Friday, January 08, 2010

Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Micah is a compulsive liar, we know that from the start. We do not know why she lies, or when. We do not know what mysterious disease her family has and hides. And most importantly, we do not know what happens to her boyfriend Zach who has gone missing and is later found to be murdered (on page 5, not a spoiler). This novel is a psychological thriller and a journey to find the truth, something Micah has had trouble with before.

It's really hard to write a synopsis of the story without giving anything big away, so I am going to leave it at that. I will also do my best to keep this review free of spoilers from here on out. I think the biggest thing about this book is the fact that Micah is a very unreliable narrator. Everything she tells us must be questioned, from the smallest of things to the existence of some of the characters. You will suspect her and you will feel betrayed by her and you will wonder if she's crazy. The thing is, though, that Micah is such a beautifully written character that we want to believe her, despite how many times she lies to us. We will go along with what she says and get wrapped up in the story only to fall for one of her tricks--and she will trick you. At the end of the novel you're left wondering what was real and what she lied about, or if any of it was real at all. Another brilliant thing that Larbalestier does is set up the novel in 3 different sections, each of these with smaller parts broken into Before, After, School History, Family History, and History of Me. In this way it feels as if Micah is organizing the facts--or rather, her thoughts depending in which interpretation you end up taking. It's a different way to read but it works so well for this novel. While reading I found myself finding some aspects a little too much (I can't even say, it's the biggest spoiler), but then I realized that this could be a lie as well. Whatever this book was, it was compelling and it made me think. On a few occasions since finishing Liar last week I've caught myself thinking about different things and honestly, I'm not sure what I believe about this story, except that it was an interesting read and I enjoyed it. Larbalestier has woven quite the novel that will keep you guessing from start to finish.

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