Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Liar Cover
Title:  Liar
Author:  Justine Larbalestier
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication date:  September 2009
Pages:  376
Genre:  Young Adult Fiction
Source:  Library

There’s so much I DON’T want to tell you about this book!  I liked it so much but mostly, I think, because I knew very little going in.  There’s some surprises in this novel, and I really don’t want to spoil any of them for you!  But let me give a quick synopsis that will, hopefully, entice you to pick it up for yourself. 🙂  Liar starts out with a bang:  Micah’s sort-of boyfriend disappears in the first couple of pages, and then we find out he is actually dead.  Then Micah tells us several more important things about herself, her friends, and her family, and then she says – get this – that she is a compulsive liar.  But that “you” (meaning the reader) are the only person she can tell the truth to.  And then, fairly quickly in the story, it becomes clear that she’s already lied to us about a few things.  It becomes very difficult to figure out what’s really going on with Micah, when we cannot even discern what is reality and what is just another lie from Micah.

Talk about an unreliable narrator!  The fact that the reader cannot trust Micah is the coolest, but most frustrating, aspect of this book.  There’s so much that happens between these pages, so many twists and turns, but throughout the novel I never really could figure out what I was supposed to believe and what was actually a lie.  What was also annoying was that I ended up liking Micah – I thought she was such a sympathetic character because of all the stuff she was dealing with at such a young age – but I almost felt that she was manipulating me into liking her.  I just hated that I couldn’t figure her out!  But the fact this stuff bothered me is the mark of an awesome book – if I wasn’t so invested in this story and its characters, I wouldn’t be so irritated by the fact that I couldn’t figure out the narrator!

Even as I closed the book, I was still feeling extremely unsettled by the events inside.  I was still not one hundred percent sure what was true and what wasn’t.  Normally if I finish a book and still don’t “get it”, I am extremely irritated and semi-mad at the author for doing that to me.  But with Liar, I was definitely still irritated, but almost in a good way.  It’s more like I appreciate what Larbalestier did with the novel, and while I still want to know more, I understand why I’m still sort of in the dark and I’m okay with that.  That should definitely tell you how much I enjoyed this novel!

I definitely recommend this one.  Intense, interesting, complex, and with one supremely awesome (although unreliable) narrator.  Liar is a perfect example of excellent YA. 🙂

Here are some more reviews of Liar.

10 thoughts on “Liar by Justine Larbalestier”

  1. I haven’t read this one, but I think that’s always the mark of a great book- one where you hate the protagonist, or can’t figure things out, or the chain of events are frustrating- and yet you come away having loved the book, because it was just so well done.

  2. In a way, it was kind of a good thing that the buzz about this one was all about the cover. Larbalestier got the PR to get the book off the ground but without having to give away the story to get it sold.

  3. So, you still don’t know for sure what’s true and you still liked the book and would recommend it? That’s is very encouraging.

  4. I definitely plan on reading this one soon — I love when narrators force me to second-guess myself! And bombs dropped partway through books that force me to rethink what I’ve read are really fun. Great review!

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