Google+ Reading Teen: {Quick-fire Review} PRETENDING TO BE ERICA by Michelle Painchaud

Monday, July 6, 2015

{Quick-fire Review} PRETENDING TO BE ERICA by Michelle Painchaud

by andye

by Michelle Painchaud
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (July 21, 2015)
Goodreads | Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again. Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle. But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.
At a Glance:

Pretending to be Erica was an intriguing thriller, full of moral complexity.  It got a little bit slow in the middle, with a lot of repeating internal dialogue, but for the most part it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. 


I adore this cover! The typography is fantastic, giving the book a slightly eery feeling. It's so well done!

First Sentence: 

"I still haven't gotten used to writing my new name."

The Characters:

The characters in Pretending to be Erica were all pretty fantastic. Violet, having been raised to become Erica, was constantly struggling with who she was. It was almost like she had multiple personality disorder, and her two personalities were fighting to gain control. All the supporting characters were interesting as well, and were each thoroughly explored, bringing something extra to the story.


There was some action in this story, but most of the book was about Violet/Erica coming to grips with what she was expected to do, and then pulling off the act of being Erica. However, a very persistent Private Investigator, an adopted father that cared more about the prize than his daughter, and a mysterious fellow student, made the book a little more tense.


The romance between Violet/Erica and the boy she meets in her new high school is very subtle and sweet. It's hard because she (and you) knows that it can't possibly end well, but it was a tension I really enjoyed reading.

Favorite Supporting Character:

I honestly can't pick one. Taylor was a snarky, tell-it-how-it-is girl. James was thoughtful and had his own issues and insecurities. Poor Mrs. Silverman was such an amazing mother, just trying to regain her relationship with her lost daughter. Even the "villains" were exciting to read.

Something I loved:

I love the premise. I thought a lot about what Violet's life would've been like as a child. I liked watching her struggle with herself about what she should do, once she got close to her "mother" and her friends.

Something(s) I hated:

In the middle of the book, things started to drag a little for me. Violet/Erica does a LOT of contemplating herself internally. She is constantly examining herself, and while I did like that, she seemed to have the same thoughts and conversations in her head over and over again. I get that it's realistic, but it just got a little tedious to read after awhile.


This book is a stand-alone, but it's definitely left a little open in the end. Not really open for another book, but open for the reader to contemplate what may have happened next.

Would I recommend it?

Yeah, if you're looking for a light crime novel, I think you'll enjoy this one. If you're looking for something a little more complex and involved, you might check out Daughter of Deep Silence, by Carrie Ryan.

Will I buy/keep it/read the sequel?

I'm keeping my ARC. If I come across a finished copy at a used bookstore, I'll probably snag it.

Book Doppelgangers:

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan, Heist Society by Ally Carter


  1. Ahhh I'm so excited to read this one! It might be my next read :) I'm glad to hear the cast is so great, and the story sounds really gripping. Nice review!

  2. Between the cover and this review, I cannot wait to read this book. I've had it on my TBR for literally over a year now.

  3. Gorgeous review Andye :D I'm so glad you liked this one! It do seem pretty interesting. Love the cover too :) But probably not my kind of story :p Don't like sort of open endings, hmph. But glad you still liked the book :) Thank you for sharing about it. <3


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