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Justine Larbalestier’s Liar Is Unlike Anything I’ve Ever Read

February 27, 2010

Liar by Justine Larbalestier
published by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books September 29, 2009

Micah is 17, living in a low-rent apartment in New York City with her parents. One thing she tells you about herself, up front, is that she’s a liar. Micah makes up outrageous stories about herself and uses them on her classmates. She laces them with a bit of truth and peppers them with believable details. That skill, coupled with the fact that people want to believe what they’re being told, makes her lies work. People believe her. Of course she’s not lying to you, the reader. This is the moment she’s coming clean about everything — really. Well, maybe she lied to you about a few little things. You actually believed that? How dumb are you, anyway?

I won’t say much about the plot — this is a book that you should read without knowing anything about the story beforehand. Just jump in. Believe me, it was nothing like what I expected — that’s what made it terrific.

Reading Micah’s narrative, I had an edgy, uneasy feeling. I knew certain things didn’t feel right, but I wasn’t sure which parts were true. I’d gone through the looking glass — the aspects of Micah’s story that seemed most plausible were those she later “outed” as being lies, and the things that sounded most outrageous actually seemed the most believable. Even at the end of the book, I was left wondering. Not only the ending, but the whole story, was very much open to interpretation.

This novel is incredibly cleverly constructed and told in a unique voice. The “unreliable narrator” has always been an interesting device, but I daresay Justine Larbalestier now owns that literary convention. 😛 If someone had described the plot of Liar to me, before I read it, I would have rolled my eyes. C’mon, that will never work. But honestly, folks, I couldn’t put this novel down.

Read More Reviews: The Book Smugglers; Presenting Lenore ( This one is clever and unique. :-)); My Friend Amy; The Zen Leaf

Rating:

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 18, 2010 5:56 pm

    I just reviewed this book as well and totally agree about the uneasy feeling, never knowing what was true and what wasn’t! And, it’s difficult to review because you just can’t say a lot about the plot without ruining it!

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