REVIEW | Lies Like Poison | Chelsea Pitcher

The wickedest monsters know better than to leave footprints.

I really liked This Lie Will Kill You (and reviewed it last year) and I have a complete soft spot for YA thriller types, especially when there’s a murder mystery involved. So I was keen to read this one. I didn’t even realise it was so queer until I started it, which was an excellent surprise.

Rating: 4 stars!

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the eARC of this book, it has not affected my honest review.

Trigger Warnings: murder, child abuse, neglect, psychological torture, disordered eating, diet control, inpatient treatment, substance abuse, mentions of self harm and suicidal ideation, grief.

About the book:

Poppy, Lily, and Belladonna would do anything to protect their best friend, Raven. So when they discovered he was suffering abuse at the hands of his stepmother, they came up with a lethal plan: petals of poppy, belladonna, and lily in her evening tea so she’d never be able to hurt Raven again. But someone got cold feet, the plot faded to a secret of the past, and the group fell apart.

Three years later, on the eve of Raven’s seventeenth birthday, his stepmother turns up dead. But it’s only belladonna found in her tea, and it’s only Belladonna who’s carted off to jail. Desperate for help, Belle reaches out to her estranged friends to prove her innocence. They answer the call, but no one is prepared for what comes next.

Now, everyone has something to lose and something equally dangerous to hide. And when the tangled web of secrets and betrayal is finally unwound, what lies at its heart will change the group forever. 

What did I think?

The beginning of this book wasn’t the best, I found it to be a bit confusing in some places and it had a confusing habit of leaping around from narrative to narrative. But then I honestly feel like I blinked and I was 60% of the way through the book and desperately needed to know what was going on. I saw a lot of the ‘twists’ coming when it came to the characters’ sexualities and gender identities. They were well queer-coded, though it was a bit subtle. I wouldn’t normally complain about that, because I love when sexuality is used super casually, but the reveal that one of the characters is trans was very sudden and felt a bit like it was being used as a plot twist. And I hate that. A POV character’s identity isn’t a plot twist and never should be a surprise to the reader! That being said, I’m glad this book was so fiercely queer and that the characters’ sexualities and gender identities were accepted easily by the found family group.

And the found family content was excellent. I loved the conflict going on between them. At points I genuinely didn’t know which of our main cast of characters I could trust, who had committed what crimes and who was hiding what secrets. It made for a really engaging read as I was eager to get each snippet from their perspectives so I could try and piece together the truth. It was nice too to read about a friendship group that had grown apart but was still loyal, the protectiveness of deep friendships even when separated by time and disagreements. It made me root for them more as I was desperate to see them come back together and bond.

I really like Chelsea Pitcher’s writing style, and I’m always pleased to pick up another of her thrillers, they’re always built around an interesting concept and I’ve never yet managed to predict whodunnit! I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Goodreads | Hive | Waterstones | Amazon
(may include affiliate links)

Release date: September 3rd 2020.

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