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Get First Lie Wins book club questions for Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick here. This twisty book follows the suspenseful career of a young woman caught in a web of lies and deceptive identity. You’ll be fully prepared to explore these themes with your group. Print a PDF of the discussion questions to take with you below as well.

first lie wins by ashley elston.

First Lie Wins Book Club Questions

Discuss the meaning of the title, First Lie Wins, particularly in the context of this quote: “There’s an old saying: The first lie wins. It’s not referring to the little white kind that tumble out with no thought; it refers to the big one. The one that changes the game. The one that is deliberate. The lie that sets the stage for everything that comes after it. And once the lie is told, it’s what most people believe to be true. The first lie has to be the strongest. The most important. The one that has to be told.”

The author, Ashley Elston, described Evie Porter as “morally gray.” How is this presented in the novel?

Reese Witherspoon described this book as “a cat & mouse game.” How is this presented in the novel?

Compare and contrast First Lie Wins to other con artist books you’ve read.

Compare and contrast First Lie Wins to other psychological thrillers you’re read.

Compare and contrast First Lie Wins to other Reese’s book club books you’ve read.

Why did the author choose to begin the novel with Evie meeting Ryan’s friends?

Why did the author choose a Southern setting (Louisiana, Georgia, etc.)?

What attracts Evie to Ryan Sumner and why?

Was this job the only logical choice for Evie?

Discuss the motivations behind Evie’s actions throughout First Lie Wins.

Compare and contrast Evie and Ryan.

Discuss Evie’s past and how it affected her present.

Discuss the imposter Lucca Marino storyline.

Discuss the Amy Holder storyline.

Discuss the Andrew Marshall storyline.

Discuss Devon’s role in Evie’s life.

Why did the author use flashbacks and multiple timelines so heavily?

Discuss the significance of the origami swans.

Discuss the theme of identity in First Lie Wins.

What roles do truth and lies play in First Lie Wins?

Discuss the pacing of this suspenseful thriller.

Were you able to keep track of this complex plot?

Did you find any holes in the execution of such a detailed plot?

Did the identity of Evie’s boss, Mr. Smith, surprise you?

Compare and contrast Evie and Mr. Smith.

What did you think was in the deposit box?

Do you believe Ryan and Evie told each other the truth?

Did the ending of First Lie Wins surprise you?

What do you think Evie will do in the future?

Printable PDF Discussion Questions

first lie wins book club questions printable pdf.


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Why First Lie Wins Is a Good Book Club Book

  • #1 New York Times bestseller
  • Reese’s Book Club pick
  • Optioned for television by ABC Signature

First Lie Wins is a good book club book because it takes you on one crazy ride! This suspenseful book was the first book of January 2024 that everyone raved about on social media. It’s a suspenseful tale that also offers many “good vs. evil” questions that make you think.

Who is author Ashley Elston?

Ashley Elston‘s first adult novel is First Lie Wins. She previously wrote six young adult novels.

Quick Synopsis of the Thrilling Plot

In First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston, Evie Porter is the alias of the protagonist. She’s a woman who works for a mysterious man named Mr. Smith. Circumstances forced her into a life of crime, in which her job is to infiltrate the lives of her targets and extract information.

When the thriller begins, the protagonist Evie is starting to fall for Ryan Sumner, the man to whom she is currently assigned. Through Ryan, she meets a woman who bears Evie’s real name, and she begins to have suspicions about her boss.

This causes a chain of twists and leads Evie to a suspense-filled fight to save her life. It also reveals details of her past and prior jobs, weaving together her past, present, and future into one twisted story with a thoughtful conclusion.

Themes to Keep In Mind

  • truth
  • identity
  • hidden motives
  • morality and morally gray characters
  • cat and mouse chase
  • multiple timelines

Quick Book Review & Helpful Reading Tip

My Review: ★★★★☆

In First Lie Wins, Elston delivers a satisfying, fast-paced tale that’s impressive for an adult debut.

This is a totally unique thriller with a very clever plot that seamlessly weaves details of the past and present while also keeping you guessing at every turn. It was truly unlike any other thriller I’ve read—and I’ve read a lot.

Beyond the twists, it forces you to think about right and wrong, which so few books of this type do. It also makes a statement about the nature of one’s personal identity and how it changes over time.

This unpredictable con artist novel is utterly filled with thrills, and it’s bound to be a top beach read and a top book club choice this year. It’s not “just” a thriller, which is part of what has made it so popular with readers.

Reading Tip: I listened to the First Lie Wins audiobook and didn’t find it difficult to follow the complex plot, though I know other readers who enjoyed the print and ebook versions too.

What to Read After First Lie Wins

If you’re looking for similar book club books to read next, check out these twisty thrillers with lots of suspense:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the theme of the First Lie Wins?

First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston primarily explores the theme of identity and how the main character, Evie Porter, can change her life each time she takes on a new identity. It also explores how identity can connect a person to his or her past.

What is the summary of the First Lie Wins?

In First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston, Evie Porter seems to have a perfect life, but it’s all pretend for her con artist job. Things become complicated when she starts to fall for the man she’s supposed to be fooling, and a meeting with his friends threatens both her secret and her life.

Who is the main character in the First Lie Wins?

Evie Porter is the main character in First Lie Wins. This is the alias she goes by as the employee of a mysterious man named Mr. Smith. Her job is to infiltrate the lives of people to whom she’s assigned and extract information about them.


These Fourth Lie Wins book club questions help you dive into one very satisfying and suspenseful thriller. With these curated discussion questions, you’ll have more lively talks about truth versus lies. Your book club will love reading and discussing this popular and shocking page-turner.

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