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review: “liar” September 29, 2009

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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Happy book birthday, “Liar!” Can’t wait to see you on the library’s shelf.


Liar by Justine Larbalestier.
Bloomsbury // ARC // 384 pages.
Reviewed from an ARC received at ALA Annual Conference 2009.

Micah Wilkins will tell you flat out that she’s a liar. Except, she promises, that this is the truth. Her secret boyfriend Zach is now dead, and she’s going to tell her story. Toss in some family secrets, the whole school thinking that Micah had something to do with Zach’s death, and her own tendencies to lie about everything and you’ve got yourself one interesting story and protagonist.

This book is an incredibly hard book to summarize without giving spoilers. I will probably pitch it to teens as “She’s a liar. Can you believe anything she says?” and hope that we get some bites from that.

I liked this book, but I’m still not one hundred percent sure about how I felt about it — if that makes any sense. It’s a fast, compelling read, and I know that readers will race to the end of the book trying to find out what really happened.

For me, it was a hard read at the same time because I had no idea if Micah was telling me the truth and had an even harder time trying to relate to her. When I found parts to connect with her, I had to sit there and wonder if that was a lie designed to make me like her, created by Micah to make Micah sympathetic. And then I sat back and thought about whether or not Micah herself even knew what was true or not anymore. By then, I had to re-read the last few lines to remember where I had been.

(Is your head spinning yet?)

That being said, I love Larbalestier’s writing and I don’t think that this kind of a novel would have worked with just any writer.

I’m patiently waiting for the official release date so that my teens can start reading the finished copy and we can start comparing how we felt about Micah. I will definitely be purchasing “Liar” for the library even though I’m still halfway baffled by the book.

SWAN catalog
Justine Larbalestier




1. Mandy - September 30, 2009

I agree. I actually put this book down 3/4 ths of the way through. I intend to go back to it and do a proper re-read, but at the time I just didn’t know if I was liking the book.

I do like the new cover, though. All of the controversy around the cover images was interesting to follow.

(By the way, the other day on my blog you asked if I’d be up to a Sweet Valley High first time reading to match your re-read of the first book. I am SO in, and I have a neat idea… May I e-mail you with it? My e-mail is mandy@wordsworthbooks.com)

readwhatyouknow - September 30, 2009

The cover controversy was something to see! I know that a lot of bloggers definitely had strong opinions.

Absolutely! My email is, predictably, readwhatyouknow@gmail.com.

2. Steph Su - October 1, 2009

Her writing in this WAS superb, although the story itself was rather difficult for me to swallow. I felt like I wanted something more out of the ending–a shocking revelation? The TRUTH? Dunno. But… yeah. It’s a difficult read, but so unique and well-written. Justine is an incredible author!

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