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.
Title: Lies Like Poison
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderrey Books
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
This book was dark, and gritty, and had me hooked from the beginning. Between the lies and the secrets and the shady characters, I wasn’t sure who to believe or where to look. It was captivating and revealing in so many ways.
I think what I loved most about this book was how guilty each character seemed. Each of them did have secrets they were holding onto, things they had done wrong in their lives, but finding the big secret, who killed Evelyn, was the hard part. Pitcher masked the true story of the murder so well that it took the whole book to unveil all the facts and lies. I loved that it kept me guessing the whole book.
Also, part of what made this book so haunting and gritty was the difficult family situations the main characters were stuck in. Between abusive parents, absent parents, and no parents, most of the boxes were checked on “hard to live with parents”. As well, a lot of the families were so wrapped up in this murder case that it made it even harder for the characters to leave behind. Although I hated to see these characters suffer so much from their home lives, it was a good look into how rough some people have it, no matter their social or economic status.
This book also consisted of lots of flashbacks. These flashbacks made things more interesting in my opinion. The author would hint towards a lie or a secret being kept, but then we wouldn’t really learn about it until a few chapters later through a flashback. As well, these flashbacks ended up being the key to most problems. I loved that they served so many purposes and were weaved into the present storyline so well. 10/10 on that part.
Overall, this was a solid murder-mystery that points out the importance of standing up for what you believe and making a family and future of your own.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
Chelsea Pitcher is a karaoke-singing, ocean-worshipping Oregonian with a penchant for twisty mysteries. She is the author of THE S-WORD, THE LAST CHANGELING & THE LAST FAERIE QUEEN.