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The Safest Lies
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The Safest Lies
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From the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger comes a captivating psychological thriller about a girl who must face her darkest fears—but can she...
From the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger comes a captivating psychological thriller about a girl who must face her darkest fears—but can she...
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  • From the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger comes a captivating psychological thriller about a girl who must face her darkest fears—but can she outrun the past?

    Kelsey has lived most of her life in a shadow of suspicion, raised to see danger everywhere. Her mother hasn't set foot outside their front door in seventeen years, since she escaped from her kidnappers with nothing but her attacker's baby growing inside her—Kelsey.

    Kelsey knows she's supposed to keep a low profile and stay off the grid for their protection, but that plan is shattered when her dramatic car accident and rescue by volunteer firefighter and classmate Ryan Baker sparks media coverage.

    A few days later, she arrives home to find her mother missing. Now, to have a chance at a future, Kelsey will have to face her darkest fears. Because someone is coming for her. And the truth about the past may end up being the most dangerous thing of all.
    "[A] fast-paced, suspenseful treat." —PW, starred
    "Positively movie-ready." —Kirkus

    "Will blow readers' minds." —SLJ

    Praise for Megan Miranda's All the Missing Girls:
    "This thriller's all of your fav page-turners (think: Luckiest Girl Alive, The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl) rolled into one." —TheSkimm
    "Fast-paced and frightening." —Refinery29
    "[The] perfect read for thriller fans." —Bustle.com


  • From the book CHAPTER 1

    The black iron gates used to be my favorite thing about the house.

    Back when I was younger, they reminded me of secret gardens and hidden treasures, all the great mysteries I had read about in children's books.

    This was the setting of fairy tales. The vegetation creeping upward in places, ivy and weeds tangling with the bars, and the way they'd light up in a storm, encircling the house—­a stark surprise against the darkness.

    And we were on the inside.

    It was better to see it from this direction, on the way out. It looked different as I grew older. From the other side, through a different filter. A glance over my shoulder as I walked away, and all I could see were the cameras over the entrances. The sterile, boxed walls of the house beyond. The shadow behind the tinted window.

    I didn't realize, for a long time, that this was the secret.

    Still, there was a familiarity to the iron gates, and I couldn't help tapping them as I passed each morning, a routine goodbye as I left for the day. In the summer, the bars would be hot from the sun. And in the winter, when I was bundled up in wool, sometimes I'd feel a spark underneath the cold, like I could sense the ­current of electricity that was running through the top.

    Mostly, though, they felt like home.

    Today, my palm came away damp, coated with morning dew. Everything glistened in the mountain sunrise.

    Now that I was beyond the gates, and because I saw my mother's shadow, there was a routine I was supposed to stick to:

    Check the backseat through the windows before unlocking the car door.

    Start the car and count to twenty so the engine had time to settle.

    Wave to my mother, watching from the front window.

    Two hands on the wheel as I navigated the unpaved driveway made of gravel, and then the winding mountain roads on the way to school.

    The rest of the day was a tally of hours, a routine I knew by heart. Swap this Wednesday for any other Wednesday and nobody would notice. My mother said there's a safety to routine, but I didn't exactly agree. Routines could be learned. Routines could be predicted. But it would be a mistake to say that. Honestly, it was a mistake to even think that.

    Here was the rest of my Wednesday routine:

    Arrive at school early enough to get a parking spot near a streetlight, since I'd be leaving late. Avoid the crowded hallway, hope Mr. Graham opened his classroom early. Claim my seat in the back of math class, and coast through the day, mostly unnoticed.


    My books were already out and I'd just about finished the morning problems when Ryan Baker swept into class.

    "Hey, Kelsey," he said as he slid into his seat, just as the bell rang.

    "Hi, Ryan," I said. This was also part of the routine. Ryan looked the way Ryan always looked, which was: brown hair that never fell the same way twice; legs too long for the desk beneath him, so they stretched under the seat in front or to the aisle between us (today: aisle); jeans, brown lace-­up boots, T-shirt. Autumn in Vermont meant a sweatshirt for me, but apparently Ryan hadn't gotten there yet.

