Review: Dark and Shallow Lies

Welcome back to another review of a paranormal thriller! If you missed these, me too, so I’m back again to review the upcoming release of Dark and Shallow Lies!

Thank you to Penguin Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC for review. This is a spoiler free, honest review and all thoughts and feelings are my own! And with that, let’s dive in.


Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller
Pages: 432
Rating: starstarstarstar.5

A teen girl disappears from her small town deep in the bayou, where magic festers beneath the surface of the swamp like water rot, in this chilling debut supernatural thriller for fans of Natasha Preston, Karen McManus, and Rory Power.

La Cachette, Louisiana, is the worst place to be if you have something to hide.

This tiny town, where seventeen-year-old Grey spends her summers, is the self-proclaimed Psychic Capital of the World–and the place where Elora Pellerin, Grey’s best friend, disappeared six months earlier.

Grey can’t believe that Elora vanished into thin air any more than she can believe that nobody in a town full of psychics knows what happened. But as she digs into the night that Elora went missing, she begins to realize that everybody in town is hiding something – her grandmother Honey; her childhood crush Hart; and even her late mother, whose secrets continue to call to Grey from beyond the grave.

When a mysterious stranger emerges from the bayou – a stormy-eyed boy with links to Elora and the town’s bloody history – Grey realizes that La Cachette’s past is far more present and dangerous than she’d ever understood. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who she can trust. In a town where secrets lurk just below the surface, and where a murderer is on the loose, nobody can be presumed innocent–and La Cachette’s dark and shallow lies may just rip the town apart.

If there’s one thing about me, it’s that I don’t know anything about Louisiana. I’ve never been, though I would love to visit New Orleans, and so I’m a little clueless to some of the nuances there. Thankfully, we get a good insight into the different cultures there, the languages, and other things native to Louisiana.

On the small island off the coast of Louisiana sits La Cachette – the psychic capital of the world. Grey spends her summers here with her grandmother and the rest of the year with her father in Little Rock, Arkansas. When she returns this summer though, nothing is the same.

A part of the Summer Babies, Grey was born the same summer as nine other babies, including her best friend, twin flame, and birthday twin Elora, who’s currently missing. Determined to find Elora, Grey plays detective for the past and the present to find out what happened to her and if anyone is next.

Grey’s character is interesting. I liked her overall, but I had some issues with certain personality traits and parts of her as a character. No spoilers, but she’s not great at decision making. And also happens to be way too trusting. As she’s trying to figure out what happened to Elora, it’s clear that the town doesn’t really care. They care enough to be sad that she’s gone, but they’ve all just accepted that she’s dead, and completely move on with their lives. Huh?? How is it that this town is just content with the mystery of a missing girl and doesn’t even care to solve it?

The only people who actually care are Grey and Hart, Elora’s step-brother, but even Hart starts to give up and accept whatever they think happened. I mean, you would think someone knows what happened. Unless they’re trying to cover it up?

The mystery aspect of this book was pretty cool. I like how the events of the past tied in to the events of the present and it just made the mysteries more dark and interesting. And we get Grey’s flashes of what happened to Elora, which I loved, and I loved the formatting for. The other characters were interesting, though it made me cringe to think about some of the things that these teenagers do or are done to them. One girl is abused by her uncle. One guy chain smokes. Another guy is a possessive, jealous boyfriend. One of the father’s was also physically abusive to his wife and child. While I know that these things happen to people or they learn these things, it still hurts my heart to think about this even happening fictionally.

If you’re triggered by any of these things, I will warn you, there’s mentions of: death, murder, torture, physical abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, narcissism, narcissistic parents, and other things I can’t even put into words. This is not a happy book and, especially as a thriller and mystery novel, messed up stuff is going to happen, so be warned.

Speaking of the mystery and what happened to Elora, I was so positive I knew what happened. I was so sure that I knew exactly who did it and why, but no. I was fooled, just like everyone else. Though I did get some things correct, this book left me guessing up until the last moment and the ending is a whirlwind! I honestly didn’t expect what happened at all and I love that! I want to be surprised by these thrillers, not guessing all the details as they come up. This story does a great job of building up suspense and giving us that satisfying mystery reveal at the very end!

Overall, while this book is intense and sad, if you like paranormal thrillers, psychics, psychic powers, mysteries, and creepy supernatural vibes, then you need to check out this book! This is a great read for spooky month and it releases on September 7th, so plenty of time to pre-order your copy and get it before October!

If you’re looking for more paranormal thriller recommendations, check out some of these recent books I read and loved! (spoiler free reviews linked in the titles):

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

Mark of the Wicked by Georgia Bowers

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall


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