Tag Archives: Justine Larbalestier

Liar – Justine Larbalestier
Book Reviews
October 11, 2009 posted by Nikki

Liar – Justine Larbalestier

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.

Micah lies about loads of things. When she first started at her school she even managed to convince everyone that she was a boy. When you’ve got a secret like Micah does, lying seems like the only real option. Then her boyfriend goes missing, only he’s not really her boyfriend, or at least, not according to the rest of the student population. According to them, he’s Sarah’s boyfriend. So when he turns up dead, and Brandon announces in front of everyone that he knows that Micah and Zach have been seeing each other behind Sarah’s back, all eyes are now on Micah.

Did she kill him, or not? Why would anyone believe what she’s saying anyway, when she’s always lied about absolutely everything?

When she tells Sarah that she wasn’t dating Zach, Sarah seems to see through her lies – for once – and she’s not buying it. She knows, and she’s hurting. How could Micah do that? How could Zach do that? And could someone that seems okay with dishonesty in the way that Micah is kill someone? Someone she’s supposedly loves?

What the rest of the student body don’t understand is that Micah doesn’t lie because she’s okay with dishonesty. She lies to protect herself. Everyone thinking she’s a liar is a much better scenario than what would really happen if they knew the truth about her.

So what is the truth? You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Here’s a bit of a clue, though. Remember who Justine Larbalestier is, remember the genre that she writes in, and you might be able to figure it out. I got so caught up in the story that I forgot about all those things, got so caught up in trying to decipher what were lies and what was truth, that Micah’s secret caught me seriously off guard. Don’t let it distract you from the story, though. Once you realise what her secret is, accepting that she might have killed Zach becomes a whole lot easier. Don’t forget about her flashbacks though, because the truth really lies within those.

Trust me. Or not.

I guess the only way you’ll figure it out is if you read it for yourself.

This is one hell of a rocking novel. Everyone everywhere is going to love Liar. What I want to know is … will there be a sequel?

Rating:: ★★★★★

January 6, 2009 posted by Nikki

Writing Tips!

Justine Larbalestier is offering writing tips over on her blog for the entire month of January. Go here for her outstanding advic


Love is Hell – Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, Laurie Faria Stolarz
January 1, 2009 posted by Nikki

Love is Hell – Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, Laurie Faria Stolarz

Short stories have never really been my cup of tea. Just when I’m getting attached to the characters, just when I’m immersing myself in the plot, everything gets wrapped up really quickly and then it’s all over. I like to spend time getting to know my characters, spend time losing myself in the story. Yet the thought of a book containing works from authors like Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Melissa Marr, Gabrielle Zevin and Laurie Faria Stolarz was too good to pass on, and I felt like I just had to give Love is Hell a go.

The title says it all. Each story has some kind of supernatural, warped love story at its centre. Each writer brings something unique and different to the compilation, showcasing a whole variety of characters. Out of the five stories, two in particular – Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Stupid Perfect World’ and Melissa Marr’s ‘Love Struck’ – stood out for me.

Stupid Perfect World is set in the future. The humans take ‘vitamins’ which help alter the human body so things like excessive emotions are kept in check, sleep is not only unnecessary but also unheard of, and disease and illness are non-existent. In Scarcity class, Keiren has to choose a condition from the ‘olden days’ to experience and report on. Inspired by Hamlet and never having slept a day in his life, Keiren decides to give the whole sleeping thing a go. Maria, Keiran’s classmate decides to turn off her hormonal balancers so she can experience the full force of teen angst. Stupid Perfect World follows the pair as they progress through their projects. The ending – which I’m not going to divulge – has a healthy dose of the warm fuzzies and left me smiling like a goofy kid. I fell in love with Keiran instantly, and developed a soft spot for Maria just as quickly. More importantly, I got everything I wanted from this story and as Westerfeld brought the tale to a close, I found myself feeling completely satiated.

Melissa Marr’s ‘Love Struck’ is the tale of Alana, an average teenage girl who is forced into courting Murrin, a Selchie from the sea. On the way home from a party one night Alana steps on Murrin’s discarded skin, therefore binding her to him indefinitely. Murrin hadn’t intended for Alana to step in his skin; he wanted her to fall in love with him naturally, but of course, in matters of love, things never go as planned. Alana is angry that she has been lured into such a commitment and resents Murrin’s advances initially. But like all fey folk, Murrin’s allure is too seductive to ignore. Love Struck follows Alana’s journey as she falls in love with Murrin, both cosmically and naturally. Melissa Marr writes beautifully and I found myself going back to the beginning to read it again as soon as I finished. Like all of her fey characters, Murrin made my stomach flutter and my heart beat just a little faster. He’s sweet, sexy and everything a girl could possibly want in a boyfriend.

Love is Hell is an easy read. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that short stories can be just as great as lengthy novels – you just have to read the right ones, by good, talented authors!

Rating: : ★★★½☆