Title: Liar
Author: Justine Larbalestier
ISBN: 9781599903057
Pages: 376 pages
Publisher/Date: Bloomsbury, c2009.

“Weaving lies is one thing; having them weave you is another.
That’s why I’m writing this. To keep me from going over the edge. I don’t want to be a liar anymore. I want to tell my stories true.
But I haven’t so far. Not entirely. I’ve tried. I’ve really, really tried. I’ve tried harder than I ever have. But, well, there’s so much and it’s so hard.
I slipped a little. Just a little.
I’ll make it up to you, though.
From now on it’s nothing but the truth.
Truly.” (218)

Micah Wilkins is in big trouble. A known compulsive, unstoppable liar, a boy at school is found dead under “brutal circumstances” after he disappeared over a weekend. No one knew before his death that Micah and the boy were dating. And having sex. Or not. You can’t be too sure. You can’t be too sure of anything that comes out of Micah’s mouth. Even when she swears she’s telling the truth. But this time, all the police want is the truth, and that’s harder to come by then they think.

This book is going to do a number on your brain. You’re reading along, assuming Micah is telling the truth, because she says she’s telling the truth. And then she tells you that she was lying, and that this is the truth. But then she tells you that version is also a lie. By the time the book ends, you’re questioning everything she’s telling you, from what her family life is like to whether or not there was a murder in the first place, although that seems to be the only thing that stays consistent in her stories.

There is a significant … let’s call it a swing from part one to part two, where one lie in particular is going to divide readers into those that like the book and those that think she’s “jumped the shark” so to speak (or “nuked the fridge” for those people who don’t understand the shark reference). Micah even tells readers that they’re probably thinking “She’s crazy. She’s not just a liar–she’s insane.” And she’s right, because I talked it over with coworkers and part two is when they either abandoned all hope in the novel or thought to themselves “now it’s getting interesting.” I’ll admit, I was a little bit of both, but Micah’s matter-of-fact tone encouraged my further reading. That narration never wavers, which makes her so reliable even in the face of her unreliability. Readers know she’s lied about parts of the book, but the question is, how much. And it’s the way she keeps you guessing that makes you come back for more.