Review: See How They Lie by Sue Wallman

Title See How They Lie
Author Sue Wallman
Genre Contemporary, Thriller, YA
Format Paperback
Page Length 320
Publication Date 02 Mar 2017
Publisher Scholastic
Read Dates 24 Aug – 01 Sep 2017
Rating 4.0623 stars – Recommended

All’s not well at the Hummingbird Creek wellness resort. No one can see in. No one can get out…
New from the talented author who brought you Lying About Last Summer: a psycho-chiller to wake up your darkest phobias. If you got to live in a luxury hotel with world-class cuisine, a state-of-the-art sports centre and the latest spa treatments, would you say ‘yes please’?
Well, that’s kind of what Hummingbird Creek is like. No wonder Mae feels lucky to be there. It’s meant as a rich-kid’s sanatorium, but she isn’t sick. Her dad is the top psychiatrist there. But one day Mae breaks a rule. NOT a good idea. This place is all about rules – and breaking them can hurt you…


I picked up this book randomly whilst food shopping because I definitely do totally don’t have a book buying problem and I’m very happy that I did.

Mae Ballard is a 15 year old growing up in an in highly luxurious psychiatric sanatorium (Hummingbird Creek) for wealthy teenagers. Mae is not a patient at the Creek though, she is the daughter of the head Psychiatrist, Hunter Ballard. On the surface it appears as though Mae has a good life. Her family is wealthy and powerful, they live in a nice apartment, she has lots of materialistic things, she has personalised tuition, and a good group of friends and all that jazz. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this, right? Wrong. One day, Mae is caught breaking one of the many Creek rules and the truth about the place she calls home starts to be revealed.

Pretty quickly into the story we learn that everything is strictly controlled by Hunter at Hummingbird Creek. And when I say everything, I mean everything from food intake, exercise, which books they read, movies and tv they have access to, and the lessons the staff kids receive. Very rarely are staff kids allowed to leave the Creek, and when they do, they are chaperoned by a member of staff. Everyone has strict curfews and shutters automatically come down on windows at night. Internet access is highly restricted. The kids earn Credits instead of real money. Credits that can only be spent within the Creek, or on certain selected websites. Visiting someone else’s apartment is a rare privilege. The site is littered with security cameras and staff report any slight rule breaking, any questioning of rules, or even behaviour that may be seen as potentially leading to questioning the rules. It doesn’t sound so nice now does it?! Hunter is a total dickhead control freak and uses his influence to control not only his own family, but all the staff and patients at the Creek. Mae makes it her own personal mission to find out why Hunter is so controlling, why she doesn’t know much about her own family history, and what is it with the vitamin pills everyone is prescribed.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. There isn’t a great amount of mystery but the story is very addictive. It is a slow burn, but I like slow burns. The characters are great, realistic and very believable. Mae is a little frustratingly naive at times, but that adds to her backstory and the way she has been brought up. The way she is quick to defend the Creek and its strict rules with others even when she is secretly questioning them herself shows just how brainwashed she has been. She collects fountain pens and I collect fountain pens so I instantly wanted to be her friend so we could talk about fountain pens NEEERRDSS. I hated Hunter from the get go! I think I was supposed to feel a little sorry for Mae’s mother, but she just annoyed the hell out me. I loved Thet though (a patient at the Creek). Thet had her own issues that she was working through, but it was easy to see that underneath her problems, there was a smart, sassy and extraordinary human being. It was nice to see a character with a mental health condition written with such depth.

Anyway, I’m off now to peruse vintage fountain pen websites. Peace and Love.

LINKSGoodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US


  1. Oh gosh, consider me interested! I usually steer clear of the ‘asylum/hospital/sanatorium’ stories because after you’ve read one, the setting doesn’t appeal that much to me anymore.. BUT… this one has a neat twist to it all, doesn’t it? The richies, the tyranny of Hunter… yeah.. cinspiracy! Definitely adding to my tbr pile! I can envision myself being mighty frustrated by Mae but then again, it’s great when that happens, too 😀 haha..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really good. I was very frustrated with Mae, but her actions made perfect sense for her character. I love it when characters are flawed because of their environment and upbringing. I think you’ll like this! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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