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Liar Kindle Edition

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Length: 385 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—Biracial Micah Wilkins, 17, is the quintessential unreliable narrator. On the first page, she readily admits she's a liar though now she wants to tell her story straight. She attends a progressive private high school in New York City. She's a bit peculiar, with extra-human speed and sense of smell, and has few friends. After another student, a popular senior named Zach, is found brutally murdered, it comes to light that he and Micah had a relationship outside of school. Now she is considered a suspect. Her suspenseful, supernatural tale is engrossing and readers will be tempted to fly through it, though the wise will be wary of her spin and read carefully for subtle slipups and foreshadowing. The chilling story that she spins will have readers' hearts racing as in three sections she goes from "Telling the Truth," to "Telling the True Truth," to "Telling the Actual Real Truth," uncovering previous lies and revealing bizarre occurrences in the process. Micah's narrative is convincing, and in the end readers will delve into the psyche of a troubled teen and decide for themselves the truths and lies. This one is sure to generate discussion.—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA END

Review

Readers will get chills paging through Larbalestier's suspenseful novel about a compulsive liar who becomes a suspect in her boyfriend's murder. Micah admits it is hard to believe a girl who has pretended "she's a boy, a hermaphrodite, or that her daddy's an arms dealer," but when Zach, the popular boy who was secretly seeing her "after hours," is found dead, Micah claims innocence, promising to tell readers her story with "No lies, no omissions." But the supernatural tale she tells may be her wildest yet. Micah composes her story in short sections labeled "Before" and "After" (the murder), as well as "History of Me," "Family History" and other categories. This is a well-paced novel with a masterfully constructed unreliable narrator, confessing to lies she has told readers along the way ("You buy everything, don't you? You make it too easy") and explaining how she makes lies believable. Could Micah really be innocent, or is she a confused girl who killed out of jealousy? Is she even human? Readers will be guessing and theorizing long after they've finished this gripping story. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Micah declares herself a liar and calls her own reliability as a narrator into question on the first page of this dark, gripping page-turner. When Zach, the boy with whom she might or might not be romantically involved, goes missing, Micah tries to tell the story of her tortured relationships with Zach and her classmates, teachers and family. Is Micah a killer? Quite possibly yes, but she weaves lies and truths together so artfully that even as she admits her deceptions, she becomes an increasingly compelling and sympathetic character. Micah's fractured first-person narrative skips around chronologically, further deepening the confusion about what has really happened in her life. The constant reversals keep readers guessing, a plot device that threatens to wear thin by the halfway point of the novel, but Larbalestier moves the plot nimbly past this moment, creating such an engrossing story of teenage life on the margins that even readers familiar with her Magic or Madness trilogy might not see the supernatural twist (or not) coming. In the end, it calls to mind I Am the Cheese with its hermetic wiliness. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

* Biracial Micah Wilkins, 17, is the quintessential unreliable narrator. On the first page, she readily admits she's a liar though now she wants to tell her story straight. She attends a progressive private high school in New York City. She's a bit peculiar, with extra-human speed and sense of smell, and has few friends. After another student, a popular senior named Zach, is found brutally murdered, it comes to light that he and Micah had a relationship outside of school. Now she is considered a suspect. Her suspenseful, supernatural tale is engrossing and readers will be tempted to fly through it, though the wise will be wary of her spin and read carefully for subtle slipups and foreshadowing. The chilling story that she spins will have readers' hearts racing as in three sections she goes from "Telling the Truth," to "Telling the True Truth," to "Telling the Actual Real Truth," uncovering previous lies and revealing bizarre occurrences in the process. Micah's narrative is convincing, and in the end readers will delve into the psyche of a troubled teen and decide for themselves the truths and lies. This one is sure to generate discussion. (School Library Journal, starred review)

Product Details

  • File Size: 821 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1 edition (May 18, 2010)
  • Publication Date: May 18, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003NSBMBC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,086 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am an Australian-American writer. My latest novel is Razorhurst, which takes place on a winter's day in 1932 when Dymphna Campbell, a gangster's moll, and Kelpie, a street urchin who can see ghosts, meet over the dead body of Dymphna's latest lover, Jimmy Palmer. The three of them tip the balance in a bloody underworld power struggle. Razorhurst publishes in the USA in March 2015.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
LIAR is a book about Micah, a girl for whom, and from whom, the truth doesn't easily come. Her family is crazy-odd, and not surprisingly she has problems fitting in at school and even at home.

