Title: Pretending to be Erica
Author: Michelle Painchaud
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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.
I gotta admit, the blurb had me sold.
I mean, I loved WE WERE LIARS, and I like scheming, crazy, mysterious protagonists. I knew, though, that stories like these could either be something I’d really like, or something I’d really hate. And well, this was something I really, absolutely loved from the get-go.
Violet is a con-artist. She has had a lot of adventures (and misadventures) all her life, and it all led to her taking the personality of Erica Silverman, a girl who was lost since she was 4. While some others faked their way to the top and failed before, she was determined not to let anyone blow her cover. It wasn’t that she just wanted to be Erica; she was on a mission.
You see, Violet grew up in a foster home and his stepfather, Sal, taught her everything she knew about disguising to be someone else, and pulling cons to get what she wants–or what Sal wants. And this time, what they want is with the Silvermans.
Sure, the story is not that believable. On the contrary, I kind of like these unbelievable, jaw-dropping stories. I don’t know about you, but I never found this book boring. It had a good narrative, plus the characters were all colorful, and they each had different personalities so you really could differentiate one from the other.
I like the chemistry between Violet and Taylor, her “frenemy”. I like how real they are to each other, and how Taylor helped Violet figure out what she really wanted. Sure, she could be a bit flaky at times, but on the times that she needed to make the best decisions, she was able to make them.
There was a long drive to the climax, but otherwise, it was able to deliver. I didn’t like the way it ended too much, but I think it was able to sustain the story, and was quite the realistic ending to an otherwise unrealistic story.
Gripping, at times, heartbreaking, PRETENDING TO BE ERICA is something that you most definitely shouldn’t miss.