Galla's Reviews > The Liar Society

The Liar Society by Lisa Roecker
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's review
Jan 03, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, mystery
Read in June, 2011

A number of reviewers have pointed out that the most obvious influences for The Liar Society are Veronica Mars and Nancy Drew. This is true. Unfortunately, this book won't be supplanting Veronica or Nancy in my affections anytime soon.

For one thing, the parallels between VM struck me as awfully... numerous. If they were accidental, so be it, but if they were intentional, it's a whole lot of homage.

- The main character, Kate Lowry, has become a loner after the death of her best friend, Grace.
- Flashbacks to the period before Grace's death include lines like, "I've got a secret." (NB: the secret was NOT, "I'm banging Aaron Echolls and have videos.")
- Kate has a male friend (very firmly "friend zone") who conveniently works in the office at their prep school, and has access to tardy slips and keys.
- Kate pursues the mystery behind her friend's death doggedly, despite threats and ominous pronouncements like, "You're close. Probably too close."

While the authors did do a good job with atmosphere, particularly at tense moments in the narrative, I found the mystery rather predictable. (view spoiler)

While Kate herself is likable, several of the secondary characters seemed flat to me. It's one of those cases in which characterization consists largely of saying the same thing about a character over and over again. I lost track of how many times Maddie's weight was brought up: a year before the book opens, Maddie was chunky. We know this because Kate points it out about 40 times. Maddie's clothes were too tight. Maddie is self-conscious. Maddie likes ice cream. Maddie's pants split once at a dance. In the present-day narrative, Maddie's swung in the other direction and lost too much weight, which Kate notices just as often. (Maybe she dropped ya 'cause you're obsessed with her weight, Kate! Okay, okay, kidding.)

Seth, Kate's office-working friend, has frizzy red hair, harbors a not-so-secret love for Kate, and is a conspiracy theory freak. I think his conspiracy penchant is supposed to be quirky in a dorky but endearing way, but it's brought up so frequently that he just sounds like a blossoming nutjob instead. A loyal nutjob, but a nutjob nonetheless. There's also a potential love interest for Kate who gets brought in on the sleuthing; he seems nice but otherwise just kind of generic. He's the bad boy who's not actually bad at all; he just likes music and wears t-shirts with band names on them.

I do applaud the writers for coming up with a fun concept for a YA novel. I really hoped I would like this one more than I did, and I know it will be much-loved by a number of readers (especially those who are actually in the target YA audience.) For me, it was an enjoyable read, but not one I'll be trying to talk everyone I know into picking up.
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Reading Progress

06/06/2011 page 50
14.0% "It's like Veronica Mars went to a private school whose founders had a Latin fetish. Dead best friend? Check. Friend zone dude who has access to hall passes and excuse slips? Check. Flashbacks to when best friend was alive, complete with the line, "I've got a secret"? Check. Main character loses friends and becomes a loner after BFF's death? Check." 3 comments

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