Cover image for Pretend she's here
Pretend she's here
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Scholastic Press, 2019.

Physical Description:
337 pages ; 21 cm
Fifteen-year-old Emily has six siblings, but she was also close to her best friend, Lizzie Porter, who died nearly a year ago, and she is still grieving; but Lizzie's family are also grieving, so much so, that they use Lizzie's younger sister, Chloe, as a lure and kidnap Emily, forcing her to dress, talk, and act like Lizzie, and threatening to go after Emily's family if she does not become the replacement for the daughter they lost--and Emily is caught between fear for herself and her family, and concern for Chloe, who she sees is also a victim of Mrs. Porter's madness.


Material Type
Call Number
Teen Fiction Rice
Teen Fiction Rice

On Order



Emily Lonergan's best friend died last year.

And Emily hasn't stopped grieving. Lizzie Porter was lively, loud, and fun -- Emily's better half. Emily can't accept that she's gone.

When Lizzie's parents and her sister come back to town to visit, Emily's heartened to see them. The Porters understand her pain. They miss Lizzie desperately, too.

Desperately enough to do something crazy.

Something unthinkable.

Suddenly, Emily's life is hurtling toward a very dark place -- and she's not sure she'll ever be able to return to what she once knew was real.

From New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice comes a breathless, unputdownable story of suspense, secrets -- and the strength that love gives us to survive even the most shocking of circumstances.

Author Notes

Novelist Luanne Rice was born in Old Lyme, Connecticut on September 25, 1955. She has written over twenty books and her stories, such as Home Fires and Cloud Nine, depict average people in emotionally complex situations. Many of her novels have been adapted into TV movies including Crazy in Love (1992) which starred Holly Hunter, Bill Pullman and Gena Rowlands, and Blue Moon (1999) which starred Sharon Lawrence, Kim Hunter and Richard Kiley. She currently splits her time between New York City and Old Lyme, Connecticut.

(Bowker Author Biography) Luanne Rice is the author of Follow the Stars Home, Cloud Nine, Secrets of Paris, Stone Heart, Angels All over Town, Home Fires, Crazy in Love (made into a TNT Network feature movie), and Blue Moon, which has been made into a CBS television movie. Originally from Connecticut, she now lives in New York City with her husband.

(Publisher Provided) Luanne Rice is the author of ten novels, most recently Dream Country, Follow the Stars Home, and Cloud Nine. She lives in New York City and Old Lyme, Connecticut, with her husband.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-It has been exactly a year since Emily Lonergan's best friend, Lizzie Porter, has died from cancer. Lizzie's family moves out of town and Emily has taken to talking to Lizzie's spirit throughout the school day. As Emily is going home from school on Lizzie's one year death anniversary, Chloe, Lizzie's little sister, approaches Emily and tells her that she and her parents came to town to visit Lizzie's grave. Chloes asks Emily if she would like to come with them. Emily quickly agrees and the girls get in the Porter's van. As they pass the cemetery, Mrs. Porter tells Emily that she is now going to be Emily and live with them. When Emily struggles and tries to escape, she is drugged. When she wakes up groggy, her hair has been dyed to look like Lizzy's and contacts have been put in her eyes to match Lizzy's. Emily gives up hope that she will be found, and Mrs. Porter enrolls her at the local high school. Lots of twists and turns then occur leading up to the thrilling climax and denouement. The author's excellent, vivid writing style and extremely captivating plotting will immerse teens. Readers will feel like they are a part of Emily's world and experiences. VERDICT A must-purchase for all YA collections.-Jill Baetiong, Bloomingdale Public Library, IL © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

After she loses her best friend, Lizzie, to cancer, Emily's life takes a series of unimaginable turns all at the hands of trusted adults. A deranged, suspenseful fate awaits her when she accepts a ride from Lizzie's grieving parents, who kidnap her and try to turn her into the daughter they lost by dyeing Emily's hair, forcing her to wear colored contacts, and imprisoning her in a room. Emily lives there in fear for 69 days, enduring the worst kind of emotional trauma and plotting her escape once her kidnappers enroll her in school. Rice has created a masterful narrative full of intrigue and heart-pounding moments that will draw in readers and allow them to experience what could happen when depression drives someone to do the unthinkable. Using flashbacks, rich descriptions, and realistic story elements, Rice weaves together a tense tale of mystery and surreal experiences. Reading like a Emma Donoghue's Room (2010) with a YA twist, Rice's latest doesn't disappoint.--Tiffany Flowers Copyright 2019 Booklist



"I brought juice packs!" Mrs. Porter said. "In the cooler." "That's okay," I said. "I'm not thirsty." "Oh, but, sweetie -- I always brought juice when I picked you up from school." It jostled me to be called "sweetie" -- that's what she'd always called Lizzie. But my heart was aching for Mrs. Porter. It must have been intense to be talking to me -- the first time since Lizzie's funeral. "Have some," Chloe said, handing me an ice-cold pack of orange-mango juice. Perfect, I thought -- Lizzie's number one choice. I slugged some down. A few drops spilled on the beige seats. I wiped them up with the sleeve of my green army jacket. "How was school?" Mr. Porter asked, the first thing he'd said. "Pretty good," I said. "I have an English test tomorrow. Lots of homework . . ." At that second, I realized that in the excitement of seeing Chloe, I'd left my backpack next to the stone wall. "Oh, could we go back a sec, actually, I forgot . . ." I started to say. "Lizzie, English was always your best subject," Mrs. Porter said. "You'll have nothing to worry about. A poet, that's what I always said of you. My girl, the poet." "Um," I said. "You mean 'Emily.'" Lizzie wrote poems; I write plays. "It's better we start right now, sweetie," Mrs. Porter said. "No going back, no being stuck in old ways. You'll get used to it. We already have, haven't we, Chloe?" "Yeah," Chloe said, looking away from me, out the window. "Used to what?" I asked. I felt a tiny bit sick to my stomach -- not the most unusual thing in the world. I was known to get carsick, but not usually right here on the sleepy country lanes of my hometown. "Tell her, Chloe," Mrs. Porter said. "You're my sister," Chloe said. "True, we're just like sisters," I said. I looked across the seat at her, but she was still staring out the window. That's when I noticed we had driven past the cemetery. We were at the stop sign, about to turn onto Shore Road. "Not 'like,'" Mr. Porter said. Nausea bubbled up in me. I was going to be sick. "Please, could you pull over?" I asked. No one replied. Mr. Porter just drove faster, past the gold-green salt marsh. "Stop," I said, feeling dizzy. Mr. Porter didn't, though, and no one spoke. I saw the traffic light looming -- once we went through we'd be on I-95, the interstate heading to wherever -- and my head spun with the fact that these were people I loved, trusted as much as anyone, but who were acting so bizarre. This couldn't be happening -- I didn't even know what "this" was, but my gut was telling me it was now or never. This was my chance. We stopped at the red light. I grabbed the handle and pulled, trying to yank open the door. Nothing happened. Excerpted from Pretend She's Here by Luanne Rice All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.