Liar

Liar

3.5 61
by Justine Larbalestier
     
 

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Micah will freely admit that she's a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she'll ever tell you. Over the years she's duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents, and she's always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But

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Overview

Micah will freely admit that she's a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she'll ever tell you. Over the years she's duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents, and she's always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But is it possible to tell the truth when lying comes as naturally as breathing? Taking readers deep into the psyche of a young woman who will say just about anything to convince them--and herself--that she's finally come clean, Liar is a bone-chilling thriller that will have readers see-sawing between truths and lies right up to the end. Honestly.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
«“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

Publishers Weekly
Readers will get chills paging through Larbalestier's (How to Ditch Your Fairy) 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. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
Micah Wilkins is a compulsive liar. She has gotten herself into plenty of trouble in the past with her lies. Her parents do not trust her, her teachers do not trust her, and her classmates keep her at a distance. But to us, fellow reader, she will give the truth. Or so she claims. Micah tells the story of her boyfriend's disappearance in the first person, intertwined with stories from her background and, particularly, her family history. Despite her repeated confessions of dishonesty as she relates the events, Micah has a voice that you want to believe. This unique, unreliable narrator catches even a skeptical reader in her web of lies and is convincing in her quest for honesty. The clarity of thought and emotion masterfully make this unappealing character into someone you want to love. The truth of this story remains a question, even at the end of the book. There are several possible lines of truth, and it is up to the reader to decide which to believe. Micah's story is one that will linger long after the final page. This book is ripe for discussion. It will appeal to readers of both realistic fiction and fantasy. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
VOYA - Laura Panter
Micah is different. She is a loner, an enigma, and a compulsive liar. Micah lies so much that no one believes a word she says. First she is a boy, and then a hermaphrodite. Her father is an arms dealer. She has a brother. Then she never had a brother. Micah's boyfriend Zach disappears and turns up dead. Micah was the last person to see him alive. Or was she? Zach had a girlfriend, and it was not Micah—or so everyone claims. When Micah becomes a suspect in Zach's death, she decides to tell the total truth about her life, but even Micah's truth has lies. As Micah's story unfolds, the "truth" still contains small lies and omissions of what really happened. Micah claims the real truth is that she is a werewolf that transformations once a month and that she indirectly killed Zach. The police claim Zach was attacked by wild dogs. The thin line between truth and lies blurs continuously through Larbalestier's novel. Readers are enthralled, and then confused, but Micah's character is too engrossing to stop reading. Larbalestier spins a novel of twists and turns so dense that the reader never knows if Micah is lying about being a werewolf or not. The decision is left up to the reader as to what truly happened. The story flashes among the present, the past, and Micah's family history. As Micah's character admits to lies once more, readers are again exasperated but curious to find out how her story ends. It is an original read for teens who enjoy psychological thrillers. Reviewer: Laura Panter
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—That Micah Wilkins is a self-professed liar is about the only thing you can be sure of in this gripping, engrossing novel (Bloomsbury, 2009) by Justine Larbalestier that begs for discussion. Micah's life is irrevocably changed when the boy she had a secret relationship with is found brutally murdered and she is considered a suspect. The narrative shifts between "Before" and "After" the murder with occasional breaks for "Family History" and "History of Me," detailing, among other things, the family illness that she claims is at the heart of all her lies. Micah takes the unreliable narrator to new heights, keeping listeners off balance by sometimes sticking to the "truth" for long stretches before coming clean and, at others times, admitting to lies only moments after telling them. Channie Waites delivers a very strong and believable performance as the complex and often frustrating teen protagonist, shifting moods as seamlessly as Micah does and revealing all of her attitude, emotion, and vulnerability. By the end of this extraordinary book, listeners will either be desperate to discuss it with others or ready to delve right back in to listen again in an effort to figure out the truth—and most will probably want to do both.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, Douglass Branch, IL
Kirkus Reviews
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. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599903057
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
09/29/2009
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
637,701
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
HL470L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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