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.
If I had to compare this book to anything else out there in the YA genre at the moment, I’d say Abigal Haas’s Dangerous Boys/Dangerous Girls is a good bet.
Liars, Inc explores the tangled web of lies we weave for ourselves, starting out with something seemingly innocuous and ending up in the midst of dire consequences. Or, in our MC Max’s case, the number one suspect in a murder.
I must admit, I did have my suspicions, and I was partially correct, but I didn’t quite manage to call the ~whodunnit~, so kudos to the author.
I generally enjoyed Max as a narrator – while sometimes a tad oblivious to the things happening around him, he’s earnest and loyal, and generally a good guy who’s made the best out of his original crappy circumstances. His adoptive family are also made of awesome, even in the middle of all chaos that descends.
The frank depiction of teenage sexuality was refreshing, especially in showing a girl going after what she wants. Parvati as a character is flawed, and just as much trapped by her own lies. In the end though, she appears quite remorseful for her misdeeds, and there’s a sense of hope that maybe things can get back on track.
It does suffer from You’re Not Like Other Girl-itis, where Max tells Parvati, “But mostly I like how you’re not like other girls. You don’t even try to fit in…And I think it’s cool you don’t like all that boring girly stuff.”
All in all, Liars, Inc kept me intrigued throughout the book, and while some of the situations were a bit over the top, I still found it a compelling read. Betrayal, angst, secret video recordings, planted evidence… you know you want to pick this one up.
ARC received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from uncorrected proof and may differ from final version.