Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Review: LIAR by Justine Larbalestier

by Justine Larbalestier
Published September 29th 2009 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Hardcover, 384 pages

PLACEMENT IN THE PILE: A Bit Buried, just barely out of Bottom of the Barrel.

Micah will freely admit that she’s a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she’ll ever tell you. Over the years she’s duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents, and she’s always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But is it possible to tell the truth when lying comes as naturally as breathing?

Taking readers deep into the psyche of a young woman who will say just about anything to convince them—and herself—that she’s finally come clean, Liar is a bone-chilling thriller that will have readers see-sawing between truths and lies right up to the end. Honestly.

Where do I even begin with this review. Firstly, the book is not what I expected AT ALL. It is much too long. Justine Larbalestier came up with an interesting concept, let's write a story in first person from a self-proclaimed liar. This experiment with an unreliable narrator sounded very interesting to me. In the end it was extremely difficult to get through, slow paced and almost like two books in one.

It is too long. The book is split into sections 1, 2, and 3 and section one is slow, it drags and reads like the whining journal a teenager who lies all the time to both herself and the reader and is the secret "after-school girlfriend" of a guy whom she knows already has a "real girlfriend". This whole first section almost NOTHING happens. The main character does nothing. All she does is tell you background info about her, her family, her secret relationship with this guy, and her grief over his death. That is it. There are no real chapters just titles of mini-chapters and time frame lapses that start with "BEFORE", "AFTER", "FAMILY HISTORY", "PERSONAL HISTORY" and so on histories. It reads like one gigantic writing exercise.

Then section one ends and my head is spinning from the rediculous actions of this hormonal teenager only to literally laugh out loud and have to put the book down and complain to several of my friends and my husband when section two starts. It is a complete shock, in no way is revealed in the marketing for this book to expect a paranormal twist, that is if the narrator is even telling the truth.

HOWEVER, when the paranormal twist comes in is when I actually took interest in the book, for the last 200 pages. I think Justine and her editors would have been much better of highly condensing the first section of the book, or throwing it out almost completely. A lot of the background info we can get in the second section, and it is more fun to allow the reader to make things up rather than listening to the confessions of a rambling teenager detail out her life and her family history like a report.

This last section of the book and the sheer guts Justine had for writing a book with an unreliable narrator (because honestly that idea attracted me to the book) is why it is even still in my pile of books, and not thrown into the pit of despair.

Now I do have to say that I have read many great reviews about the book. It seems to be very dividing, so now here's your change people! My first giveaway. My copy of the ARC of LIAR by Justine Larbalestier!

Here's how you can get points to enter (this is an and/or thing):

1) Comment on my review of this book
2) Follow the blog (current followers will receive two entries, new followers will receive one) but you need to let me know you want to enter even if you are a follower
3) Respond with a story about a time that you lied and how it turned out
4) Post about this contest with a link on your blog/facebook/myspace whatever and let me know that in the comment section with one of your other entries.

The contest will be open through 11:59 PM EST Saturday September 12th.


Aubrey (AKA Stacey) said...

Just wondering, is no one commenting because of my bad review?

Torri said...

This is the first time I've looked at any blogs since my last post like 3 weeks ago. It sounds like a weird book. I would be kind of interested in reading it just because I had a friend that was a compulsive liar for a long time. She eventually grew out of it. Sign me up for some entries. :)

Aubrey (AKA Stacey) said...

Thanks for your comment Torri! I think one thing that is important to remember is just beacuse this book was not for me doesn't mean it won't be for you. On Goodreads (another book site I use) the average rating is above a 3.76, which is pretty good. I hope more of you take a chance on this book and then let us know what you thought!

Ratliffs said...

Sounds like it could be interesting! I've never really had much experience with compulsive liars...And I have to admit, I'm kind of curious to read this book from an 'unreliable narrator...'mostly just because your jazzed about it. :) Sign me up!

Debs Desk said...

I have also read some good and some not as good reviews but want to make me on decision. So please include me in your giveaway. I am a new follower.

alison23 said...

I would love to win this book! I like the honesty of your review (unless you're lying, ha ha) and I am glad to know that if it takes a while to get into, I should stick with it because it will change! I have had some personal experience with compulsive liars and find the whole concept fascinating, so I'm very interested to read this book.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to win an ARC of this book because of all the controversy surrounding the cover. Thanks for an honest review! And I'll follow your blog :)

-missy t from the blueboard

Angela said...

I think liars make excellent they pull off thier lies almost demands an excellent skill of emotional expression and control. Great review and I can't wait to read this one!

Oh yes, I follow as well. :)

Serenissima said...

I'd like to win an ARC because I'm really curious about this book - the cover controversy, the mixed reviews, the unreliable narrator, etc...

Lenore said...

You are so right about this seeming like a writing excercise. I had planned to say the same thing in my review that will be up soon on my blog.

Aubrey (AKA Stacey) said...

I really wish it hadn't seemed so much that way! I wish I had been able to love it. I felt like she could have made two separate books from ideas that came out in this "exercise".