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young adult book reviews & more

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

LiarThe only honest thing Micah will ever tell anyone is that she’s a compulsive liar, and she is—a very skilled one. She’s tricked everyone from teachers and classmates to psychiatrists and her own parents into believing even the most outrageous lies—that she’s a boy, that her father is an arms dealer, just to name a couple. But why? Because for Micah, lies are so much easier—to tell and believe—than the truth. When Micah’s maybe-boyfriend Zach is killed, all Micah’s lies start to get tangled up, prompting her to find the truth—a search that can only begin once Micah starts telling the truth. But even is Micah swears what she’s saying now is true, how can you ever completely believe a compulsive liar?

Liar is a truly fascinating psychological read. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it. Micah is such a complex, realistic, and unique narrator, born and raised in unusual circumstances that don’t allow her to tell her truth because it’s so unbelievable. Micah is such a good liar that the reader doesn’t know truth from falsehood until Micah says it so or tell the “real” truth. This entire novel is a guessing game, but that’s part of what makes it so intriguing, the peeling away of the lies in an attempt to reveal the real truth. Larbalestier’s dissection of a compulsive liar’s psyche is entirely authentic, as I’m sure anyone who’s ever told a lie will recognize. There is power and safety in lies, and it is interesting to see how Micah uses lies due to her understanding of this. Even though I was completely thrilled with Micah’s complicated character, I was somewhat unsatisfied with the story’s ending. It was frankly anticlimactic; also, so much truth remains unknown, what little is known is muddied with all of Micah’s lies, and the questioning of the validity of Micah’s truth is very disconcerting. There’s something about Micah, though; you can’t help but like her and simultaneously be disturbed by her lying. And it’s even possible that I might believe Micah in the end.

With humor and mystery, Liar is a modern read that delves into the ambiguities of life and the very words we say and the gray areas between truth and lie. Liar is very different from the only other novel by Larbalestier I’ve read, How to Ditch Your Fairy, but fans of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series and So Yesterday will enjoy this psychological novel.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from Amazon Vine

3 munch(es) :

Thao said...

Words of how great the book is are all around. I have to check out this one soon.

Kelsey said...

Wow I really need to get reading this! So many great reviews(:

Mary Ann DeBorde said...

Mary D

I'm with you. I read it, thought it was well written, a VERY good book ...
BUT - the ending was (to me) too oblique. I think it would have been better had there been just a LITTLE more of a hint as to how to determine what the actual truths really were.

still, I do recommend it :)

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