Blog Tour Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway: Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer


Trust Me, I'm Lying
(Woodcutter Sisters #2)
by Mary Elizabeth Summer
YA Suspense
Paperback266 Pages
October 14th 2014 by Delacorte Press                  

Summary

Fans of Ally Carter, especially her Heist Society readers, will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.

Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.
   

Praise for the Book

“A sexy love triangle and madcap mystery . . . I loved this book.” —Jennifer Echols, author ofDirty Little Secret

“Buckle up! You’re in for a wild and funny ride. I fell in love with the fresh and snarky voice of 16-year-old con artist Julep Dupree. This book has it all: homework and hit men, prom drama and silencers.” —April Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Girl, Stolen

“Summer creates a standout character in Julep. She lies and cheats with so much confidence and skill that readers will cheer her on, but she also adheres to her own strict moral code. The nature of the crime her father is caught up in, when revealed, just ratchets up the suspense. A memorable debut; here’s hoping for a lot more from Summer.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Julep’s investigations and quick escapes keep the high-stakes story entertaining and readers guessing…” – Publisher’s Weekly


Character Descriptions & Dream Cast

Julep Dupree is pretty average looking--not hot, not not. She needs to be able to blend into a crowd when necessary. But when her true personality shines through, she lights up from inside and is impossible to ignore. She has charisma, but she can use it or hide it as necessary. She has brown hair and blue eyes, average height, average build. No particularly remarkable features. It's hard for me to pick actors and actresses for roles, because I don't know many. But Natasha Calis, Haley Pullos, or Elizabeth Gillies might work for Julep.
 

Sam Seward is half black, half Venezuelan, which makes it that much tougher to find a good teenage actor to play him. Chris O’Neal or Nadji Jeter are possibilities. But again, I'm happy to leave it up to the casting experts if this ever gets made into a film or show. Sam has his broody moments, but his best feature is his smile. Julep comments in the first chapter of TMIL how gorgeous Sam's smile is. And he definitely doesn't have any trouble getting dates--well, when he's not working for Julep, anyway.

Tyler Richland is St. Agatha's golden boy. He's the captain of insert-name-of-any-school-sports-team-here. He's the son of a wealthy senator, and inherited his father's politician-brand charisma--which makes him an interesting match for Julep. I see Tyler with mahogany-colored hair (by which I mean brown with a reddish tint when light shines on it), melty chocolate-brown eyes, and veeeerrrry white teeth. Honestly, I haven't really found an actor I'd say "YES, that is absolutely Tyler!" But maybe Lucas Till with the right hair color? IDK. Somebody help me out.
Maybe if we saw him in black and white we could imagine the hair?

Dean Porter is the bulldog dean of students that is always hunting Julep. She hates Julep the way Snape hated Harry, but with even less of a good reason. She sees Julep as an element of chaos, when she herself craves order. Her features are very sharp. Her hair is strawberry blonde and is cut into a severe bob. I think KaDee Strickland would play the role well.

Murphy Donovan is one of Julep's clients in TMIL. He's a tech club buddy of Sam's with glasses and the whole nine yards. He cleans up all right, though, and after all, geek is the new black, right? Freddie Highmore might work for Murphy.

Heather Stratton is another of Julep's clients. She's tall and bombshell-y in all the ways Julep is not. She's got long, curly hair, an elfin face, and legs that go on forever. I'd pick Chloe Bridges to play Heather.


Excerpt
CHAPTER 2: THE GEEK JOB

“Hey, Julep. Got a sec?” Murphy Donovan—a soft, bespectacled nerd from my biology class—stops me before I get very far.

“You happen to have a decent cup of espresso on your person?” I say.

“Not on me, no.”

“Then if you want to talk, you’ll have to walk me.”

He falls into step like a well-trained puppy, but he seems to need a little prodding in the talking department.

“So is this a social call?” I ask.

“No. That is, um, I’d like to”—he lowers his voice and looks over his shoulder at the students flitting hither and yon around us—“hire you.”

“I see. How can I be of service?”

“I want you to get Bryn Halverson to go to the fall formal with me,” he all but whispers.

I consider his request as I shift my bag. I could do it. Easily, in fact. All it takes is a modified fiddle game. My brain is already spinning the con, assessing resources, gauging the mark. But I’d like a little more information before I take the job.

“The Bryn Halverson?” I say. “Head JV cheerleader, homecoming court, failing Spanish—that Bryn Halverson?”

“She’s failing Spanish?”

“Focus, Murphy.”

“Yes, her,” Murphy answers.

“Do you mind if I ask why?”

He drops his gaze to his hands. “I like her,” he mumbles.

“You and every other straight, red-blooded American male,” I say, more truthful than kind. I don’t need to drag this out of him. I can do the job without it. But how I approach the job affects him, and understanding his motivations lets me know how far I can go.

“I liked her before. I’ve liked her since middle school, when she had braces and frizzy hair and was whipping all our butts at algebra.”

I sigh and give him a sympathetic look. I’m going to take the job, of course, but I’m not thrilled about it. Not because I’m opposed to manipulating Bryn, but because I already know Murphy’s going to get trampled. And since Murphy’s a tech-club buddy of Sam’s, Sam is not going to be pleased if I help Bryn break Murphy’s heart.

“Honestly, Murphy, it would be easier if you just wanted the social status.”

“So you’ll do it?”

I nod reluctantly. “Yes. But you’ll probably regret it.”

“How much?”

“Depends on how much you like her.”

“No, I mean—”

I wave him to silence. “I know what you mean,” I say, calculating the fee in my head. What is the going rate for breaking somebody’s heart? This is one of those questions that make me reconsider my line of work.

“Five hundred. Cash. Plus the standard proviso.”

“What proviso?”

“You owe me a favor.”

“What kind of favor?”

“The kind where you don’t know what it is until I ask it,” I say, pausing at the door to the Ballou. “If it’s any comfort, it’s usually something pretty tame, and generally in your area of expertise.”

Murphy mulls over my terms for all of half a second before forking over the cash. I’d never pay that much for a school dance, but then most of the students at St. Aggie’s have money to burn. Even worse is the threat of an unspecified favor to be called in at a later date. But I’ve never had anyone protest. I guess that’s what comes of having unlimited access to whatever you want—when you need something you can’t get, you’re willing to put everything on the line. Maybe the opportunity to confess your undying love is worth it. I’ve never felt that way about anyone, so what do I know?

“When should I ask her?” he says.

“A week from tomorrow,” I answer as I open the door. “That gives us time to lay the groundwork, but still gives her a few days to buy a dress. Assuming she doesn’t have a closet full already.”

“What if she says no?”

“You should be more worried about her saying yes.”

He gives me a confused look.

“I’ll take care of it,” I say, stepping into the warm glow of the Ballou.


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About the Author

Mary Elizabeth Summer is an instructional designer, a mom, a champion of the serial comma, and a pie junkie. Oh, and she sometimes writes books about teenage delinquents saving the day. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her daughter, her partner, and her evil overlor–er, cat. TRUST ME, I'M LYING, a YA mystery, will be released by Delacorte in Fall 2014.



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