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My Life with the Liars Hardcover – March 8, 2016
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“Absorbing from page to page.” (Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor author)
“A searing story with a hopeful resolution.” (Kirkus)
“Readers will be transfixed. Zylynn is well portrayed as a devout but confused young girl. Carter takes readers on a journey with Zylynn to uncover her past and reconcile it with her future in this thought-provoking and highly discussible novel.” (School Library Journal)
“Carefully paced. Readers will feel keenly the simultaneous wish to make Zylynn see how awful her life was while also allowing her to experience the grief of losing all she knew.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
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Zylynn finds herself in the Darkness with Louis and knows she has only 10 days to return to the Light. She has heard stories of this Darkness and it chills her to out alone amongst it. It becomes her mission to return to her home in the Light. She feels that the less that she speaks the more she knows Father Prophet will be pleased with her. Louis claims to be father and inside this Darkness he says, she has a mother and siblings waiting for her but Father Prophet and Mother God have already claimed those titles for her. Zylynn’s world was sheltered and closed-off inside the Light; Father Prophet controlled his flock of followers. Zylynn was told about the Darkness, how it was full of Liars and how the Light could not save them from their anguish. His followers knew that they must be inside the Light by their thirteenth birthday or they were doomed. Zylynn had ten days to find her way back to the Light before her birthday or she would forever be living in torture, forever living in terror, forever living in the Darkness with the Liars.
I was hooked immediately upon reading the first chapter of this novel. It wasn’t a horrendous or gruesome novel dealing with the cult; it dealt more with mind control. Zylnn was taken to Father Prophet’s compound at small age, she knows no other life. When she enters the Darkness, she doesn’t know how to interact in her new environment. Her whole life she has been governed by rules and now she has no direction and she feels lost and alone. I found myself screaming, “Give her some rules! Give her boundaries!” as she needs to feel safe and secure. I loved while she was emerging into her new environment and learning about it, her vocabulary words from the Light came into play. Inserting them into her new world, she attempted to comprehend what was occurring. As the days go by, she begins to enjoy some of “dangers” from the Darkness and I could feel the sway in Zylynn’s tone. How can this be? All these years she was warned about the dangers and now living amongst them, she is finding some of them enjoyable and wondering if she could take some of them back with her to the Light. Zylynn thoughts turn to Jaycia, the girl who left the Light and didn’t turn before her 13th birthday, will Zylynn be like her or will she get home to the Light and be safe before her birthday? What actually happened to Jaycia, for Zylynn misses her and loved her. I thought this novel was a great read before but now as I turned the page, this novel throws Zylynn into an emotional twister. Zylynn gets the answer to her question but it’s not the answer that she wanted to hear. Sometimes though, that is how it is. I really wanted a different ending; I liked everything leading up to the conclusion but the ending itself, not so much.
Zylynn was raised in a cult. Right before her 13th birthday her father breaks her out, but Zylynn doesn’t know he’s her father. She doesn’t know much of anything about the normal world. She’s desperate to get back to the Children Inside the Light before she turns 13 and is cast out to the darkness forever.
This first-person narrated book is so well written. It’s amazing to think about all of the things that Zylynn would not know being raised in a cult. I couldn’t put this book down. It was just so fascinating. I love books dealing with extreme religion, but this book is by far the best that I have read.
I was a little frustrated with her father and his wife because I didn’t feel like they did a good job explaining anything to Zylynn. I can see why that was done. It would have made the book resolve too quickly if they had explained things, but as a mother it was hard to read about their poor parenting.
Other than that one issue, this book was flawless. Middle grade fiction doesn’t always appeal too me, but this book wasn’t at all “dumbed down.” It’s very intelligent and insightful. It would spark great conversation with children and adults alike. I highly recommend it.
Blog: Opinionated Book Lover