Title: Pretending To Be Erica
Author: Michelle Painchaud
Expected publication: July 21st 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"We Were Liars meets Heist Society in a riveting debut!
Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again.
Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle.
But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut. "
Thoughts: "We Were Liars meets Heist Society" is definitely the best description for this novel. Going in, I didn't have any expectations. Based on the synopsis, it seemed like an interesting novel, but I hadn't really heard anything of it. I was pleasantly surprised to find an enticing, addicting novel that kept my interest until the end.
Violet was adopted by Sal, a con artist that teaches Violet everything she needs knows about the Silvermans in order for her to slip in perfectly and pretend to be their missing daughter Erica. If that wasn't enough, she has had multiple surgeries to perfect her Erica-like nature. Her goal? Go inside, be Erica, steal an expensive piece of art work, and get out. What she wasn't expecting to find were the emotions and attachments that come with pretending to be someone so loved.
What I liked most about this novel is how complex Violet-Erica was. There were moments where Violet's "Erica" ran so deep that she truly thought she was the person she was pretending to be. On top of that, she began falling in love with the people and the life. I mean, how could you not fall in love with Mrs. Silverman? After being raised by someone who clearly didn't love her, only used her for his gain, it felt nice to have a mother who loved her simply because of who she was. Of course, with all of this comes guilt, especially knowing how this wonderful woman loves a person who no longer exists.
Though I enjoyed Violet-Erica's complexity, I truly had mixed feelings when it came to her as a person. Part of me knew she wanted to be a good person, and another part of me knew she's only doing this because she was raised to, but that doesn't excuse any of it. The people she will hurt, taking advantage of these grieving people, the pain and all of it was just something I semi-hoped I wouldn't have to read about. Of all the characters, my personal favorites were James and Mrs. Silverman. They were just so wonderful, and it made extra difficult to get to know them and carry on with Violet-Erica's deception.
As far as the ending goes, it is what it was. I don't know how to explain it better than that. It wasn't what I personally would have liked nor did it have ultimate closure, but it was realistic and made sense. I liked the direction the author chose to take, even if it wasn't ideal for me.
All in all, though I found the middle of the book to be a bit slow-paced, I enjoyed reading PRETENDING TO BE ERICA and would recommend it to fans of I AM HER REVENGE and THE HEIST SOCIETY.
Giveaway: Thanks to the fabulous people at Penguin Random House, I am giving away a copy of PRETENDING TO BE ERICA. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to US participants and ends July 31st.
Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Michelle Painchaud was born in Seattle, but grew up gate-crashing parties in sugar cane fields in Hawaii. Cats and anime take up what little part of her brain isn't harassed by stories of teenagers kicking ass. This is her first novel. She lives in San Diego, CA.