Liar

by Justine Larbalestier

Seventeen-year-old Micah has always felt her identity is ambiguous: She is mixed... read more

Seventeen-year-old Micah has always felt her identity is ambiguous: She is mixed race (Black/white), she is girl who can pass for a boy, she is a scholarship student in a wealthy private school, she is a city girl who spends summers running free in the country. She even has a secret boyfriend, Zach—they never acknowledge one another during the school day. Justine Larbalestier’s structurally and psychologically complex story is told through vignettes “Before” and “After” Zach’s mysterious death in which Micah reveals more about their relationship and about her personal and family history. But Micah also makes it clear that she is a liar, so everything she says is suspect. As Micah’s narrative progresses, she exposes more and more of her lies but also—perhaps—more of her truth. Micah’s becomes a story of the fantastic when she explains the “family illness” she inherited. But is Micah really what she claims to be, or is the family illness really insanity? Micah is appealing and sympathetic, and the desire to believe her is strong even as her story constantly changes in this astonishing novel in which the ground is forever shifting beneath readers’ feet. As the implications of Micah’s lying become increasingly disturbing, the richness of Larbalestier’s craft is more fully revealed in a story that demands discussion once the final page has been turned. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010

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