Reviews for Liar

Booklist Reviews 2009 September #1
Micah Wilkins is a senior at a New York City private school, an extraordinarily talented runner, and a compulsive liar. She's masqueraded as a boy, invented family members, and hidden her relationship with handsome fellow student Zach Rubin. When Zach dies under mysterious and horrific circumstances, Micah's history of lying brings her under suspicion. Larbalestier creates and sustains a marvelous tension, as readers ponder what part of Micah's narrative is true. "Before" and "After" entries call to mind Green's Looking for Alaska (2005), and like that titular character, Micah is wonderfully complex, both irritating and immensely likable. A supernatural element is well supported by Micah's obsession with genetics; she frequently cites facts learned in school to try to understand what is going on inside her. Larbalestier effortlessly and realistically shows the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of Micah's world (she is African American), something teens of color will appreciate. The unresolved ending will certainly provoke discussion, sending readers back to the text for a closer rereading. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
In recounting the gruesome death of her boyfriend, Micah (a compulsive liar) informs us that she wants to finally tell the truth--which begins with her being a werewolf. Larbalestier takes the unreliable narrator to the extreme; readers follow the faintest of trails to figure out what really happened. Micah's story makes addictive reading, and the ambiguous ending will haunt readers. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #6
Micah's story begins in a Jacqueline Woodson-esque world of New York City teenagers experiencing first loves, heartbreak, and family secrets -- but this tale soon twists and turns down dark and dangerous paths. A biracial girl with close-cropped hair who can pass for a boy, Micah feels "stuck somewhere in between...half of everything." She's also a compulsive liar. In recounting the days before and after the gruesome death of her boyfriend, Zach, Micah informs us that she wants to finally tell the truth, the whole truth -- which only begins with her being a werewolf. Her parents think she belongs on the large, primitive farm upstate with her wolf cousins, and Micah thrives during her summers there running, hunting, and feeding. But her human self refuses to give up on the city; she plans to study biology in college to discover the key to her strange identity. Micah's painful transformation is a powerful metaphor for adolescence, and her physical longings burn like any teenager's, but Larbalestier delves even deeper into her psyche. When Micah is suspected in Zach's death, she swears that despite her wolf nature she has never killed anyone; but how do we trust someone who admits to using truths to create lies? Larbalestier takes the unreliable narrator to the extreme, and readers must follow the faintest of trails to figure out what really happened. Yet Micah's story makes compulsive reading, and the ambiguous ending will leave readers haunted long after closing the book. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 September #2
Micah declares herself a liar and calls her own reliability as a narrator into question on the first page of this dark, gripping page-turner. When Zach, the boy with whom she might or might not be romantically involved, goes missing, Micah tries to tell the story of her tortured relationships with Zach and her classmates, teachers and family. Is Micah a killer? Quite possibly yes, but she weaves lies and truths together so artfully that even as she admits her deceptions, she becomes an increasingly compelling and sympathetic character. Micah's fractured first-person narrative skips around chronologically, further deepening the confusion about what has really happened in her life. The constant reversals keep readers guessing, a plot device that threatens to wear thin by the halfway point of the novel, but Larbalestier moves the plot nimbly past this moment, creating such an engrossing story of teenage life on the margins that even readers familiar with her Magic or Madness trilogy might not see the supernatural twist (or not) coming. In the end, it calls to mind I Am the Cheese with its hermetic wiliness. (Fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 August #4

Readers will get chills paging through Larbalestier's (How to Ditch Your Fairy) suspenseful novel about a compulsive liar who becomes a suspect in her boyfriend's murder. Micah admits it is hard to believe a girl who has pretended "she's a boy, a hermaphrodite, or that her daddy's an arms dealer," but when Zach, the popular boy who was secretly seeing her "after hours," is found dead, Micah claims innocence, promising to tell readers her story with "No lies, no omissions." But the supernatural tale she tells may be her wildest yet. Micah composes her story in short sections labeled "Before" and "After" (the murder), as well as "History of Me," "Family History" and other categories. This is a well-paced novel with a masterfully constructed unreliable narrator, confessing to lies she has told readers along the way ("You buy everything, don't you? You make it too easy") and explaining how she makes lies believable. Could Micah really be innocent, or is she a confused girl who killed out of jealousy? Is she even human? Readers will be guessing and theorizing long after they've finished this gripping story. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 October

Gr 9 Up--Biracial Micah Wilkins, 17, is the quintessential unreliable narrator. On the first page, she readily admits she's a liar though now she wants to tell her story straight. She attends a progressive private high school in New York City. She's a bit peculiar, with extra-human speed and sense of smell, and has few friends. After another student, a popular senior named Zach, is found brutally murdered, it comes to light that he and Micah had a relationship outside of school. Now she is considered a suspect. Her suspenseful, supernatural tale is engrossing and readers will be tempted to fly through it, though the wise will be wary of her spin and read carefully for subtle slipups and foreshadowing. The chilling story that she spins will have readers' hearts racing as in three sections she goes from "Telling the Truth," to "Telling the True Truth," to "Telling the Actual Real Truth," uncovering previous lies and revealing bizarre occurrences in the process. Micah's narrative is convincing, and in the end readers will delve into the psyche of a troubled teen and decide for themselves the truths and lies. This one is sure to generate discussion.--Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA

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