Friday, June 24, 2011

The Liar Society by Laura & Lisa Roecker

Genre: YA contemp/ mystery
Pages: 361 (hardcover)
Published: Marcy 2011 by Sourcebooks
Recommended for: fans of YA mystery and Pretty Little Liars

Synopsis:
Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send e-mails. But when she gets an e-mail from Grace, she’s not so sure. 

To: KateLowry@pemberlybrown.edu
Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
From: GraceLee@pemberlybrown.edu
Subject: (no subject)

Kate,
I'm here…
sort of.
Find Cameron.
He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.

Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder...


My Take: 


Here's a fair warning: I really don't like mysteries.  I just don't, so this review is bound to be a little biased.  I'm the sort of person who can't stand surprises or clandestine whispers, and so it's hardly surprising that I find little enjoyment in books where our protagonist must slowly work her way to the truth of who-dunnit and then confront the murderer-perpetrator, typically spewing such exclamations as 'It was you!  You were the one who...'  Now, I know mysteries are actually a very popular genre and beloved by many.  Therefore I think The Liar Society would appeal much more to other readers.  But for me, personally, here's why this book and I didn't click:


The whole plot of this book felt vaguely familiar, like a clique that isn't quite over-used enough to be a clique, per say... it's just all eerily similar to an episode of Ghost Whisper you saw last week.  The premise-- a girl dies in a terrible tragedy and her friend later receives mysterious emails from her disused account telling her to seek out the truth-- is a 'hook' if I've ever heard one, and this was absolutely a difficult book to put down once you got started.  Yet I figured out the mystery of who killed Grace and why and who was involved long before our MC Kate did, which ruined the intended suspense even in the long-awaited climax and confrontation with the baddies.  I also was never quite clear on whether or not Grace-- who appears to Kate several times, often only as a glimpse of a black-haired girl who turns out to be somebody else entirely-- was in fact a ghost, or if Kate was simply spurred on by the memory of her best friend and somehow projecting her ghost.  None of the characters except for Kate and Grace were very memorable-- even Liam, the bad boy-type Kate begins to reluctantly date on-and-off and who the authors try to frame as the prime suspect, didn't make much of an impression.   I was annoyed by the pink-haired girl on the cover, too, if only because I did not read of one pink-haired girl in the book. (UPDATE: Turns out the ARC copy I won is drastically different from the finished book.  In the early ARCs, Kate is a plain brunette and never dyed her hair after Grace's death.)


Now, as to what I did like: I liked the feel of the exclusive private school, Pemberly Brown, which the girls attended.  The details of the stacks in the library's basement, the old chapel, and Grace's memorial bench made it an interesting story world to visit.  The warring secret societies and age-old traditions of the school proved cool as well, especially a candle-lit ritual among sophomore girls in a tower on school grounds.  The story alternates between the present, with Kate trying to piece together the mystery of Grace's tragic death, and the past, when Kate, Grace, and their friend Maddie received mysterious invitations to one of the school's most clandestine ritual celebrations... and Grace failed to come out of the chapel where it was to be held alive.  Overall, I certainly didn't love this one, but I think a lot of readers would.  It's 4+ stars rating on Goodreads proves that.


Cover: 3/5
Premise: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

4 comments:

Becca C. said...

I haven't read the book yet, it's in my TBR pile, but isn't Kate supposed to have pink hair? I've seen the "pink-haired protagonist" mentioned in reviews and stuff from the authors. Maybe they got that from the cover, or maybe you missed a mention or something.

Kat said...

@Becca-- Ah! It turns out you're absolutely right about the pink hair. I didn't mention this in my review, as I won this book rather than received it for review, but my copy is an ARC. An older ARC, judging by the fact that mine had a plain green (unfinished) cover.

According to the authors' blog, originally Kate was a plain brunette. After the cover designers settled on a pink-haired girl, they rewrote the story so that Kate dyes her hair after Grace's death. (Sort of a symbolic change.) In my ARC edition, her newly pink hair was never mentioned. Thanks for the alert about this! :)

Aylee said...

Don't like mysteries? Chacun a son gout, I guess. I absolutely love mysteries but only when they're original and are hard to figure out so it's a bummer that you felt the mystery was familiar and that you were able to figure it out so quickly. I tend to be pretty dense when it comes to solving mysteries though so maybe I would enjoy this one more than you. Anyways, great review, Kat :)

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

I like to be surprised so I hate it when you know who the killer is before the MC. Not sure if this book is for me but great honest review :)

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