Book Review: Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

pretending to be erica

Pretending to be Erica

3.5 stars

Violet has been training most of her life to be one thing: Erica Silverman. Erica disappeared at the age of five and was never seen again. Violet shares a blood type with the missing girl and, thanks to surgery, she can pass as a seventeen year old Erica and, with a little blackmail, she has the right DNA for Erica Silverman to be declared found. Violet has her mission. To find the code for the Silverman’s safe and steal a priceless painting. Can she live in Erica’s shoes long enough to learn the code without losing Violet in the process?

When I saw that this book was supposed to be We Were Liars meets Heist Society, I was really excited to read it. I did enjoy it but with that comparison, I think I was expecting something different than what the story actually was about. I was expecting a big mind-bending mystery or tension-filled heist but instead, it was more a character journey for Violet.

Violet was an intriguing character. It was a struggle for her the whole time she was pretending to be Erica, having to keep her Violet thoughts and reactions a secret. I felt for her because she was raised most of her life to become this other person so she was always very conscious of how this other person would reaction, whether she was Violet or pretending to be Erica. She could be very judgmental of the people who had been in Erica’s life and who were trying to help Erica now that she had returned. If Erica was soft and spoiled, then Violet was hardened and street-smart.

The concept was really interesting and I could see Violet slowly starting to care about the people who loved Erica. The longer she lived Erica’s life, the more she knew she would end up hurting these people who were so nice to her. Each character was unique, from popular girls Cass and Merryl, Mrs Silverman was such an amazing mother who was trying to balance between letting Violet/Erica be herself and wanting to never let her out of her sight again. My favourite side characters were Taylor and James. There were a lot of snark and sarcasm flowing back and forth between them and Violet/Erica, and some light romance between her and James. It was interactions with these characters that showed Violet was a caring girl instead of a heartless criminal.

The actual heist-related parts of the book were quite light. There were some flashbacks of young Violet’s training and mentions of how Sal, her father figure/trainer came about certain information and planned the whole heist, but it never went into a whole lot of detail. It wasn’t a huge Ocean’s 11-esque crime even though it took them years to prepare Violet for her role.

I would say the book was definitely more character-journey oriented than heist-driven but there was a lot of action, especially near the end of the book. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting but it was a good read.

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2 Comments

Filed under books, reviews, ya books

2 responses to “Book Review: Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

  1. Sounds like an interesting concept. Too bad it was compared to We Were Liars because that definitely sets up the reader with certain expectations.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Reading Recap | Overflowing Bookshelves

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