Liar

( 60 )

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 ...

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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.

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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)
The Barnes & Noble Review
Micah Wilkins, the provocative narrator of Justine Larbalestier's fifth young adult novel, is a dedicated fabulist, "a third generation liar." On the first day of high school, she pretends to be a boy; when she's outed by her girlish laugh, she claims she's a hermaphrodite. Four years later, Micah still lies -- out of habit but also out of self-defense, because, like many a YA heroine, she doesn't quite fit in with her peers. She's "half black, half white; half girl, half boy; coasting by on half a scholarship." She's not actually half girl and half boy, but she is, as she eventually admits, half wolf. Though this revelation comes more than halfway through the book, most readers will have already guessed Micah's secret, thanks to Larbalestier's gently escalating hints; if they are anything like this particular reader, they will feel very pleased with themselves for having done so. But Micah's werewolf-ism isn't her primary problem: the real source of her trouble is the mysterious Central Park death of her secret boyfriend, Zach Rubin. Publicly, Zach dated a popular girl named Sarah; privately, he chose Micah. "I could hear his [heart] beating when I slept, taste his breath," Micah thinks. "It was as if he'd crawled under my skin. Under it, always there. Even after he died." Her grief is quickly complicated by a desire for vengeance: when the police announce that dogs killed Zach, Micah realizes the culprit is another heretofore unknown Manhattan werewolf. Larbalestier lets Micah's story unfold in episodic and sometimes contradictory chapters (after all, when a congenital liar vows to "tell you my story and...tell it straight," only the gullible will believe her). Despite her fibs and omissions, Micah is a sympathetic narrator, and her story -- an unconventional blend of adolescent coming-of-age and psychological thriller -- is hard to stop reading. --Emily Chenoweth
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599903057
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/29/2009
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 404,426
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

JUSTINE LARBALESTIER is the author of the award-winning Magic or Madness trilogy. She wishes she had a clothes shopping fairy instead of the procrastination fairy she battles with almost every day. She is married to author Scott Westerfeld and divides her time between Sydney and New York City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 60 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Depends on your taste in literature

    In the book "LIAR" by justine Larbalestier the main character, Micah, promises to tell you the truth about her life. But Micah's never told the truth to anyone, not her parents, not her friends, not anyone, and sometimes she has trouble remembering what the truth really is.At the beginning of the Micah tells you how she came to find out that her secret boyfriend, Zach, has been savagely murdered. She then introduces two characters that come up later in the book, Sarah,Zach's other girlfriend; and Tayshawn, Zach's best friend. She then goes on to switching back and forth from telling you about her past to her present, explaining her time spent with Zach and her "family ilness", which is another main part of the plot. This story overall does not have much of a climax as the character is never in any real threat of danger. However, if there were two main events that had an effect on the plot, it would be the first and second time that she reveals that she has not told you the honest truth. The first time makes you think that she will now be telling you what really happened, but when she then reveals for the second time that she has not told you the truth, you start to doubt whether anything she is telling you is true. I thought this book was as a whole, ok, but there were many thing that it would have been better without. One of these is the constant alternating between her explaining her past and her present every two pages or so. I found this made it very difficult to really get into the story, which made reading it a less enjoyable experience. I think it would have been better had it been in chapters of 5 or 6 pages each. I liked the idea that the author was going for, that you had an unreliable narrator telling you what she knew about the murder and having to figure out the truth, but the way it was executed kept me from fully appreciating it. It may have been the fact that when I picked up this book, I expected it to be a mystery book, but instead it was more of a blend between fiction and fantasy with a slight a bit of a mystery to drive the story. I also disliked the way it portrayed the relationship between her and Zach. She claims that she loves him but the way she describes him does not make him a very like-able character. He takes to having another girlfriend, Sarah, because he's afraid he'd lose his popularity if he admitted to dating Micah and on top of that does not treat her very well. I'm not sure whether the author was trying to portray their relationship as romantic, but if so, it did not come off that way. Truthfully, I wish i had not spent my money on this book and I'd be rather reluctant to recommend this book to someone. If you still truly desire to read this book, i suggest going to a library or borrowing it from a friend.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Do not waste your time.