    Today he was wearing a dark blue shirt that said volunteer, and he caught me staring. I didn't know if it was supposed to be ironic or not.

    His fingers drummed on the desk. His knee bounced in the aisle.

    I almost asked him, on impulse, but then Mr. Graham called me up to the board for a problem, and Ryan started drawing on his wrist with blue ink, and by the time I returned to my seat, the moment had passed.

    First period was mostly quiet and mostly still. People yawned, people...

About the Author-

  • Megan Miranda is the acclaimed author of The Safest Lies, and several other novels for young adults, including Fracture. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger for adults. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. You can follow Megan on Facebook at AuthorMeganMiranda, or on Instagram and Twitter at @MeganLMiranda.


  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 8, 2016
    Miranda (Soulprint) explores the traumatic effects of fear conditioning while offering chills aplenty in this frightening thriller. Kelsey Thomas lives in a beautiful home with her mother, Amanda, who hasn’t left for 17 years, since Kelsey was born. The house is a fortress meant to keep any threat at bay. When Kelsey is involved in a car accident and rescued by volunteer fireman and classmate Ryan Baker, it kicks off a series of events that bring to light the horror that her mother suffered all those years ago. Then Kelsey’s mother disappears. Someone has Kelsey in his or her sights, and it’s surely connected to her mother’s past. Desperate to find her mother, Kelsey, with Ryan’s help, begins sifting through clues about her mother’s abduction and discovers that nothing is what it seems. Writing from Kelsey’s first-person perspective, Miranda expertly builds a sense of dread, leaving readers to uncover the truth right alongside Kelsey. A touch of romance adds levity, and the breathless cat-and-mouse game between Kelsey and her shadowy pursuers makes this a fast-paced, suspenseful treat. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2016
    Kelsey has lived her entire 17 years with her mother in a house set up like a fortress. When her agoraphobic mom disappears, Kelsey finds herself in real danger. Kelsey's mother was a famous kidnapping victim, and Kelsey is the daughter of the kidnapper. Her mom has no memory of the year she spent confined in a dark basement, but when she escaped she bought an upscale secluded house and rigged it up with a sophisticated security system, complete with barred windows and a panic room. A traffic accident puts the white teen in contact with classmate Ryan, a volunteer firefighter (and also white) who rescues her. On returning home from a ceremony honoring him, Kelsey realizes not only that her mother is missing, but that someone is trying to get into the house, sending her and Ryan into the panic room. Once their ordeal ends, Kelsey's full of questions about her still-missing mother. All of Kelsey's life, her mom has taught her to lie. Can it be that her mom has lied to her? Miranda writes some marvelously suspenseful scenes and keeps the story's pace zooming along at a high clip during extensive action scenes. She keeps an underlying plotline of a romance with Ryan flowing along, and it provides nice relief from the suspense. If Ryan seems a bit too good to be true, fans won't mind. Positively movie-ready. (Thriller. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2016

    Gr 7-10-Kelsey awakens dangling upside down from her seat belt, her car having careened through the guard rail. She is pretty sure a car forced her off the road, but the police find no sign of another vehicle. Kelsey has good reason to be fearful. Her mother was abducted at age 17, held for over a year, and then escaped, pregnant. Kelsey's mother lives in constant fear of being pursued by her captors. Their house is a fortress, which she has never left, and Kelsey has been homeschooled until now. Only a visit from the state's child services department has forced her mother to allow the teen to have a minimal amount of freedom-she can attend the local high school. An insightful bit of research on mice epigenetics referenced by her mother's therapist reveals that a parent's fears can be passed to second-generation children through DNA, even though they have not experienced the same traumas. Is it actual danger that lurks around every corner, or is Kelsey just manifesting her mother's ingrained phobias? YA suspense at its very best: this psychological thriller will blow readers' minds. VERDICT A fantastic choice for reluctant readers, this page-turner will be a hit with fans of Eliot Schrefer's The Deadly Sister.-Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • VOYA "Reluctant and voracious readers alike will enjoy the twisty turns present in this mystery."

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    Random House Children's Books
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