The Color of Lies

The Color of Lies

3.64 (2,174 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.64 (2,174 ratings by Goodreads)

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A gripping young adult suspense novel drenched in color, mystery, and lies. New York Times and USA Today bestselling author CJ Lyons grabs you and won't let go, keeping you guessing until the very last page of The Color of Lies.

When you can see emotions in color, motives become black and white. Even murder.

Ella Cleary has always had an eye for the truth. She has synesthesia, which means she is able to read people via the waves of colors that surround them. Her unique gift has led her to trust very few people outside her family since her parents died in a fire. So when a handsome young journalist appears with no colors surrounding him at all, her senses go on high alert.

But while Alec is a mystery, Ella feels a connection to him she can't ignore. Something about him feels familiar, and she is able to talk with him in ways she can't with anyone else. Then just as feelings develop between them, Alec drops a bombshell: he believes her parents' deaths were no accident. And she may be in more danger than she's ever realized.

Soon Ella doesn't know who she can trust or even who she really is. As family secrets begin to unravel and fact and fiction collide, it becomes clear that the only way for Ella to learn the truth about her past is to find a killer.

The Color of Lies:

YA suspense with themes of mystery, romance, and friendship
By New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller writer CJ Lyons, whose adult suspense novels have sold over 2 million copies in print and digital
Features a protagonist with synesthesia, which can allow people to see sounds, taste words, or feel sensations on their skin associated with certain scents
Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, Karen M. McManus, and Jennifer Brown
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Product details

  • 12-15
  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 136 x 211 x 19mm | 262g
  • Grand Rapids, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0310765331
  • 9780310765332
  • 1,168,112

Review quote

The Color of Lies by CJ Lyons is an intriguing exploration of the world of a family of synesthetes, and one young woman in particular. Ella Cleary, like most of her family on her mother's side, has a form of synesthesia. This is a unique condition where two or more of the senses become cross-wired. It manifests differently for each of them. Ella picks up emotion as color. When Alec Ravanell approaches Ella for help with a project, she encounters a person not affected by her particular gift. Without seeing his colors, she feels like she's trying to parse a foreign language.
Alec does need Ella's help, but not in the way she thinks. He doesn't need a graphic designer, but an interview with Ella herself regarding her parents' deaths. Ella was told it was an accident, but Alec claims it was murder. It throws her world into turmoil. Which story is correct? And why can't she sense Alec? Adding to her inner conflict is worry over being unable to sense him, and wanting to be around him because it's what she imagines being normal is like.
I really enjoyed this read. The mystery part was exciting, but what fascinated me most was the exploration of synesthesia and how the characters would function differently given their unique manifestation of it. I feel the author researched this in-depth or she knows several synesthetes.
The writing drew me in. Chapters sometimes switched perspectives, but each chapter is prefaced with the name of the person it follows, so there is no confusion. I loved the two main characters. I empathized with Ella being torn between family expectations for college and following her dream. I loved how awkward Ella and Alec are around one another at first. Not only did I enjoy reading about Ella's interactions with her world, but I wanted to know all about the mystery as well. * San Francisco Book Review 5/5 Stars * 'A tight and engaging mystery with well-defined characters make this excellent choice for libraries serving teens.' -- SLJ/star review * School Library Journal/Star Review *
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About Cj Lyons

Pediatric ER doctor turned New York Times bestselling thriller writer CJ Lyons has been a storyteller all her life-something that landed her in many time-outs as a kid. She writes her Thrillers with Heart for the same reason that she became a doctor: because she believes we each have the power to change our world.

In the ER she witnessed many acts of courage by her patients and their families, learning that heroes truly are born every day. When not writing, she can be found walking the beaches near her Lowcountry home, listening to the voices in her head and plotting new and devious ways to create mayhem for her characters.

To learn more about her Thrillers with Heart go to
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Rating details

2,174 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 21% (458)
4 36% (792)
3 30% (653)
2 10% (216)
1 3% (55)
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