Monday, October 5, 2009

Book Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Before I get into my review, I have to admit something. I am not sure I can be a fair judge of this novel because Justine and I are close friends. There. It’s out.

It’s not something I usually broadcast, since I know you all would be really envious - especially because often when we meet (usually along some major highway, so we can feel the wind in our hair), she brings her husband Scott Westerfeld (not pictured) and we drink these awesomely delicious chai tea lattes Justine whips up and have the most amazing conversations.


The last time Justine and I met up (very near US Interstate 95), she pressed a copy of LIAR into my hands and winked at me – pointing at the inscription she had just written:

Dear Lenore –

Give bad reviews when deserved.

XOX Justine
*

Justine and I laughed together until our bellies ached about that. We were both thinking how truly unlikely it would be that one of her novels should deserve anything less than 5 stars.

Before I started LIAR, I read the rave reviews where everyone was saying how surprising, how original, how exceptional the book was. So wouldn't it be funny if I then really did give it a bad review?

Now you're thinking, "but don’t best friends usually HAVE to say good things about each other?"

Well, ok…. Don’t think less of me…but I might not have told the WHOLE truth before….

I'm going to come clean about a little white lie I told you earlier. You see, Justine’s chai tea lattes really aren’t that great (I prefer Starbucks to be honest – but please don’t tell her that. I don’t want to hurt her feelings…you know us being besties and all.)

But trust me, that’s the only lie I’ve told you.

So anyway, then I read LIAR. In case you don’t know already, it’s about this girl Micah who lies all the time. From what I understand, she lies to protect a secret no one would believe anyway. And even though she says she’s telling you the truth, she also admits to lying sometimes until you really don’t know what to believe.

And Micah knows how to lie. Here’s what she says about it:

Details. They are the key to lying.
The more detailed you are, the more people believe. […]
Verisimilitude, one of my English teachers called it. The details that give something the appearance of being real. It’s at the heart of a good lie, a story that has wings.
That and your overwhelming desire not to be lied to. You believe me because you want what I tell you to be the truth. No matter how crazy.
(p 245-246 ARC, may vary from final published version)

Even though, honestly, I think LIAR sometimes seems more like a writing exercise (TOPIC: Unreliable narrator) than a fully formed narrative, it is riveting stuff. You hang on Micah’s every word.

And now you’re thinking, “Oh, now Justine’s best friend is telling us the novel is awesome. Why should we believe that?”

Well, because it IS awesome. Oh, and also because I just might have exaggerated my friendship with Justine a teeny, tiny bit…

LIAR is out in hardcover now. You can find out more about it at Justine’s website.

*This is true. Mainly.

39 comments:

Care said...

clever. and convincing! Terrific review.

Meghan said...

Great review! So appropriate for this book. =) I definitely mean to read it soon.

jody sparks said...

One of my all time favorite reviews. That's hilarious.

Beth F said...

Loved this review. Great job and so perfect. I hope you'll introduce me to Justine soon.

I picked this up at BEA, so I need to get to it.

Kay said...

I almost laughed out loud reading your review :)

I very much liked how you managed to make it sound fresh and interesting even though by now there have been countless of other reviews written about the same books. That's where true talent shows I guess (it is with sadness that I realize I probably wouldn't have thought of it in a million years).

This being said, I, like Beth F, would absolutely love to be introduced to Justine too (soon you'll probably have a huge waiting list) :)

Kate said...

Amazing review and post. Hope Justine and I can become besties soon. I guess I will have to ask her this weekend when I see her at the Southern Book Festival. I will let you know her response ;)

elnice said...

very cute. I am adding this to my wishlist.

Nicole said...

I love a good unreliable narrator! I guess I have to include you in that too. :-p

brizmus said...

What a hilarious post! Love it! Oh so incredibly appropriate!

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

Hillarious - adding this to my wishlist :)

Thao said...

Can I say that I love your lie more than the review : )

Kimberly Derting said...

I loved this post!!! You totally had me convinced...until I scrolled down. Awesome, Lenore!!! And great review too. Very very clever!

beth said...

LOVED THIS!!!!

I *just* bought this book--am on about page 80 or so--and loving it.

bermudaonion said...

What a great review! We want to hear more about what you and Justine do when you get together!

Jenn M. said...

Lol! Hilarious!

I've left you an award on my blog.

http://jennifermorrill.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/its-monday-yet-again-my-planned-week-in-books/

Donna Gambale said...

Love the review format. Definitely reading Liar.

Nymeth said...

lol - I love what you did here :D

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Very clever how you incorporated the theme into your post. You totally had me! Great photoshop! Glad to hear you liked it. I heard so much about the cover controversy that review of the content seemed to get lost!

jen said...

GREAT review (and photo, too)! I love dropping by here - your posts are always uniquely clever & interesting.

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Ha! And here I was wondering why that photo looked photoshopped. Loved this review!

Priya said...

You know, I almost believed your post :P Fun review! I've been dying to read this for a long time.

Staci said...

Freakin' fantastic!!!! This post absolutely rocks. Love how you did this Lenore!!!

Jo said...

Great review! And I'm so envious that you know her!!! I read this book and loved it, and have already pushed it on to some other people.

Insert Book Title said...

So cute!

Alice Teh said...

Very, very cute! LOL

Jena said...

What a fun, clever review! (I especially enjoyed the photoshopped picture.)

Book Bird Dog said...

I remember hearing about a controversy re the cover picture. They had wanted to have a different girl because of the title. Glad to see the cover reflects the book, as it shoud.

Beth Kephart said...

LOVE this review. ADORE you.

But are we friends?

GOod ones?

Do you have a photo of me on the highway?

Dar said...

LOL-Fantastic post Lenore!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Lol!

That's without a doubt the most awesome review of Liar I have read yet! :P

I enjoyed this book too. It was surprising and intriguing!

Zibilee said...

I, too, have read a lot of great reviews on this book. I think it would be interesting to pick out all the lies and half-truths while reading, and compare them to the real facts. It looks like a really fun book, and I think I am going to give it a try. Thanks for the awesomely creative review!

Ali said...

You actually had me going, until I looked closely at the photo.

Melody said...

Great post and I love your review, Lenore! Of course this book is high up onto my wishlist. ;)

S. Krishna said...

This review was hilarious! Loved it!

Kailana said...

Great review! I really enjoyed it. :)

Memory said...

Awesome review! You had me convinced, until I remembered which book you were discussing. :)

Jen - devourer of books said...

FANTASTIC review. I'm planning on reading this during the Readathon and I'm very excited.

avisannschild said...

I love this review, Lenore, and the pic you created to go with it! I'm looking forward to reading this book (it's on my wish list at this point).

Jeanne said...

This is the cleverest review I've read of this book!