Normal Public Library Teens

Book Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Posted by Kristi on December 1, 2009

liar2

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Micah is a liar.  She has always lied.  It’s a family curse – she can’t help but lie to you.  But now, her classmate (and secret boyfriend) Zach has been killed under mysterious circumstances, and all of Micah’s carefully constructed lies are starting to crumble around her.  So Micah promises that this time she’s going to tell you the truth about what happened to Zach, and about her mysterious family history.  No lies, no omissions.  But can you really believe a word she says?

Whew.  I’m not sure how to describe this one without spoiling it for everyone.  I raced through it, desperate to find out what really happened to Micah and Zach, but even after finishing, I have no idea what the real truth is.  Micah is the queen of unreliable narrators, as she’ll tell you herself.  Throughout the book, she’s constantly revisiting things she’s told the reader are the absolute truth, only to confess that, well, maybe she’s still telling you a few tiny lies.  Over and over again this happens, until you’re not sure if you can trust that anything Micah’s telling you is the truth.  Add in a huge twist in the middle that takes the story in a completely unexpected direction, and an ending that does its best to avoid answering any questions, and you’ve got a suspenseful, page-turning read that doesn’t really fit in any genre category.

If you’ve read any of Labalestier’s other books (including the also wonderful Magic or Madness trilogy, and the fluffy but funny How to Ditch Your Fairy), be prepared for something completely different than anything else she’s done.  I can’t guarantee you’ll love it – it’s a frustrating read – but I think that anyone who’s into suspensful, creepy tales should give it a shot.  I thought it was great, and I’m adding it to my list of favorite books of 2009.

P.S. – If you’ve finished Liar and you’re looking for a good, spoilery place to discuss it with others, Larbalestier has provided a post to do so on her blog.  Actually, I’d highly recommend checking out her blog, period.  She’s hilarious and also provides some great tips for aspiring writers.

P.P.S – This has nothing to do with the rest of the thread, but did you know that Justine Larbalestier is married to Scott Westerfeld, writer of the Uglies and Midnighters trilogies, among others?  I love the idea of two great writers of young adult novels being together – wonder if they ever steal each other’s ideas?

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