Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.
After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.
But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.
As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…
Sometimes I wonder if Becca Fitzpatrick is capable of writing a main character who’s intelligent, for once. I try to give authors the benefit of the doubt. I’ve clung onto her books, hoping that this time, maybe this time, I’ll actually like one of her characters; authors’ skills can and have changed for the better. This is not the case, this has never been the case, and I think it’s time for me to throw in the towel. Becca Fitzpatrick’s books are not for me.
The main character in this book is a stupid little bratty bitch, and that term is not used as a hyperbole. She has witnessed a crime, and is being sent into a Witness Protection Programfor her own safety. If this were the real world, she would have been dead within the week. And if it were me who were hosting her, I would have gladly given up her location just to be rid of her as a housemate. I found myself wondering quite often during the book, why her kind, sweet hostess did not do just that.
So let’s start off in the beginning. Stella‘s mother is dating a loser drug kingpin, and Stella witnessed a murder. This bad dude is seriously bad (duh) and is out to kill her (I find myself empathizing with him, honestly).
Danny Balando wouldn’t stop searching for me. He was in jail, but the rest of his drug cartel was roaming free. Any one of them could be paid to do his bidding. His only hope was to hunt me down and kill me before I could testify.
In order for Stella to live long enough to be a witness for the federal government to prosecute this drug dude, Stella has to be placed into Witness Protection for, well, her own protection. A valued service that she is determined toundermine at all cost.
Stella is pissed off at her mom for, like, totally ruining her summer plans and causing her to be separated from her *sigh* boyfriend. Witness Protection can’t tell her his location, and that’s just, like so rude, man.
“You know I can’t tell you where he’s going.”
“He’s my boyfriend.”
“This is how we keep witnesses safe. I know it isn’t easy on you, but we’re doing our job. Got you the ten minutes you asked for. Had to jump through a lot of hoops. Last thing the judge wants is for one of you to influence the other’s testimony.”
I was being forced to leave my boyfriend, and he wanted a thank-you?
THEY’RE HIDING HIS LOCATION FROM HER FOR HER OWN SAFETY. The nerve! THE NERVE!
So poor wittle Stella is shipped off to the middle of nowhere to the house that surely belongs in the pages of a horror novel. Which she instantly hates.
I could just make out the silhouette of a two-story house. It had the biggest lawn I’d ever seen, with more cottonwood trees soaring over the roofline. The lawn gave way to open fields, and past those, I could see nothing but a sapphire sky powdered with stars.
Like, ew. And since she hates being there, maybe she can bedifficult enough to be forced out of the Witness Protection Program.
I didn’t care what they thought. If they believed I was selfish and difficult, they were probably right. And if I made this summer a living hell for Carmina, maybe she’d let me move out early and live on my own. It wasn’t the worst idea I’d ever had.
Because being murdered is a much better alternative than being forced to live in a hick town. Where she is going to be fucking bored for the rest of the summer. Oh, wait. Maybe she can get a job to entertain herself? But working is like, so middle-class.
“I don’t want a job.”
“School’s out, so most of the good jobs have been snatched up, but we’ll find you something,” she went on.
“I don’t want a job,” I repeated more firmly. I’d never had a job. My family wasn’t old money—we didn’t live in a country estate on the Main Line, and I didn’t dress effortlessly like Jackie O.—but we weren’t living paycheck to paycheck, either. My mom had been a debutante in Knoxville, and while she’d burned through what could be called her dowry, it was important to her to keep up appearances. It just would not do to have me seen in the workforce.
Even in Witness Protection, a girl’s gotta maintain her standards, ya know?
Now that you know the plot, let’s get to the point. The point being that Stella is a dumb, bitchy brat.
1. She is willing to risk her own safety and that of her beloved boyfriend just to *sigh* see him again ;_;
He could be in Kentucky or Kansas. I’d never know. Unless I went looking for him.
And I could go looking, because I knew how to find him.
Deputy Price had made it very clear that I should never, under any circumstances, attempt to contact anyone from my old life. Danny Balando and the dangerous men he employed would never give up looking for me. The only way they’d find me was if I broke the rules.
I knew contacting Reed was breaking the rules, but he wasn’t in Philly anymore.
Because knowing how to use a public computer to protect her trails is SUCH A SAFE AND SUREFIRE OPTION
2. She does stupid shit that could have gotten her into trouble. Like, oh, STEALING A CAR.
“Are you going to tell me why you’re driving her car, or should I let you explain yourself to the police?”
“It’s not what it looks like.”
“That’s a relief, because it looks like auto theft.
3. She is a complete bitch to the woman who was kind enough to invite her into her home and protect her from the very beginning.
Taking her car was wrong, and I’d apologized. We’d settled the matter, and I wasn’t going to let her use my bad behavior as an excuse to exercise authority over me. She wasn’t my mom. She was a moving piece in the Justice Department’s cover story, and I was going to let her know that I knew it.
She does improve, but it’s too little, too late.
4. She constantly undermines the program. She thinks she can survive on her own. From what we saw of her in the book, it’s completely infeasible.
They thought they knew what was best for me, but I was better off on my own.
She doesn’t report possible danger to the people in charge of protecting her.
Deputy Price would want to know about this. But if they thought there was a breach, they’d probably yank me out. Thunder Basin hadn’t grown on me, but the last thing I wanted was to relocate to another middle-of-nowhere town. I had a job here. I was beginning to learn my way around. And I had Chet.
5. And then, of course, there’s a love triangle. It’s kind of hard to focus on, like, surviving when you’re constantly distracted by a guy’s beautiful eyes or his bulging muscles on every other page.
I could pretend I liked him only because there was no one else around, but there was something about him. Something hard to resist. He was overpoweringly masculine yet incredibly sensitive. It was a dangerous combination. A dangerous, alluring, tempting combination. I staunchly refused to compare Chet to Reed—there was no point; I was happy with Reed—but an unwanted voice at the back of my mind whispered it was because I knew who’d win, and it wasn’t who I wanted.
Or was it?
She is willing to risk getting beat up by the town bully to protect her new wuv.
I thought about telling him the truth, but I didn’t trust Chet. If I told him that Trigger was responsible for beating me up, and that just now he’d come back to rub it in and intimidate me further, Chet would go after him. I didn’t doubt Chet would win that fight, and as satisfying as it would be, I worried what might follow. Chet was nineteen. If Trigger pressed charges, the matter would be handled in criminal court. I wasn’t going to risk tainting Chet’s name with a record, or sending him behind bars, for a little ego-stroking.
Hmm. Tainted name. Getting smashed into a pulp. Worry about your new beau first, naturally, right? God, she’s fucking dumb.