Review – The Liar Society

The Liar Society

Lisa & Laura Roecker

A few thoughts about this book before I dig in:

  • The authors are sisters, which is the coolest thing ever
  • I wish my high school had secret societies
  • Did my high school have secret societies? And I wasn’t cool enough to know?
  • This is the first book in a trilogy

Great! Let’s go.

Recap

Kate knew that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident, but no matter how hard she tried, no one ever believed her. Then she lost Maddie, the only one who cared about Grace as much as she did. Being pushed out of Maddie’s life without an explanation was almost as bad as knowing the fire that killed Grace was intentional. But at Pemberly Brown, secrets are a tradition as old as the school itself.

The months after Grace’s death were rough for Kate. She became a social pariah, but she embraced it. Now she’s known as the girl with the pink hair whose best friend died last year. No one speaks to her except for her neighbor Seth, and that’s the way she likes it…or she would, if Seth could stop being not-so-secretly in love with her. She finally accepted that there was nothing more she could do to make the authorities believe her, that Grace’s death would always be remembered as an accident, and that she should move on…when suddenly an email she sends to Grace is returned.

Following “Grace’s” instructions, Kate launches her own investigation to figure out what really happened the night Grace died. Kate’s findings bring her to the underbelly of Pemberly Brown Academy and all its secrets. Putting her own life at risk, Kate finally starts getting some answers. But in the end, it may not matter.

Review

It shouldn’t be hard to feel sympathy for Kate. She’s a self-proclaimed social recluse, with Seth as her only friend. Maddie abandoned her for the popular crowd almost before Grace’s body was found, and hasn’t looked back since. Kate’s world fell apart and although she knew Grace’s death was a setup, no one ever believed her. Her parents think she’s crazy. And yet, there were very few times during the book when I actually felt sympathetic towards her. I have NO idea why Seth likes her. As a friend she doesn’t seem to have ANY redeeming qualities, especially in the beginning. She’s judgmental, constantly calling girls sluts or just generally being mean to people.

Her loyalty to her dead best friend is admirable…until the first time she’s faced with an actual obstacle. Then she (literally) runs in the opposite direction. Cameron, the one person Grace’s email directed her to speak with, has a bit of an outburst while she’s in the car with him. She panics and jumps out of the car. But when Cameron apologizes, she refuses to answer any of his calls or texts. She calls him a stalker for contacting her so many times, even though the night before she called him AT LEAST as many times requesting that he meet up with her. Those two things just don’t match up in my eyes. And yes, she dealt with something awful and traumatic and clearly didn’t have the support that she deserved, but if that’s the reason for some of her volatile actions, the authors don’t do a great job conveying that.

The Roecker sisters paint a compelling story, but subtlety is not their strong suit. They don’t just show us that Cameron has some self-destructive behavior, they tell us…over…and over…and over again. He has a drug addiction, he was too touchy with Grace, he’s skeezy, he’s greasy, blah blah blah. 

This book needed better editing. There were some obvious repetitions that got annoying VERY quickly. I’m not sure how many times they described an article of Seth’s clothing to be “geriatric,” but I really should have kept a tally.

Like I said, their subtlety left something to be desired. Part of the story was told through flashbacks, which were interesting. We got to see what happened the night Grace died through Kate’s eyes, piece by piece, helping to explain some of her present-day attitude. But many many MANY (is the repetition annoying?) times “one specific thing” would “immediately remind” Kate of this one PARTICULAR memory including Grace and Maddie that vaguely kind of sort of related to the incident in the present day, and that got old REALLY fast.

There were some frustrating inconsistencies with the book. They left out most of the scenic details, which was fine with me, but on occasion the lack of detail became confusing. At one point a character enters her home through the front door. Then the pizza delivery man shows up, she greets the pizza guy and when she turns around the first character has left. And I still have no idea how that character left her home. They clearly entered through the front door, but where they exited is a mystery to me. I thought they would be hiding under her bed or something later, which made that chapter MUCH scarier than it was supposed to be.

Also, Kate’s a pretty popular pariah. Many of the popular boys and the reigning king express interest in her as the story progresses, which seemed supremely unrealistic.

And…the most important thing…I kind of love this book. I know this entire review talked about the negative things but I seriously LOVE it. It was the first of a trilogy and I ate all three up. In reading this book, I couldn’t solve the question of Grace’s death. I couldn’t figure out what was going to happen at any turn. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, imagining a multitude of possibilities, and being constantly, consistently wrong. It kept me guessing and that was awesome.

Pemberly Brown is quite a twisted school, but it also had all the elements that I secretly wished my high school had, most notably, secret societies. COMPETING secret societies! In high school! Who knew that was a thing? (Did you? Because if so, I need you to tell me right now so that I can find these high schools and investigate them)

Most of the characters are a lot of fun to read about, and even though I didn’t have much sympathy for Kate, I do really like her, and she’s pretty entertaining.

Conclusion

I’d have to give The Liar Society a 3 out of 5 on the Normal Person Rating System and a 9 out of 10 on M’s Magical Meter. There are questions posed in the first book that are not answered until the third one and it drove me UP THE WALL not knowing the answers. I obsessed over this book. OBSESSED.

Questions about the rating system? See here!

-M

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