October 14, 2009

Liar

by Justine Larbalestier
ages: 13+
First sentence: "I was born with a light covering of fur."
Review copy sent to me by the folks at Bloomsbury.

The hardest part about reviewing a book like this is not giving anything away. The hardest part about reading a book like this is knowing what to believe.

There are unreliable narrators -- characters who don't understand what's going on around them, who whether willfully or unknowingly misinterpret the information around them, while the reader fully understands what's going on. Then, there's Micah. Micah is a liar, something for which she's very up front about.

However, that means everything in the book is suspect. Everything.

I think the basic plot -- that Micah's "after hours" boyfriend, Zach was brutally killed -- is pretty much sound. But everything else, from the opening sentence to the final paragraph, is suspect. How much is truth? Micah tells you that she's telling the truth, but as the book unravels, there are lies. So you wonder: is she lying about lying? You can't trust her as a narrator, and yet you have no information other than what she gives you. Everything in the book is on shaky ground, and you're left at the end wondering what really happened.

It's a compelling look at... what? Lying and truth-telling, yes. But other things as well. But you could also go meta here: it's exploring the role of a narrator in a book, the role of a reader and the agreements the reader makes with the narrator/author when opening up the book. It's an exploration of a girl trying to fit in, but... how?

I'd go on, but really, as Justine Larbalestier says, it's better left spoiler free. Once you've read the book, head over to the spoiler thread and leave your two cents on what it all means.

I'm still reeling from it all. Fascinating.

7 comments:

Amanda said...

It's looking more and more likely that this'll end up being one of my readathon reads...

Missy said...

Really intriguing review...I think I might want to read this.....

Nina said...

Wow great read! It sounds so good.
Thanks for the review. :)

melissa @ 1lbr said...

ARGH, my library still hasn't gotten this book! I keep checking every day to see if they've added even a catalog entry. I'm starting to get desperate!

Kailana said...

I must read this one of these days!

Melissa said...

Amanda, I do hope you get to it. Though get to it early on in the read-a-thon; if you wait until you're really tired, it won't make much sense.

Missy, Nina: you're welcome.

Melissa: hope it comes in, soon.

and, Kailana: yes, you should!

Helen said...

I like the review, I think my little will find the book interesting. I'll get her a copy :)