Pretend She’s Here is a thrilling page turner, but it’s certainly not perfect

This psychological thriller is a great book from best selling author Luanne Rice


DJ Gallegos

Pretend She’s Here was published by Luanne Rice in 2019.

Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice follows the kidnapping of main character Emily. When Emily’s best friend Lizzie Porter dies of cancer, Emily struggles to accept that she’s really gone, and Emily is not the only one. 

To cope with the pain of losing their daughter, the Porters move from Connecticut to Maine for a fresh start. A year after Lizzie’s death, Emily runs into Lizzie’s family in Connecticut. When Ms. Porter offers Emily a ride, Emily doesn’t think twice about accepting. However, Emily soon realizes this was a mistake. 

After losing their daughter, Lizzie’s family lose their grip on reality, and they kidnap Emily. When they arrive back in Maine, the Porters force Emily to pretend to be Lizzie and take her place to fill the void in their life. The rest of the book follows Emily’s experience and how she escapes. 

One of the things I loved most about this book is the character development. Luanne Rice added great depth to each character, which gives the reader an understanding of why the characters behave the way they do. This also generally helps with understanding the book.

The backstory of the Porters is also great. Rice does a great job of explaining why they did what they did. 

The writing in this book was also very well done. Rice paints a picture for the reader and gives very thorough descriptions of each scene.

Pretend She’s Here was truly captivating—  Emily working around the Porters, the Porters trying to make Emily become Lizzie. Honestly, it’s a little eerie, but in the best way.

I had looked forward to reading this book, and once I started, I couldn’t put it down. That being said, the fact that it’s a page turner isn’t enough to carry the book.

Though it’s a great read, Pretend She’s Here is not without its faults. At times it was confusing; there were some unnecessary details that convoluted things. There were also some slight issues with the plot. There were occasions where Emily got away with things she shouldn’t have, and the Porters were oblivious to it. Also, it started to get predictable near the end

If you want a quick read that’s hard to put down, then I would recommend this book. It’s not perfect, but I would give Pretend She’s Here a solid 8/10.