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Pretending to be Erica, by Michelle Painchaud

Pretending to Be EricaPretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I remember which student of mine asked me to get this book for the library, because I owe her a debt of gratitude. This book was awesome! I was pulled in from the very first moment, and it didn’t let go of me until I was finished. Which was the same day I started.

Erica Silverman was kidnapped from her very wealthy parents when she was in Kindergarten. Snatched practically right out from under their noses in the few minutes after school. Thirteen years later she is still missing.

Violet has been trained from the age of six by her conman adopted father for the con of her life — pose as Erica Silverman in order to steal a very valuable painting owned by the Silverman family, sort of the holy grail of art heists. Others have tried to become Erica Silverman before, but each has been found out. So not only is Violet managing the manic craziness of trying to juggle two selves — the one she was born with and the one she was trained to be — but she is also continually walking a razor sharp edge between success and failure.

The storytelling is tense and suspenseful, and the truth is revealed in slivers just tantalizing enough that half way through I was making up my own conclusions, but hanging on every word to see what would really happen. I loved it. The supporting characters are well developed, from the angry party girl whose father has mob ties, to the grieving mother desperate to believe that her daughter has come back to her, to the quiet former child prodigy musician love interest stifled by his musical genius father. So great. Loved it.

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