Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Rating: 4 out of 5
Micah is a pathological liar, but she’s through with lies—it’s the truth from now on. Honestly. After all, with all the suspicion surrounding around her with the terrible death of her boyfriend, Zach, the last thing she wants is to lie and continue to have people think she’s a horrible person. After all, she loved Zach: why would she have been involved in his death? Besides, Micah has plenty of other secrets she has to worry about… But which ones are real and which ones are false?
Readers will be swept away from Micah’s narration from page one. LIAR is as compulsively readable as its protagonist is a compulsive liar. You will jump into this book, aware of Micah’s lying tendencies, and then struggle desperately to try—and fail—at staying one step ahead of this girl, this story.
Having a story told by a pathological liar brings to light the all-too-easily-dismissed problems of first-person narrator: that this POV is, in fact, completely at the mercy of the narrator, and thus can be a total fabrication without you knowing it. Justine Larbalestier explores just this paradox in LIAR: how much of Micah’s story can believe when we know she is a liar and her side of the story is the only one we get?
Interesting premise and paradox aside, however, Micah is also an intriguingly complex character. She’s flawed, and has viewpoints that make you want to shake her until she sees things clearly, and yet Micah is so fully convinced of her unchangeable situation that you can’t help but go along with her, no matter how much you want to disagree with her. Micah’s narration jumps rapidly from past to present and back again, which is a surprisingly effective way of slowly doling out the story to readers, as well as consistent with Micah’s personality.
LIAR is a remarkable book where the story and its form complement one another for maximal success. It’s a story that will probably leave you with more questions and answers, but it absolutely proves the old edict right that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Bloomsbury USA / Sept. 29, 2009 / Hardcover / $16.99
Thank you, Anna, for sending me a copy for review!