The Tell Me Lies Book Comes to an End With Two Startling Turns


A bad relationship can occasionally be difficult to end. Tell Me Lies on Hulu is a drama that centers on a toxic relationship that develops over the course of eight years. When Stephen DeMarco (Jackson White) and Lucy Albright (Grace Van Patten) first cross paths in college, they instantly click. While their story initially seems like a typical campus romance, things quickly become complicated due to their divergent personalities and a wealth of shared secrets, including past relationships and a tragic campus death. Although Lucy quickly comes to the conclusion that Stephen is not the right person for her, she still finds it difficult to stop returning to him.

Based on the same-titled novel by Carola Lovering, the television program. Meaghan Oppenheimer, executive producer and showrunner, explains to Bustle why she was drawn to Lovering’s book. She asserts, “I believe that so many people have been in a relationship like this. It struck me as being very personal.

Oppenheimer notes, however, that despite the show’s adaptation of Lovering’s book, there are still significant differences between it and the Tell Me Lies book and ending. “There have been numerous changes. The organization is quite different. A lot of plot had to be added, she says. “The book is fantastic, but it’s very inward-looking. It’s a lot of what people are thinking, and you have to find a way to externalize that,” Oppenheimer says. Rather than constantly using voiceovers, she chose to have the characters say one thing while acting in a different way so that the audience would know that “they’re complete lies.”

She also condensed the multiple timelines of the book into just two to make the show less visually confusing. Although some of the specifics may have changed, she insisted that because they are so “iconic,” “some major plot points that happen in the finale are from the book.”

How Does Tell Me Lies End?

There are Tell Me Lies book spoilers below, so beware if you’re still interested in how it might all turn out. Similar to the television series, the book opens with Lucy getting ready for Bree’s wedding. The scene then quickly returns to Lucy starting her first year of college. Being away from her mother, whom Lucy has never forgiven for the “Unforgivable Thing,” makes her happy. She is also relieved to be out of the vicinity of the town where Macy Peterson, a childhood friend, mysteriously passed away years earlier. The official report stated that Macy, the younger sister of Lucy’s first crush, Gabe, died in a car accident after driving while intoxicated. However, Lucy has never trusted that account. Before she passed away, Macy claimed that she wasn’t drinking at the party and that she was simply leaving early to meet a new secret boyfriend. (Remembering this is crucial for later!)

Freshman Lucy meets Stephen at school, a junior who becomes fixated on getting her to sleep with him to divert his attention from his relationship with Diana, his on-and-off girlfriend, which is in trouble. They have a secret liaison, but Lucy is devastated to learn that Stephen is still deeply involved with Diana.

After graduating and moving to New York City, Stephen and Lucy maintain their years-long, illicit relationship, even as Stephen continues to hurt Lucy by dating someone else. In the book’s final chapter, Lucy comes to the conclusion that Stephen is not a good match for her. Even more shockingly, she realizes at last that Macy’s covert boyfriend, Stephen, also hails from the same town as Stephen. She knows Stephen was the boyfriend and that he probably played a role in her demise in some way.

Meanwhile, the reader already knows that this is the case because, in one of Stephen’s final chapters from his point of view, he confesses to having cheated on his girlfriend with Macy. He was the one driving while intoxicated, and Macy gave him oral sex before he killed her and totaled her car. He did not reveal to anyone that he was the driver because he did not want to jeopardize his life and future. Instead, he walked away from her body.

Finally, when Lucy runs into Stephen at Bree’s wedding, she has no sympathy for him. He lies and claims he doesn’t know Macy Peterson when she asks him about her. After some time, Lucy finally turns and walks away from him. She later makes peace with her mother; we later find out that the Unforgivable Thing was that Lucy had discovered her mother having an extramarital affair with Macy’s older brother and ex-boyfriend Gabe. Yikes.

The book is concluded by Lucy and her mother having a cordial phone conversation. Lucy claims that she is ready to finally leave New York, find some freelance work, and possibly decide whether or not to enroll in journalism school in order to fulfill her lifelong ambition of becoming a writer. At Bree’s wedding, she finally understood that Stephen only viewed her as “this source of entertainment — this thing,” and she tells her mother that she now understands that “I would never want to be that to anybody, not in a million years.”

Additional reporting by Samantha Leach.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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