Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase
For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV's How to Get Away with Murder.
Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?
When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.
Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.
Discussion Review by Celine and Mel
*This is a spoiler-free review*
Mel: Liars, Inc. was exactly what I was hoping it to be – a thriller that was actually unpredictable, nail-biting and totally kickass.
Celine: Yes! Liars, inc. surprised me, both in terms of plot and how much I enjoyed it. I’m usually not a fan of thrillers/mysteries because they usually choose plot over characters.
Mel: Haha I’m the complete opposite, girl. I ADORE ALL ZE MYSTERY THRILLERS! It’s one of my favourite genres, honestly speaking. So I definitely went in having high expectations – especially because Stokes won me away with The Art of Lainey – and she totally delivered.
Celine: Yes, and as a character-oriented reader, I find myself not enjoying them a lot. But! Not only did Liars have a fantastic plot, it also had solid characters that kept me second-guessing everything.
When you care about someone, you can’t just turn that off because you learn they betrayed you.
Mel: I think the characters was the only weak point for me. I did love the diversity that Stokes brought to the table by having a half-Indian heroine, but I really struggled to care for most of the characters – Parvati in particular. I mean, it’s not that there’s anything to not like, but for me on a personal level, I just wasn’t clicking with them. However, that being said, I quickly fell in love with Max’s narration and the character himself. Max’s narration felt highly authentic and exactly how you expect a teenage boy to sound. He’s self-doubting, does stupid things, can be impulsive but he’s still brilliant, witty and so much fun to read about. Basically, love the main character, but not so much to the supporting characters.
Celine: I agree with you on that! Max definitely stole the show for me. I loved his narration and his authenticity. I never thought of him as unbelievable, and like you said, he was just a guy, you know? He did stupid things and smart things and he made mistakes. Like you, I wasn’t completely sold on Parvati, or the Max/Parvati ship. This is mostly because I just don’t like it when people are already in a relationship at the start of a book. I mean, it’s realistic, yes, but it never has me shipping the ship. I liked their dynamic, but I never really cared about them together. I really need to see a relationship form and evolve, but that’s of course a personal thing.
Mel: Yeah Celine I’m the same with you on the romance! It’s just too hard to sell me on a romance when I don’t get to see it from the very beginning as I have nothing to base it on. But still, I love how it never took over the plot and how well it was portrayed – with a sex-positive vibe, too!
Celine: Yess I love that! No shaming of any kind to be found here. I really love what Stokes did here, because to me it kind of felt like we just got a look into someone’s life, with already existent relationships and people being comfortable with each other and stuff just feeling natural. Though I didn’t like the romance that much, I did like how natural it all felt.
Mel: Oh yes, seconding you on everything there!
Maybe I could dole out the truth in tiny pieces that, once assembled, would make a picture that resembled a reality in which I hadn’t done anything wrong.
Celine: Ooh, and I’m really curious but did you end up guessing what the twist was?!
Mel: I know a lot of people who did end up guessing the twist beforehand but I didn’t see it coming AT ALL. I love all the red-herrings that Stokes threw around–this book left me with some serious trust issues with the amount of twists it pulled and lies it told! The book lives up to the name, hah. Liars… all of them! *side eyes you all*
Celine: Same! I was completely confused and just didn’t trust ANYONE. Everyone has secrets and everyone is mysterious about stuff and everyone makes mistakes. So really, I just decided that everyone did it :p No but really, I did not see the final twist coming and I was pleasantly surprised because I’m usually pretty good at guessing twists. Everyone has their own agenda and I love that – the reader is just as much on their own as Max is.
Mel: Haha yeah. I liked how the reveal didn’t come out from nowhere, if you get what I mean? Some books have the randomest twists that don’t even make any sense, but this book sets up the twist craftily, which I loved.
I also really liked how aside from the mystery, this book had really strong family and friendship themes.
Celine: Completely agree with that! Especially loved the family aspect. Max’ family isn’t absent at all, but plays a large role in his life. Absolutely loved all the different dynamics, and the obvious love between all family members. Max has this loving family, and he realises this and appreciates it. Of course, in his past he’s been with different families. I loved this extra touch, because of course not everyone stays in the family they were born in. And I don’t think I know of another protagonist who has even been homeless for a while. But yeah, I really loved the dynamic between all family members and all the love they had for each other.
Mel: Exactly! Max’s life is pretty messed up but I love how this theme of family pulls through strongly to the very end. And also, it’s so hard to come by a realistically portrayed family dynamic these days, and Stokes did a seriously wonderful job here.
To me, Mother Nature isn’t nearly as scary as human nature.
Celine: Completely agree 🙂 I think Liars, Inc. was just a wonderfully solid novel. While the romance may not have done much for me, the twists kept me guessing and I adored Max’ character and situation. Oh and ALSO I really loved that the police/FBI were actually involved.
Mel: Yeah, I swear, it’s like an unwritten rule that the police have to be totally oblivious morons that only get in the way of the main character. So yeah, thank god that the police actually had more involvement in this one! (Makes it so much more realistic.)
Celine: Exactly!! So often crime novels just have the hero solve everything with no police to be seen. But here they played a part in everything and I loved that.
Mel: In all, I really liked this one! Paula Stokes has yet to disappoint us! (Also, I love how discussion reviewing all of Paula Stokes’ books is becoming a tradition here 😀 )
~Thank you HarperTeen for sending us the review copies!~
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