    I love book. I love reading. And this is one book i wish i never picked up. It was well written and had an O.k. plot.....but truly i wish i never read the book. Its weird but not in a weird good book kind of way. Just take my advise this truly is a book you do not ever want to read. I dreaded trying to finish the book.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Liars

    After reading the reviews posted here, I was compelled to write one of my own. Many readers are frustrated with the presence of lies within the writing, but then they say the characters are unbelievable. A little oxymoronic, no? You expect a believable liar to tell you the whole truth. Interesting. The book was engaging, intelligent, and it held me to keep reading--solely because I wanted to know the truth. When I found that she lied, I always read faithfully on.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Confused

    When I began reading this book I was very intrigued by both Micah and the storyline. I can honestly say that I was very much enjoying the book. But, I thought it was realistic teen fiction not fantasy. All the "gentle hints" in the book were not enough to tell me she was a werewolf. This completely ruined the book for me. There is a genetic disease that causes people to get hair all over their bodies and many people can be secretive about their families (although maybe not to her extent. I have stopped reading this book because despite the fact that i want to see how it ends and what happened to Zach, i don't know if i can stand to keep reading it. This was a huge disapointment.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    In depth

    Great book but i think you need to be a certain level of deep to understand it. Great read and very cute!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Luuuuuuuuuv It;) (Press to read comment)

    This book is.......AWESOME!!! I Love how everthing seem so connected!!! Everytime you saw a chapter that said"After", it's a continuation for the next "After" you just read. (If i'm saying that right. LOL:) At first, you would think Micah was telling you the truth the whole time,but she was lying!! The thing that got me the most,and which they could have better on,was the werewolf thing. They could have made something else up,cuz really a werewolf. It doesn't even fit in with the whole concept. But on other hands, the novel was very good and it kept me on the edge of my seat (Like it literally did. Like i gasped and everything.......LOL). I highly recommend this book,hands down and i hope you enjoy it as much as i did. THX!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    Children

    Don't let the kids read this since there are some REALLYbad parts in the book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

    5 stars for Liar

    I read this book to review for my library and I have to say, although there is some sex, it is an awsome book. The unexpected paranormal twist that is so popular right now flows relly well with the story and Micah just can't tell the truth, which keeps you guessing the entire way. Overall, great book. I Would definitly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Awsome

    I loved this book. It is a little slow paced at first and some parts are weird but it is a really good book once you start reading it in my opinion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I'd be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy this!

    Micah has a problem - and it has nothing to do with her being allergic to the truth. Her not-boyfriend-although-secretly-sneaking-around-with-him boy friend has been murdered, and she may or may not know the who and the why and the how. But that's not the problem. No, the problem is that lying has become natural to Micah as breathing - and so no one will even believe her if she comes forward with anything close to the truth. As far as Micah is concerned, the truth gets hairier by the second.

    You may remember my less-than-stellar review of Justine Larbalestier's debut How To Ditch Your Fairy, so pardon me when I admit that I waited a while before I dived into LIAR despite seeing positive reviews. Boy, did I miss out! LIAR reminded me of FIGHT CLUB or A BEAUTIFUL MIND where nothing is what they seem - and you have a less-than-reliable narrator who will keep you guessing until the end. Except Justine Larbalestier leaves readers with a BETTER Gordian knot to unravel. There were some slow moments, but they were deliciously intertwined with more complicated happenings that will give readers some time to digest the lies and truths Micah admits - particularly when they take an unexpected detour to the paranormal.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    origional twist on a popular subject trend with the teens

    Sorry about the headline, I was trying not to give anything away. I read this for our school librarian to see if it was accepable for circulation at a high school library. It had an origionality about it that I liked. The cover is great it will get their attention. Though sex is mentioned it does not go into great detail about it. I believe they see worse on prime time tv. I think that the teens will enjoy Micha and some may be able to relate to her feeling like an outsider at school and relate with how she deals with death. It is a good story about accepting yourself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2011

    Ugh

    The thing about this book, is that it's slow paced and the character practically impossible to relate to or to find likable. Some parts weren't as bad as others, but really I think you shouldn't even take a second glance at this :P

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    It ROX!!!

    I loved it! It was awesome. The whole meaning of the book blends together in her lies.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2009

    Liar

    In the book Liar is about a girl who lies a lot. She has a secret love with a boy he dies and she is blamed if you like drama types of books you will like this one. As you read my advice to you is read until the end even if it gets boring at parts.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    AWFUL BOOK

    If you thought this book was wonderful....wow....
    It was written pretty okay at first. But i just had one tiny little problem with this book.
    THE PLOT WENT TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET!!!!
    How do you go from any ordinary plot to werewolves!!
    DUMB

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    A

    Started out ok. Wasn't my cup of tea

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    What

    It was good but micah is such a liar an doesnt deserve zach. She should have been wih the greats her whole life.micah disgusts me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2013

    Read it, you have to!

    I felt as if i was the character or if i was talking to her as a friend. This book is more realistic than any other i have read and i loved it so much that this is the only book i have ever written a review for( and i read a lot of books).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    Good

    I enjoyed the book but I can't say it was much of a thrillar.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013

    Wow This is too allthe one star or two star people

    I personaly dont know wat u people are talking about this is a really great book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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