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Book Club Questions and Discussion Guide for First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston

first lie wins book club questions

Book club questions for First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston explore the themes of deception, identity, and the consequences of living a double life.

This is the perfect book to start off the new year of reading! So many great twists and turns. It is also Reese’s book for the month.

First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston

The discussions may explore suspenseful elements of the story, such as the mysterious boss, the cat-and-mouse game with Ryan Sumner, and the high stakes Evie faces as her past catches up with her. Additionally, book club members may examine the psychological aspects of the narrative, such as Evie’s motivations, conflicts, and the impact of her choices on her own future.

About the Author | Book Club Questions | Discussion Guide

Additional Recommendations

About the Story

First Lie Wins is a novel about Evie Porter, a woman living a double life with a perfect Southern girl persona.

Guided by her mysterious boss, Mr. Smith, she assumes false identities, this time targeting a man named Ryan Sumner. As Evie delves into her assignment, she finds herself drawn to Ryan and imagines a different future for herself. However, her past, including her true identity, unexpectedly resurfaces, forcing Evie to navigate a complex game of secrets and challenges.

The story is filled with suspense, secrets, and a cat-and-mouse game that keeps readers guessing until the end.

About the Author

Ashley Elston is an author known for novels like The Rules for Disappearing (a finalist in the Best Young Adult Novel category of the International Thriller Awards) and 10 Blind Dates, as well as her latest novel which has been selected as the Reese’s Book Club Pick of January 2023, First Lie Wins.

ashley elston author

Living in North Louisiana with her husband and three sons, Ashley has a diverse background. She spent a decade as a wedding and portrait photographer, experiencing the challenges of Saturday nights filled with cake, uncomfortable shoes, and entertaining dance floor moments. Now, she assists her husband in their small business while pursuing her passion for writing.

Ashley’s literary work, translated into 23 languages, showcases her storytelling prowess. A graduate with a Liberal Arts degree from Louisiana State University in Shreveport, she seamlessly transitioned from a successful photography career to become a celebrated author in Louisiana.

Book Club Questions for First Lie Wins

  1. Throughout the novel, Evie assumes various identities for her assignments. How does this constant change impact her as a person? Discuss the psychological toll of living a double life.
  2. Mr. Smith plays a pivotal role in the story, orchestrating Evie’s assignments and testing her loyalty. What are your theories about Mr. Smith’s motivations? How does he manipulate and control Evie
  3. Evie adopts various identities throughout the novel, with her true identity, Lucca Marino, taking the fall. Why is Lucca Marino significant to her, and how does it shape her choices? Reflect on the importance of your name to your identity. Can Evie find happiness as Evie Porter?
  4. Both Evie and Ryan are morally ambiguous characters. Despite her criminal life, Evie has lines she won’t cross. Does her behavior redeem her, and why or why not? Explore the complexities of morally gray characters in the story.
  5. Evie turns to a life of crime to pay for her mother’s medical needs. Considering today’s high healthcare costs, do you sympathize with Evie’s choices? Should she have continued a life of crime after her mother’s death? Share your perspectives on Evie’s path and its ethical implications.
  6. Many readers praise the book for its unexpected twists and turns. Share your favorite plot twist and discuss how it impacted your perception of the story.
  7. The novel is described as a cat-and-mouse game. Identify key moments in the story where this dynamic is evident. How does the suspense and tension contribute to the overall reading experience?
  8. The book provides glimpses into Evie’s past assignments. Discuss the significance of these flashbacks. How do they contribute to the understanding of Evie’s character and her dynamic with Mr. Smith?
  9. Discuss the impact of the author’s use of flashbacks. How do they contribute to understanding Evie’s actions and thought processes in the present? Share specific insights gained from the flashbacks.
  10. Evie chooses an isolating job despite her mother’s death. Why do you think she sought out others working for Mr. Smith? Did Evie find her family with Devon, Amy, and Ryan? By the end, has she achieved her initial hopes? Explore the significance of her garden.
  11. Analyze the symbolism behind Evie leaving an origami swan after each job. What does this calling card signify? Does Evie enjoy the chase, or is there a part of her that wants to be discovered? Can both be true?
  12. Trust is a recurring theme in the novel. Analyze the characters’ trust in one another, especially considering the nature of Evie’s work. How does the theme of trust evolve throughout the story?
  13. As a Reese’s Book Club Pick, the novel gained significant attention. In your opinion, what elements make it suitable for a book club discussion? How does it compare to other thrillers you’ve read?
  14. Discuss Evie’s resilience and survival instincts. How does her background and past experiences shape her ability to navigate the challenges presented in the story?
  15. Reflect on Evie’s statement about finishing the longest con of her life. Were you aware that Evie was one step ahead of Mr. Smith? When did you realize who George was? Discuss your expectations and reactions to the various reveals in the book.
  16. Mr. Smith suggests similarities between him and Evie in their ability to con and manipulate. Do you think Evie is aware of these similarities? Considering the ending, where Evie might take over Mr. Smith’s business, do you believe this is what she truly wants? Can she balance this job with a happy life with Ryan?
  17. Several reviewers mentioned that the book was a page-turner and had a lasting impact. Share your thoughts on what makes “First Lie Wins” a memorable and engaging read.

Additional Recommendations

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful novel from one of the finest writers working today.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

The Other Mothers by Katherine Faulkner

The author of the “twisty, fast-paced” (The Sunday Times, London) Greenwich Park returns with a fresh and deftly paced thriller about murder, class, and motherhood in an exclusive London community.

When a young nanny is found dead in mysterious circumstances, new mom, Tash, is intrigued. She has been searching for a story to launch her career as a freelance journalist. But she has also been searching for something else—new friends to help her navigate motherhood.

She sees them at her son’s new playgroup. The other mothers. A group of sleek, sophisticated women who live in a neighborhood of tree-lined avenues and stunning houses. The sort of mothers Tash herself would like to be. When the mothers welcome her into their circle, Tash discovers the kind of life she has always dreamt of—their elegant London townhouses a far cry from her cramped basement flat and endless bills. She is quickly swept up into their wealthy world via coffees, cocktails, and playdates.

But when another young woman is found dead, it’s clear there’s much more to the community than meets the eye. The more Tash investigates, the more she’s led uncomfortably close to the other mothers. Are these women really her friends? Or is there another, more dangerous reason why she has been so quickly accepted into their exclusive world? Who, exactly, is investigating who?

The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue

A brilliantly funny novel about friends, lovers, Ireland in chaos, and a young woman desperately trying to manage all three.

Rachel is a student working at a bookstore when she meets James, and it’s love at first sight. Effervescent and insistently heterosexual, James soon invites Rachel to be his roommate and the two begin a friendship that changes the course of both their lives forever. Together, they run riot through the streets of Cork city, trying to maintain a bohemian existence while the threat of the financial crash looms before them.

When Rachel falls in love with her married professor, Dr. Fred Byrne, James helps her devise a reading at their local bookstore, with the goal that she might seduce him afterwards. But Fred has other desires. So begins a series of secrets and compromises that intertwine the fates of James, Rachel, Fred, and Fred’s glamorous, well-connected, bourgeois wife. Aching with unrequited love, shot through with delicious, sparkling humor, The Rachel Incident is a triumph.

Discussion Guide for First Lie Wins

Happy reading! ❤️