Liar, Liar

Overview

Sixth-grader Gretchen and her friends begin to have problems when a new girl starts telling some very believable, but untrue, stories.

Sixth-grader Gretchen and her friends begin to have problems when a new girl starts telling some very believable, but untrue, stories.

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Overview

Sixth-grader Gretchen and her friends begin to have problems when a new girl starts telling some very believable, but untrue, stories.

Sixth-grader Gretchen and her friends begin to have problems when a new girl starts telling some very believable, but untrue, stories.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Everything had been easy until sixth grade," laments DeClements's (Nothing's Fair in the Fifth Grade) refreshingly candid heroine at the opening of this thoughtful if inconsistent novel. The source of Gretchen's difficulty is Marybelle, a new girl in school whose first misstep comes during a "demonstration talk," when she shaves off part of wealthy, pretty Susan's thick strawberry blond hair and insists it was a mistake. The lonely and troubled Marybelle continues to weave a hopelessly tangled web untilin a final fateful deceitshe tells the other kids at school that her mother caught Gretchen stealing something from their house. Understandably miserable when her friends then turn against her, Gretchen relies for support on her sympathetic, very credible family. The tale's climax is an eerie, intervention-like encounter, masterminded by Gretchen's half-brother, in which her classmates confront a humiliated Marybelle. Though DeClements's central characters are strong, some of the adults are two-dimensional (e.g., Gretchen's mom is pretty, flighty and obsessed with getting married; Susan's mother is exacting and elitist), and her plotting is occasionally strained (why would Gretchen's friends believe Marybelle over her?). Despite these shortcomings, the author delivers a hard-hitting message about truth-telling. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Christopher Moning
Things weren't perfect in Gretchen's world before Marybelle moved to her school in Everett, Washington. With divorced parents and a last name like Griswald, how could they be? But ever since the dirty, ragged-looking Marybelle started butting into Gretchen's business, things have gotten a lot worse. First Marybelle butchers Gretchen's best friend Susan's hair during a class demonstration, and then Marybelle starts spreading stories about Susan, their teacher, and Gretchen herself. When Susan contracts hepatitis, Gretchen finds herself spending more time than she would like with Marybelle. Soon the destructive power of deception takes its toll, and no one seems to trust anyone. It takes a nifty plan by Gretchen's stepbrother to finally straighten out the mess that Marybelle's lies have created. But instead of feeling vindicated, Gretchen learns a lesson in compassion. Even liars have feelings. Gretchen, her friends, and her family are all part of a cycle of growth and human understanding.
Horn Book Magazine
In her signature unvarnished style, DeClements gives us some more plain truth about the sixth grade. Gretchen and her classmates had always gotten along reasonably well with one another, but a new girl, Marybelle, is stirring up trouble. To use one of the most pungent accusations of sixth-grade life, she's a liar. Marybelle tells Gretchen that she saw Susan, Gretchen's best friend, shoplifting. She tells Gretchen and Crystal that she saw their teacher kissing the principal ("they were really going at it"). Finally, she tells Susan that Gretchen stole from her house, and Susan, along with her formidable mother, believes it. While we do learn that Marybelle has a tough, impoverished home life, the most she gains from her classmates (and readers) is grudging sympathy, not forgiveness, after her lies are found out. DeClements knows this world well, and her readers will recognize it as their own.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761450214
  • Publisher: Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/1/1998
  • Series: Accelerated Reader Books Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 8.67 (h) x 0.69 (d)

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