March 20, 2015

Title: Liars, Inc.

Author: Paula Stokes ♥ @pstokesbook

Expected Publication:
March 24, 2015

Publisher: HarperTEEN

Pages: 368

Genres: Young Adult ♥ Contemporary ♥ Mystery Thriller

Source: Edelweiss

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 03/20/2015): 3.93

  • Christina thought this title was face-paced and thrilling. It goes on her second shelf. To find out why…

**SPECIAL NOTE:**An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Quick Thoughts and Rating:
4 solid stars! I honestly don’t know what I expected when I first dove into this book, but it certainly wasn’t this gripping of a tale. I suppose I assumed it was going to be more juvenile, mischievous misdemeanor teenage prank stuff considering it was YA, and shame on me because this book certainly wasn’t even close to that. It was evident from the start that Stokes really took her time plotting this book and focusing on even the tiniest of details. I was intrigued from the very beginning and once I was settled in, I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

The climax and ending were close to what I was anticipating, but the author really kept me guessing all along. I think I suspected anyone and everyone at some point during the novel, even Max himself. In fact, I’m pretty sure I still don’t trust anyone now that it’s over and the real criminal was apprehended.

My tennis shoes crunch gravel as I accelerate. Blood pounds in my ears. Where’s Preston DeWitt? I don’t know. That’s the truth. Not the whole truth, because it’s too late for that. Even if I told the feds everything, they wouldn’t believe me. 
~quote taken from the eARC of Liars, Inc. at 2%

The Lowdown: A simple lie that landed him in detention and an afternoon with his girlfriend also lands him with a twenty in his hand from the girl for whom he unknowingly took the fall for. Turns out there’s a bit of a small business in covering for people, forging a few parent signatures, and providing an alibi for a teen in need. With his best friend and girlfriend, popular and charismatic Preston and Parvati, words spreads quickly, money starts changing hands, and Liars, Inc. is born. But soon, Preston is demanding his own alibi, on the sly and just between him and Max. It was supposed to be simple- another inconsequential blink of the eye of another boring day in his senior year of high school. If anyone asked, they camped out at the beach and surfed the day away. Something solid and easily explained away for these beach boys. In reality, though, Preston was off to Vegas to meet a girl he met online. However, when Preston doesn’t come back home and clues start pointing to something more sinister and eventually lead to Preston’s dead body, things go down hill for Max really quickly. With his back to the wall and the feds breathing down his neck, Max has to figure out who killed Preston and, even worse, why would they frame him for it?

My Thoughts: I figured out that I just can’t do mysteries, no matter what it’s about or who the author is- even if they are as good as this one was and written by an author I trust to deliver a great novel. They seriously drive me crazy, all the not-knowing and chasing my tail. I find myself so wrapped up in puzzling out the details and the ins and outs of the mystery that I can’t even relax and enjoy the book. I always, and I do mean always, end up skipping to the end or begging for someone to spoil me to see if I’m right about my theories before I can chill out enough to see the book develop on its own, which is really frustrating in and of itself. However, in most mysteries, once I find out the “who” of it, I’m basically done with the book from that point. It zaps all the fun out of it because once I know where the blame goes or who the “bad guy” is, I can figure out the motive. That was not the case with this book. Ms. Stokes had us running in circles, and even though I had predicted the who and had it verified, I couldn’t understand why. So that reason paired with the incredible pacing of the novel that only ramped up incrementally throughout is exactly what I needed to push me to the end. And that climax and conclusion of the book? Not really what I had expected at all. Well done, Ms. Stokes. I quite enjoyed it, as well as all the misdirecting twists you provided and sprinkled throughout to keep us thrown off the real trail. The work you put into this novel, spinning your web of mystery and lies, is all very apparent now that I’m finished. You did an excellent job with the plot and you should be very proud.

I don’t want to elaborate any more on the characters or the plot or anything really so that you’ll be as surprised as everyone else, but know that the author writes great characters with real depth. Our MC, Max, was written with a believable male voice and his character was one that I rooted for constantly, even though I may have believed a time or two that he, himself, was tricking us. I was also appreciative of the secondary characters as well. Though the romance in this book didn’t have the major spotlight, it was still a very important part. I liked their chemistry and Parvati’s rebellious ways. It wasn’t hard to see why Max had been so smitten with her. They made a good team.

♥ Rec it? Yes. If you like mystery-thrillers that will have you in the dark until the very end paired with realistic conflicts and engaging characters, make sure you add this book to your TBR.

♥  A very special thanks to HarperTEEN and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

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