Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Friday, October 2, 2009

Secrets, lies, murder and betrayal.
Micah Wilkins is a liar. But when her boyfriend, Zach, dies under brutal circumstances, the shock might be enough to set her straight. Or maybe not. Especially when lying comes as naturally to her as breathing. Was Micah dating Zach? Did they kiss? Did she see him the night he died? And is she really hiding a family secret? Where does the actual truth lie?
Liar is a breathtaking roller-coaster read that will have you up all night, desperately seeking for something true.

What I loved: It was written simply, but there was such suspense about it. Micah was such a bizarre and complicated character. It was so multi-layered and there were things left unsaid that kept me up after reading it until about 2 in the morning, wondering what happened. I wondered a lot through it what was real and what was fake - there's a sense of nothing being entirely true throughout the story. It's the type of book I want to read again (as soon as I've finished the other books in my pile) and try and figure out. It was brilliant, but also frustrating. It is definitely a must-read.

What I did not expect: I've avoided spoilers as much as I can. However, this next part may be interpreted as a spoiler. You should definitely go out and get Liar for yourself right now before you stumble across a spoiler. Anyway, highlight this next piece of text if you've already read the book (it isn't really a spoiler - just something that might be interpreted as one): At a certain point in the book, I went, oh, so it's that type of book. Certainly the type of book you expect from Justine Larbalestier, and the type of book she writes well, but it really surprised me. I must admit I was expecting it to have more mystery about it, and for Micah to lie about absolutely everything. I think after all that I've heard about this book I expected a different story, and I wish that I could come to the book and read it without knowing anything about it - because it is ridiculously good.

Cover: You probably recall the cover controversy over the white-washed US cover. Basically, Micah is dark-skinned. It's stated in the book. It's obviously not something that she's lying about (she doesn't lie about a number of things. I'd thought she'd twisted the truth entirely but this wasn't so). The cover has since been changed to have a dark-skinned model, but I still much prefer the Australian cover (which I think is by Bruno Herfst. Who also did the awesome cover of Pink by Lili Wilkinson). I don't really like covers with models - I like to imagine what the characters look like.

So: This is a book that is definitely worth reading, and once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down (I kept reading because I wanted to find out the truth, damn it! Some of which is never delivered). It's also a book that you're going to want to get and read soon, before it becomes wildly popular and one of your friends goes: "Oh gosh, I totally didn't see this coming" and ruins the book for you. But there are also so many things that can be read into it, so maybe you'll see a different story entirely to your friend (you'll think afterwards what really happened? And you won't be able to sleep, because you'll be thinking about that). Liar is certainly for older readers than How To Ditch Your Fairy. I am so curious as to what other readers thought of Liar, and what they think happened (if anyone wants to email me and go: OMG how shocking was this bit, that would be cool). Liar is uncomfortable and twisted and dark and another thing, and I can't properly articulate what I thought of it apart from the fact that it is good and it makes you think. There are so many other things to be said that I can't properly say, but it is certainly a book you don't want to miss out on.

Buy Liar on Amazon. (That's with the US cover.)

Huge thanks to Kate at A&U for sending me Liar. :-)
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