Told in first person, Micah begins her story by warning us that she's a liar. She promises that while she can't stop lying to everyone in her life, that she intends to tell us the truth. I, personally, thought this untrustworthiness provided an interesting element to the story, and didn't quite find it as annoying as other reviewers have. I thought she was earnest in 'trying' to be truthful, but as is the case with liars you can't really trust them regardless of what the claim, even when they claim they were lying.

Now all of this, the lying, the odd family, might not have become such a problem except Micah's secret boyfriend, Zach, goes missing and then shows up dead. [Secret? You bet. You see Micah's boyfriend was a popular boy who had another, prettier girl, Sarah, who he hung out with at least half the time. But when it came to skipping school or playing hoops, or just on the other days, then he was Micah's friend.]

In any case, the murder happens pretty early on and is the pivotal point around which the rest of the book unfolds. It's how we, and Micah, come to know Zach's other girlfriend, and how we get to know more about the 'family disease'.

Elements:::

"Liar" is a convoluted story with more than one mystery boiling in the pot. It's told in a first person chatty style by a character who admits she's a liar. Justine Larbalestier is more than competent when it comes to being able to do this voice justice, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

That said, I didn't find the characters in this book terribly engrossing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By I. Sundberg on June 2, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Liar is an interactive book. You won't realize it until you're halfway through it, but the story isn't just about Micha (a compulsive liar), it is also about you. In the first paragraph Micha informs you that she never tells the truth, but this time (for you) she'll make an exception. As Micha starts to recount the events surrounding the mysterious murder of her boyfriend you are forced to ask yourself which parts are true and which are not. The story oscillates between the real world and the paranormal, only to ground itself in a confession of lies (which of course is not very grounding). And all along you find yourself wondering what to believe. Not only is this book expertly plotted (I am amazed at Larbalestier's ability to weave lies and truth together to fluidly), but LIAR forces you to become an active participant. As the narrative unfolds you find yourself saying: Is that true? No way! Oh maybe that part is real. Oh wait, that make sense taking into account what she said in the second chapter. And so on. When the novel ends you wonder if any of it is true, and if the whole book is a lie. And there in lies the paradox. Because - yes - all of it is a lie. Every book and work of fiction that we read is a lie. None of these stories are true. An perhaps that's part of the point. LIAR masterfully pulls back the veil between reality and fiction and you realize that this story has come alive - because you - here in "the real world" have become a part of the story. And in the end the question isn't - is Micha telling the truth - so much as what do you choose to believe. The book is about you.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Anidori-Isilee on July 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I was holding "Liar" in my hands, so excited to read it (I really like Justine Larbalestier's writing), I realized something: I didn't know how to read "Liar". How do you read a book when you actually know you may not be able to trust the narrator?

I still haven't figured it out. If you try reading it like a normal book, your mind keeps reminding you that the main character is a liar. Micah keeps reminding you that she lies. Except this, she says, is the truth.

But is?

"Liar" is about the aftermath of Micah's secret boyfriend's mysterious and brutal death. Micah swears she didn't kill him, but not everyone believes her, and why should they? Micah's an unpopular outcast, and a liar, and everyone knows it.

So is "Liar" even at all true? Or is it all one big lie?

Yeah. See my confusion?

The stuff I loved about the book?

Larbalestier's writing. I don't really number Larbalestier as one of my favorite authors, but I think that's just because none of her books are among my favorites. But I do love her writing and her ideas. All of her YA novels have stellar concepts. "Liar" is no exception. It's the execution--the plot twists--that I find shaky, but more on that latter. I just have no complaints about how Larbalestier puts a book together, neither the way she constructs her sentences or the way she pieces together the plot.

For example, "Liar" does not unfold linearly. The narrative is broken into short sections: "Before", "After", "Family History", "History of Me", etc. It keeps the story moving at a good pace, and it keeps you intrigued because you don't get the information all at once. Micah holds some important information back; it makes it easy to believe that Micah is actually telling you the story.
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Topic From this Discussion
The Cover
I just heard about this book from a children's editor's blog, and she mentioned the same thing. If the character is black, why would they put a white (or Asian, though I didn't get that impression) person on the cover? Are they implying that Micah lied about her race, too? I don't get it.
Jul 21, 2009 by M. Kemmerer |  See all 5 posts
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