie’s parents and her sister come back to town to visit, Emily’s heartened to see them. The Porters understand her pain. They miss Lizzie desperately, too.
Desperately enough to do something crazy.
Suddenly, Emily’s life is hurtling toward a very dark place — and she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to return to what she once knew was real.
From New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice comes a breathless, unputdownable story of suspense, secrets — and the strength that love gives us to survive even the most shocking of circumstances.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Violence, Child abuse, Discussion of alcoholism and opioid addiction
Booklist (January 1, 2019 (Vol. 115, No. 9))
Grades 8-12. After she loses her best friend, Lizzie, to cancer, Emily’s life takes a series of unimaginable turns—all at the hands of trusted adults. A deranged, suspenseful fate awaits her when she accepts a ride from Lizzie’s grieving parents, who kidnap her and try to turn her into the daughter they lost by dyeing Emily’s hair, forcing her to wear colored contacts, and imprisoning her in a room. Emily lives there in fear for 69 days, enduring the worst kind of emotional trauma and plotting her escape once her kidnappers enroll her in school. Rice has created a masterful narrative full of intrigue and heart-pounding moments that will draw in readers and allow them to experience what could happen when depression drives someone to do the unthinkable. Using flashbacks, rich descriptions, and realistic story elements, Rice weaves together a tense tale of mystery and surreal experiences. Reading like a Emma Donoghue’s Room (2010) with a YA twist, Rice’s latest doesn’t disappoint.
Kirkus Reviews (December 1, 2018)
Nearly a year after the death of her best friend, Lizzie, 15-year-old Emily is abducted by Lizzie’s parents to fill the void in their lives. Emily wakes up in Maine, far from her Connecticut home, to find her hair dyed black and her eyes changed to green by contacts, making her look just like Lizzie. Lizzie’s mother tells her that as long as she cooperates, no harm will come to her or her family. Good behavior earns her a television and meals upstairs. Bad behavior means starvation and isolation. Emily begins to play along, determined to keep her family safe while at the same time finding a way to escape. But with Lizzie’s mother, father, and sister always watching, she fears she will be trapped in this nightmare forever. Then she meets Casey, a musically gifted boy who is legally blind. Together they come up with a plan to help Emily escape her prison. In this psychological thriller that studies the depths of grief, Emily’s empathy for her kidnappers keeps the sensationalism to a minimum by personalizing the betrayal. A preponderance of backstory slows the narrative and deflates the tension. Ultimately this is a story about love and loss threaded through with moments of a tense thriller. All main characters are Irish-American Catholics. An intriguing concept overtaken by thin characters and poor pacing. (Thriller. 12-15)
About the Author
Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-two novels including THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF SISTERS, her first YA novel. Five of her books have been made into movies and mini-series, many have been New York Times bestsellers and two of her pieces have been featured in off-Broadway theatre productions. She divides her time between New York City and the Connecticut shoreline.
Her website is www.luannerice.net
Around the Web
Pretend She’s Here on Amazon
Pretend She’s Here on Barnes and Noble
Pretend She’s Here on Goodreads
Pretend She’s Here on LibraryThing
Pretend She’s Here Publisher Page