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Liar Liar, Pants On Fire

A review of The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker, whose private school heroine is reminiscient of FYA favourite Ms. Landau-Banks.

Liar Liar, Pants On Fire

BOOK REPORT for The Liar Society (Liar Society Book 1) by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Cover Story: Break Out the Shades
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: FYA
Bonus Factors: Private School, Ghosts, Duckie, Frankie Landau-Banks Medal of Excellence in Disestablishmentarianism
Relationship Status: Roomies

Cover Story: Break Out the Shades

I know, right? That shizz is BRIGHT. Plus, you'll totally need big Jackie O shades to keep people from recognizing you if you carry this around in public. The sassy private school girl thing? The pink wig (which, bee tee dubs, has nothing to do with the story)? Actually, as a YA book, read by actual YAs, it's a pretty cute cover and the girl's expression totally fits Kate. It's just ... even as a proud A reader of YA, I still cringe a bit carrying around what's basically a hypercolor version of the costume department from Clueless (yes, I know that's the best movie EVER, but I'm not going to wear that head-to-toe plaid, thankyouverymuch). And it's also better than the other version (the publisher let people vote on the cover, which is a really good idea!)

The Deal:

Kate's bff Grace died a year ago, and while everyone claims it was an accident, Kate is convinced it was murder. Her other best friend Maddie disowned her in favor of the school's reigning queen, Taylor, right after Grace died, and Kate's insistence Grace was murdered lost her any other friends she might have had. then she gets an email from Grace's school account telling her to investigate the incident, starting with Grace's stalkerish stoner boyfriend, Cameron. At the same time, the hot new boy -- with a mysterious delinquent past -- begins to show interest, but can she trust him? As Kate delves deeper into the secrets and lies that surround her, she's in serious danger, but she also starts to come out of the cocoon and isolation she's been wrapped in since Grace's death.

BFF Charm: Yay!

I realize I hand out bff charms like candy, but I really mean it. Kate is still reeling from Grace's death and Maddie's defection, and I know I could never replace them. But I admired her voice -- she's smart, and she manages a classic teenage sneer for the people around her while still being likable. She's also tenacious in her quest for justice, no matter the cost.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Kate's relationship with Liam is not full of sexytimes (although I hope there are more to come in the sequel), but there's a lot of tension. She doesn't know him, isn't sure she can trust him, but she has a hard time resisting his adorable little teenage retro indie rocker artist soul and trying to stay out of his vintage 501s, despite his possible history as a dangerous arsonist.

Talky Talk: FYA

Look, I'm not being conceited here by making us a talky talk. All I mean is I think Lisa and Laura would fit in well over here (cocktail panel!), and reading the book made me feel like I was hanging out with the other FYA ladies over a pitcher of sangria. Just when things got serious or in danger of being poetic, they'd say something that made me snort, like this:

But when I drew the predawn air deep into my lungs, I could feel the adrenaline race through my blood. Something about riding a bike just feels so free. Too bad it looks so dorky.

And I think Erin'd be proud of this bit, although she'd probably want to teach them a few more epithets, like "douchecanoe" or "twatwaffle":

I woke up to Porter Reynolds elbowing me in the rib cage. Grace had thought Porter was the dreamiest boy in our grade, and he was actually kind of cute in that I've-never-worked-a-day-in-my-life-and-probably-never-will kind of way. But to me, his intentionally unwashed hair and cheesy smile screamed "douchebag." Not exactly the person I wanted disturbing my beauty sleep.

Bonus Factor: Private School

It's not a boarding school, but the fancy pants Pemberly Brown Academy has everything else -- plaid skirts and blazers and a whole mess of wacky traditions and Latin phrases and mysterious secret societies. I totally wish I could go to Pemberly Brown, and I promise to (mostly) keep my hands off Liam.

Bonus Factor: Ghosts

Ok, so there's really only one ghost, but she's super creepy. Even though Grace is supposed to be harmless -- she was Kate's bff, so why would she go all Poltergeist? -- there were times she totally creeped me the hell out.

Bonus Factor: Duckie

I love how the Roeckers describe Seth -- a "pocket-sized, redheaded superhero". He's so annoying, but so adorable at the same time, and I really do want to shrink him down to pocket size and carry him around all day and feed him bits of candy and peanut butter sandwiches.

Bonus Factor: Frankie Landau-Banks Award of Excellence in Disestablishmentarianism

I'd really like to establish a new FYA award, and induct Kate Lowry as the first recipient. While she's different from Frankie -- Kate's not as whimsical and quirky -- they both have a knack for getting in where they're not wanted and defying centuries of authoritative tradition. Together they could save the world.

Casting Call:

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate

Ethan Peck as Liam Gilmour

I really wanted to cast Seth, but I had a hard time finding a redhead I liked for it. Rupert Grint isn't scrawny and frizzy enough, and Jon Heder is too tall and not really all that redheaded, so I'll just leave Seth up to your imagination.

Relationship Status: Roomies

This book and I got assigned as roomies, but as soon as I read its questionnaire and profile, I knew we were going to be inseparable. We'd be the type of roomies never seen apart, the girls who'd nickname their room and be known by it forever after. We'd stay up late, gossiping and giggling, and we're definitely volunteering to room together next year. I can't wait for the summer to pass so we can get back together, because this book makes even laundry day fun.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Sourcebooks Fire. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Liar Society will be available March 1.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.