Author: Paula Stokes
Publisher: March 24, 2015
Publication Date: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult // Murder // Mystery
Source: Borrowed (Library)
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 (goodreads).
Fans of YA murder mysteries know that the genre can be a bit repetitive and tiring. I'm happy to say that Liars, Inc. is a fast paced page turner with an ending I wouldn't expect!
Plot: Max seems to be the odd man out. He doesn't quite fit in with his football star of a best friend and people usually turn their heads when they see him and his hot girlfriend Parvati together. Their relationships come under more strange when Preston goes missing and Max learns that he didn't know his best friend and his girlfriend as well as they think.
From the get-go Liars, Inc. caught my attention. You see, it starts in the middle and so of course you want to know how Max got himself in the situation that he's currently in. Even though the book is almost 400 pages, it was quite a page turner. I would devour 50 pages without even blinking. Paula Stokes does not bog her writing down with tedious descriptions of people, we get the basics and hit the ground running which really works for this mystery.
Throughout the novel I had an inkling of which direction I thought the mystery was going in, and I'm happy to announce that I was still taken aback by the ending. You won't be able to guess this one from page 25 my friends!
Characters: Max is a hard character to understand. He was orphaned as a child and spent time being homeless and living in a group home before he was finally adopted by the "perfect" family. He's an outcast and doesn't run in the same circles as his friends which makes you wonder what really holds them together.
His girlfriend, Parvati, is a piece of work as well. Throughout the novel I questioned her motives and found myself analyzing her behavior and reactions throughout the novel. I liked that Paula didn't give away too much information so each character has an air of mystery to him.
World Building: I mentioned that I was going to start analyzing world building in contemporary novels by the amount of diversity there is and Liars, Inc. is a solid "B." There are people of color throughout the novel and the world seems pretty believable. This is due in part to the characters, they act like teenagers would: they drink, they curse, they have sex and they do other unsavory things.
Short N Sweet: Liars, Inc. is a great read for anyone who is a fan of mysteries. With questionable characters and even more questionable ethics, you won't be able to guess what happens next!