Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)'s Reviews > Liar

Liar by Justine Larbalestier
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's review
Mar 30, 10

bookshelves: 2010, format-audiobook, cat-youth-audience, fiction, f-fantasy-scifi, f-general
Read from February 23 to March 23, 2010

It is very rarely that I choose to read a book without knowing anything at all about it. Since I don't get much reading time per month, I like to have some idea of the books I read and also whether they have been well-received. Liar was an exception. I had no idea what this book was about, except that the protagonist, Micah, who is also the narrator, is a liar. Funnily, that is all you need to know. Anything else is a spoiler.

I've written a spoiler-free review, and I recommend that if you haven't read this book, please do not read any reviews with spoilers. This story has to be read without knowing anything about it.

My opinion
Liar starts with a confession by Micah that she is a liar, followed by a promise that she will come clean in this story. So she does. Or does she? Her boyfriend, Zack, is dead, and she is shattered. But who killed him? Is she really his girlfriend? Is she even telling the truth? At one point, I almost expected her to shriek and say "April fool! Zack isn't dead!" OR "Gotcha! I invented Zack! The End!"

As Micah backtracks and changes her story, while also explaining her actions, I admit I felt pretty shocked! Some of the things I thought were lies, weren't. And some confessions that I fell for (which was a lot), were false. The major twist halfway through the story quite shocked me, since I didn't expect it at all. I won't say I entirely bought that twist then, but it fell into place as the story progressed.

Remember the story of the Blind men and an elephant? Each of the men touch one part of the elephant, and try to determine what it is. Their guesses are very different (rope, pillar, wall, etc). The story tries to show that two people could look at the same thing and yet, come up with very different conclusions. Liar is an excellent testimony to that, as the reader initially falls for Micah's lies and then when she says the truth, we accept that as being plausible as well!

Although this is a YA book, this is also what I would call YA-for-adults. I didn't cringe at any scene or dialogue, nor did I find any character to be straight out of a lame high school story. The major characters are pretty strong - Micah, Zack, Sarah, even Brandon, though I felt the minor characters to be insubstantial.

Unless you read audio books pretty fast, and don't mind shrilly* narrators, I would suggest you read the book. I wish I did, it might have made me appreciate it better. The narration in the first half of the story was very high-school-ish. Shrilly. Vociferous. Crying girls. Bullying jocks. But the latter part was very serene in pace. It could be because Micah started to grow on me by then, but the effect is very noticeable.

* (The narrator isn't really shrilly, but there are times, I thought my ears will explode. Especially when Micah is extra emotional or angry, or just plain upset.)

Overall, I will recommend this book. I wasn't sure if this idea of a liar as a narrator would work at all. But I would say it did. The concept is very unique, and I found myself eager to know how truthful Micah was in the end. I wasn't wow'ed by this book, but I think the audio book had more to do with that. However, I wasn't very impressed by the ending, and Liar left me with a few questions and some confusing conclusions about what the truths and the lies were.

Title Demystified
No surprise! Micah - the liar! Or not?

Cover Art Demystified
[image error]
I love this cover! I am so glad Bloomsbury caved in and changed the cover. The previous one isn't bad but it doesn't fully well capture the heritage of the protagonist AND the "I'm a liar" look in her eyes. Everything about Micah in this picture screams that fact. Her desire to stop lying is mirrored by her hands covering her mouth, but it is conflicted by her tendency to lie, as expressed by her piercing eyes .
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Reading Progress

02/23/2010 page 1
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly This book looks really good Aths. I just finished reading the book about Casey Anthony, queen of compulsive lying. It's hard to imagine why people are like that.

Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day) I agree. I am getting the same impression from this book. So many lies, when telling the truth wouldn't hurt. I just saw your review too of the Casey Anthony book. Scary stuff really! The poor toddler!

message 3: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly I know, poor little Caylee :( She was just the cutest little kid. There must something deeply, disturbingly wrong with people who lie like that and expect people to believe them. So strange. And yep, very scary!

Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day) Kelly wrote: "I know, poor little Caylee :( She was just the cutest little kid. There must something deeply, disturbingly wrong with people who lie like that and expect people to believe them. So strange. An..."

I agree, it's almost a psychological problem. I guess it's some compulsive desire to lie. Killing your own kid and lying! Shudder!

message 5: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly It's a crazy story for sure! I cannot WAIT for it to go to trial, cause I'll literally be following every second of it. The trial isn't set to start until May of 2011 though. Two and a half years after being charged with murder!!

Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day) Oh my .. that's such a long time for justice to come knocking!

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Aths, judging by your rating, I enjoyed this one more than you did. I think the author did an amazing job with this book.

message 8: by Athira (last edited Mar 23, 2010 04:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day) J. Kaye, I liked it too! The idea is quite novel. I just got bugged by the narration at times and by the ending. I got a bit confused towards the end, otherwise this one was good. I'm actually fluctuating between 3 and 4 stars. I'm still thinking about this book, lol!

message 9: by Alexis (new) - added it

Alexis Thompson The book itself would've been better if the author didn't confuse everyone.To me this is just another trashy teenage book as my teacher says.It wasnt worth my time reading.

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