Julep Dupree is a grifter--she cons people for a living. She may only be fifteen, but she's been well-trained by her father in the art of deception and conning people into doing what she wants. It's paid off; she attends the most prestigious private school in Chicago from funds obtained through her "business". But Julep has plans; she's going to Yale someday, and she's going to leave the illegal world behind. Until then, grifting is her way of getting ahead.
Things take a major turn for the worse, however, when Julep returns home one day to find her apartment ransacked and her father missing. Along with her best friend Sam, Julep, who knows her father wouldn't leave without clues, begins searching diligently because she knows it all has to do with a con gone wrong. The problems begin to mount when she is followed and the clues they find only seem to lead to dead ends. Mix in a new relationship with Tyler, the hottest boy in school, and Julep's continued illegal activities, and you've got the basis for a mystery that's going to require every faculty to decipher.
I liked Trust Me I'm Lying a lot, mostly because, despite her questionable profession, Julep is smart yet vulnerable. The mystery is layered and takes a turn into international illegal immigration/sex slavery (though nothing explicit is ever described as far as the sex trade goes), and Julep and her friends more than hold their own when pitted against bigger, badder people who will stop at nothing to get what they want. Julep's desperation to find the only parent she knows runs through the novel, giving her a human side that she often tries to hide from her friends and the reader. She's a tough cookie, but she's still a high school student.
What doesn't work? Well, the book is set in a posh private school and Julep runs with people she'd probably never be able to associate with in real life. Don't get me wrong; I liked her interactions with everyone, even when she's trying to hold herself aloof because of her innate differences. I just don't see it all really working in the real world, but I'm willing to suspend belief for the sake of the story. I also found it odd that Julep could miss school and classes time and again and never really suffer any consequences. But maybe that's being nitpicky in a story that has the elements of an epic heist film and pulls it all off fairly well.
Trust Me I'm Lying is a good read, with a strong story line and even stronger heroine. If her morals are often questionable, Julep still manages to pull you over to her side and draws you into her illicit activities with the ease of a practiced con. I'm hoping there is a sequel because there's a few unanswered questions; nothing major, but enough that I don't quite think Julep's story is done just yet.