Yes, I accept review copies! I cannot always guarantee a review because of timing, interests, etc., but I do at least look over everything I'm sent. For more information, send me an email or IM me via the Meebo widget further down the page.
I like to think I have fairly diverse reading interests, but I confess I especially love reading YA realistic fiction, rock star biographies, adult literary fiction, and narrative nonfiction.
I can't believe she went there. Eeeewwww. Awesome.
Okay, now that I have that out of my system, on to today's review, which is for Liar by Justine Larbalestier (review copy courtesy of Bloomsbury USA, book is coming in October, 2009). If you've been around a while, you know I think highly of Justine both personally and professionally, and this book lives up to everything I've come to expect from her as a writer and more.
Micah, the protagonist of Liar, is exactly that. Like her dad, she's always had an unsteady relationship with the truth. At her progressive NYC private school, she's a loner who's known for her eccentricity and, yes, lying. She's secretly dating Zach, a popular basketball player who's also her running partner. At least, that's what she tells us. Besides being her secret boyfriend, Zach is also dead. He was violently murdered. Micah is sure she didn't do it, but there are holes in the stories she tells the police, her family, and her classmates. As the investigation continues, Micah has trouble keeping track of all her lies (even though she likes to have a little truth in all of them). There is one major truth about her, though, that she keeps hidden from everyone except her family. It's the truth that led to most of her lies, and possibly to the one truth that no one would ever believe. She's alienated from her classmates as is, but if they find out what's really behind her longtime illness, one she's inherited from her father, she'll be alienated from the entire world. (It's also one I didn't figure out until I was told. I'm often gullible while reading.)
If you've come to this book looking for something funny, like How to Ditch Your Fairy, you're SOL. There is nothing funny about Liar, but I think that's why I love it. It's a thriller, downright gross in some places, and completely terrifying. It's also an interesting look at the use of first-person POV. We all know that all first-person narrators are unreliable, but here Justine has taken unreliability and played it as Micah's defining trait. To make things even more interesting, the reader can never be certain what is a lie and what's the truth, giving the suspense a new level. How much of what she tells us about her classmates is real? What about her romance with Zach? Is everything Micah tells us a lie? The world may never know, but that's just another reason to love the book. And I wouldn't lie to you about that.
So, here I am on your blog for the very first time 'cause my Director, the estimable Judy Schmitt, told me that you would not be at BCCLS for much longer and I could read all about it on your blog (and I did)! All I gotta say is BOO-HOO! When I emailed you today, I was totally clueless as to this. I am out of the loop, BCCLS-wise, I guess. (My teens still think I'm cool, tho!) You will DEF-initely be missed, and not because of TIU, either, or anything else like that. I will most certainly be reading this blog, and often.
Seeya when I seeya (now that takes on even more meaning, I see!)
Best of luck in everything you do!
Barbara of Wyckoff, known occasionally as Babsylee