Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Published by HarperTeen (3.24.2015)
eARC, 368 pages
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.
I mentioned in my review of The Art of Lainey that I was really impressed by how much Paula’s storytelling had improved since Venom. I was even more impressed with it in this one!
The mystery aspect of this book was awesome! I really liked the secrets and lies – I love stories where the bad guy could be anyone, so you start to mistrust every single person in the story. This one was like that! At every turn I was wondering who was trying to frame Max, and second-guessing everyone’s motives.
There was kind of an underlying moral in this book: That lies are like a tangled web, and the more you try to wiggle your way out of them, the more they wrap around you tighter until you can’t get out. What started out as a small lie to Max ended up getting him in serious trouble! There were also times where I kinda wanted to throttle him, because if he had just told the truth from the beginning he wouldn’t have dug his hole so deep. (Seriously, it’s the cops, why would you continue a silly cover story?!)
I enjoyed the journey in uncovering all of the secrets surrounding Preston! It was kind of crazy, too – all the videos they found, the situation with Parvati, and the events surrounding Preston’s family. View Spoiler »I totally never guessed that it was Preston himself – or rather, Adam parading as Preston – setting Max up, and that it was over jealousy of a stolen life! That was insane and so was the real Preston’s death O_O « Hide Spoiler
I would definitely recommend this book for fans of mystery! It’s fairly short and fast paced, so I gobbled it up in just a few hours. Great job, Paula!
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5