Pretending to Be Erica

23281811by Michelle Painchaud
YA Contemporary
2 of 5 stars
Debut novel – July 21, 2015

I was very excited about this book when it came out, but it took me forever to get my hands on a copy. Now that I’ve finally read it, I have to admit I’m disappointed. The premise is so good: a girl plucked from foster care obscurity by a Vegas con artist to be trained (and surgically modified) for years to pull off the ultimate heist. Violet will pretend to be Erica Silverman, an heiress missing since age five, magically returned to her true parents thirteen years later, who in actuality will steal a family painting worth $60 million and split after a few months. A long-term con, big stakes, coupled with the exploitation of Violet and Erica Silverman’s real parents. Yes please!

Unfortunately, the execution of this plot felt clunky and downright dull halfway through. I couldn’t connect to Violet–despite her complicated feelings about the con, her voice was flat–and the plot wasn’t suspenseful enough to hold my interest. Most of the pages are devoted to cliche high school drama. I might check out the author’s next book, but this one didn’t do it for me.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Pretending to Be Erica is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s store website, here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan – This immediately came to mind as a more suspenseful impersonation story. In this case it’s for revenge, not a heist, but Frances’ story is more compelling. See my review here.
  • The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma – Mistaken identity and unreliable narrators are the order of the day in this suspenseful story about ballerinas and terrible secrets. See my review here.
  • Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis – This isn’t a heist or a story about mistaken identity, but it is a suspenseful quest following Maren, a girl who happens to eat everyone close to her. See my review here.
  • Rook by Sharon Cameron – A retelling of the Scarlet Pimpernel with spies spying on other spies and general mayhem. See my review here.

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