When I picked up Pretending to Be Erica, I was in the mood for something light and fluffy, and what I received was much more moving than I ever could have anticipated.
Violet was adopted at age 5 by one of the most successful con men in Las Vegas, and her whole life has been prepping for the biggest con of her father's life. She was raised to impersonate kidnapped heiress Erica Silverman for as long as she's been with Cal, so much so that once she begins the con and gets deeper and deeper into the pretend-Erica's life, she finds herself becoming Erica and forgetting Violet. Her inner struggles with Violet versus Erica are heartbreakingly sad. Erica's life is the one Violet wishes she had, and it's hers if she's willing to give up Violet entirely.
Meeting true, loving, long lasting friends, family, and a romantic interest sways her mind back and forth between the life that's been dealt to her and the one she could have. The ending was not what I was expecting, but it was satisfying. This is by far my favorite contemporary of 2015.
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.
Age Range: 12 and up / Grade Level: 7 and up