Two Truths and a Lie (May 2022)
About the book
Trapped in an old motel with a murderer…
Nell has always wanted to be an actor, but doubts her ability. As a member of her school’s theater program, she prefers working backstage. On the way to a contest, an unexpected blizzard strands her acting troupe in a creepy motel. There Soon they meet a group of strangers from another high school—including the mysterious and handsome Knox, who insists they play the game Two Truths and a Lie. When it’s Nell’s turn, she draws a slip of paper inked in unfamiliar handwriting:
I like to watch people die.
I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.
Suddenly a night of harmless fun turns into a matter of life and death. As guests go missing, it becomes clear that a murderer is hiding in their midst ready to strike again. In a room full of liars and performers, the truth is never quite what it seems. Nell is going to have to act like her life depends on it—because it does.
Awards and Honors
- Chosen by Junior Library Guild as a Gold Standard selection
- Amazon Editor’s Choice for Best Young Adult
- Teen Vogue 15 Best New Thriller & Mystery Books for Summer 2022
- She Reads: Best YA Thrillers Coming in 2022
- 2023 Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
- Ohio’s Teen Buckeye Book Award, 2023, Grades 9-12
- Pennsylvania’s Best of 2022
"While traveling on the highway to a state theater competition, Nell and her friends Min, Raven, Adam, and Jermaine are caught in a dangerous blizzard. Their teacher, Mrs. McElroy, who is driving the minivan, decides to stop for the night at the run-down and shady-looking Travel Inn and Out. The motel is labyrinthine and spooky, with dingy corridors and walls adorned with moldering kitsch. Nell and the gang meet another group of kids who are also stranded by the storm, making fast friends. A game of Two Truths and a Lie starts out flirty and fun but devolves into something more sinister when one slip of paper reads “I like to watch people die,” and “I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.” The snow falls and the winds howl, and soon power and cell service are lost, cutting off the motel patrons from the outside world. As the first victim is discovered and the body count begins to grow, the terror becomes palpable. Everyone at the motel seems to have an insidious secret: Will Nell be able to uncover the killer before they strike again? An homage to Agatha Christie, Henry’s locked-room mystery is tautly plotted, with quick-moving nail-biting chapters, relatable characters, and a deftly wrought setting that paradoxically manages to feel both claustrophobic and sprawling. Nell is White; there is diversity among the secondary characters. An atmospheric and entertaining thriller perfect for snowy night chills."
"A group of high school students are doomed on a trip for a theater competition. They drive straight into a blizzard and must find refuge in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. When they check-in, they meet a robotics team that is also stranded while traveling for their own competition. The hotel is creepy, cold, and full of winding hallways, making it difficult to navigate. It also holds dark secrets, including the murder of a businessman and his mistress years before. The murder weapon was never found, and the murder never solved. The teens play games, including Two Truths and a Lie, to pass the time. When one person writes their two truths and a lie as “I like to watch people die,” and then two classmates turn up dead, the evening becomes sinister. Told with nods to Agatha Christie and in eerie detail, this thriller is sure to delight fans of mystery, suspense, and a little horror. Who is the killer and why are they targeting the teens? VERDICT A grisly, fast-paced, suspenseful tale of a murder and mystery that is great for fans of noir thrillers who do not mind a little gore. Recommended for teen readers."
-—School Library Journal
"On their way to a competition, an unexpected blizzard forces Nell and her theater group to take shelter in a creepy, run-down hotel. There they meet other groups sheltering as well, including a rival team heading for the same competition. The first night in the hotel, Nell and the two groups play a game, Two Truths and a Lie, to pass the time, but things get dark when one slip of paper admits to multiple killings. Things get even darker once it’s found that the hotel was the scene of an unsolved double murder. Everyone is a suspect in the ominous confession, and the next morning, one of Nell’s theater friends is found dead. Trapped without power or access to help, Nell and her friends must protect themselves and survive. Henry returns with another thriller that will keep readers on the edges of their seats with mystery and romance, plus various theater references that give the novel a unique feel. Multiple twists and turns will keep readers guessing until the very end. An engrossing read."
— Savannah Patterson, Booklist
"Twisty, bloody, entertaining thriller set during a blizzard."
"Henry’s telling successfully incorporates elements of romance into a snowed-inn mystery with Agatha Christie roots."