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LiarReview - Liar
by Justine Larbalestier
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2009
Review by Amy Ridley
Oct 18th 2011 (Volume 15, Issue 42)

Micah has a hard time with the truth. She doesn't have a lot of friends and doesn't make it easier on herself by telling her classmates that she was born a hermaphrodite and that her dad is an arms dealer. She likes to be the center of attention and her lying gives her plenty of attention. She soon finds herself getting a little too much attention when her very popular classmate Zach is found brutally murdered.

It soon comes out that Zach and Micah had a secret relationship but not everyone believes it including Zach's girlfriend. Micah is not popular and is not considered beautiful so everyone is having a hard time believing that Zach was sneaking around with this outcast. Micah's knack for lying makes it even harder for authorities and those close to Zach to figure out who could have murdered such a well-liked kid. It is not immediately known how Zach died other than the police indicating that it was a homicide. There are several people the police consider persons of interest but it keeps coming back to Micah and why she keeps lying and withholding information.

It should be pointed out that this book does have a paranormal element to it that is not clearly stated up front. There are hints by the author that something is different about Micah but not to the extent that is revealed later in the book. Micah's story is told through present day accounts of Zach's investigation and what Micah goes through at school being the main suspect, flashbacks of Micah's secret outings with Zach along with flashbacks of what was happening in her family growing up. The three story elements blend together to help the reader put the pieces together but there really is no way to tell if and when Micah is lying.

Micah is not a particularly likable character and you can see why her classmates do not trust her. Zach's curiosity about her is understandable in that she is completely opposite of his girlfriend and they share a love of running that bonds them. The fact that he knows she is lying to him shows that connection that they have because not many other people have been able to read her that way.

Micah's parents are overly cautious with her which is sort of strange considering she's 17 and close to graduating. Once the truth about Micah is revealed it makes more sense and you can see why they are worried about where she was when Zach was murdered. Micah also wonders if she could have had a hand in Zach's murder. She begins to question all the decisions she has made that has led her to this place in her life and what she could have done to have prevented Zach's murder.

Larbalestier does a nice job moving the story along and keeping the reader guessing about Micah's involvement with Zach's murder. Even if Micah was not exactly likable you could sympathize with her being an outcast and not having any real friends to confide in.

This is appropriate for ages 13 & up. It contains sexual references.  

 

© 2011 Amy Ridley

 

Amy Ridley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University


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