Pretending to Be Erica (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Heiress Erica Silverman was kidnapped at age five and never seen again. Teenage con artist Violet has spent her whole life training to replace her. This cunning, cutting novel is more than a heist novel, more than a coming of age story: it’s a layered, complicated drama, dipping deep into Violet’s head as she starts to fall for the sweetness of a normal life, instead of the life of cons she’s always known. Violet--and Erica--demand and command your attention.

— From Liz's Kids Book Recommendations


We Were Liars meets Heist Society in a riveting debut!

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.

About the Author

Michelle Painchaud was born in Seattle, but grew up gate-crashing parties in sugar cane fields in Hawaii. Cats and anime take up what little part of her brain isn't harassed by stories of teenagers kicking ass. This is her first novel.
     She lives in San Diego, California and you can find her at and on Twitter: @michelleiswordy

Praise For…

Praise for Pretending to Be Erica
"The realistic, well thought-out plot with its unique cast of characters make this YA crime novel impossible to put down."—School Library Journal

"A thriller premise with a satisfying shades-of-gray resolution."—Kirkus Reviews

"This unique, dual first-person novel is a fascinating read. The good/bad protagonist is deep, different, and wonderful. The story is imaginative and engrossing. Readers both want to sympathize with and hate Violet. Her torment and angst about her duel lives are intriguing. She is a different kind of main character, an antihero with a heart and conscience. This book craves reading in one sitting. This excellent book is a must-have purchase for all libraries."—VOYA
Product Details
ISBN: 9780670014972
ISBN-10: 0670014974
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 21st, 2015
Pages: 272
Language: English