Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Title: Liar
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: February 29th 2009
Pages: 376
Genre: YA; mystery
Source: Bought
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Micah will freely admit that she’s a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she’ll ever tell you. Over the years she’s duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents, and she’s always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But is it possible to tell the truth when lying comes as naturally as breathing?

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I've been staring at the screen for way too long because I just have no idea how to describe this book. It's unlike anything I've ever read before, but I still can't decide whether I mean that in a good way or a bad way.

The concept of Liar is unique and so intriguing. I've never even thought about the possibility that what a narrator tells us could be a lie, but in Liar, we have no idea whether any of the stuff Micah's told us is true - she freely admits that some of it is lies. I'm pretty gullible, and I believed every word, which means I was surprised by everything that turned out to be a lie. This concept, not knowing what would turn out to be true, is what kept me turning the pages. All of that was very well-done, and the writing, sparse and powerful, just added to the suspense.

I feel like any of the stuff I usually talk about like characters, writing, and plot, I can't really address in this case, since, well, I don't know what parts actually happened. I didn't particularly like the characters, and Micah got on my nerves with her bragging about how good a liar she is. But then again, I don't think you were supposed to like the characters. 

But I can't really say that I enjoyed this book. This is hard to talk about without spoiling anything, but there's a huge plot twist that basically ruined the book for me. This twist turned the unique idea into something average and overdone. It feels kind of wrong to judge this, since we don't know for sure that twist isn't a lie, but that twist meant that Liar isn't the book for me.

I don't have all that much to say about this book, to be honest. It's a good concept, but the plot twist ruined the book for me. I still recommend it if you're more open to different types of books, but it wasn't the book for me, personally.


  1. This one does sound really unique! I recently read The Butterfly Clues, which is another YA mystery where the protagonist has OCD. So sort of similar, maybe. In any case, this one sounds really good and interesting, and I hadn't heard of it before! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I have The Butterfly Clues on my wishlist :) It sounds great, and the cover is gorgeous!

  2. Unreliable narrators are okay if the reason they're unreliable is plausible (for instance, amnesia, victims of abuse, repressing events) but not if the narrator is knowingly misleading you, taunting the reader. Unreliable narrators are also okay if the way they view the world is different, or colored by something that happened to them.

    The thing is that if the narrator is aware they're lying while they're telling their story, then how can you identify or even understand what they're trying to say?

    I can see how this might not have appealed to you, but maybe for people who really like different ideas.

    1. I know it sounds weird, but it does kind of work, the whole unreliable-narrator thing, even though she's knowingly misleading the reader. I don't know how to explain it, but it does work. Well, except for the plot twist I didn't like. But yeah, Liar is only a book for people who like really different formats or types of books :)

    2. The thing is, if she's knowingly misleading the reader, it's like she's engaging with the reader and not just letting you into her life. It's like a play in a way - that's what I don't understand. It's as if she's talking directly to the reader by lying - and I find that a bit strange in books because I want to get into their life, not be played. You know what I mean?

      Glad it works though! I hope the twist isn't that the whole thing is a dream or something.

    3. I get what you mean, but... I don't know how to explain it, but it does work! She tells you about her life, and then later she admits that one thing she said was a lie, and she lets you into her life step by step by admitting what she lied about. If that makes sense :p And no, it doesn't turn out to be a dream. But the plot twist is very... umm... different, I guess.

    4. I think if I got really into the story and started empathizing with her and then she told me she lied, I'd probably slap the cover or something! I have no patience for that, and I'm sure it works for the book, but I want to be so in tune with a character, know all their raw thoughts, that I can tell when they're lying to other and even to themselves.

    5. Yeah, I can see how that wouldn't work for a lot of people. You can't feel like you really know the MC, can't connect with her. I didn't mind that much, though, while reading.

  3. I like different books to be honest but... Em, I think I could get really confused.



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