Top Ten / Lies, Lying and Liars

I never lie; I think it’s immoral and abhorrent. I wouldn’t even think of doing it. I only ever read books that are one hundred percent straight with the reader because I prefer it when fictional characters tell the absolute truth. And I definitely wouldn’t write a blogpost about characters who lie, about plots that aren’t what they seem, and authors who, quite frankly, should know better.

Top Ten / Lies, Lying and Liars

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley is set during 1959, while the battle for civil rights is raging. It’s Sarah Dunbar’s first day of school, as one of the first black students at the previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there, especially Linda Hairston, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Sarah and Linda have every reason to despise each other. But as a school project forces them to spend time together, the less their differences seem to matter. Because it’s one thing to be frightened by the world around you – and another thing altogether when you’re terrified of what you feel inside.

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake (January 2015) tells us that in four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car. Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon. All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon follows Lottie. Since her dad died, life hasn’t been the same for Lottie. But when the school suggest she joins Bake Club to get her back on track, she reluctantly agrees. Her uncertainty about Bake Club melts away as she rekindles her love of baking and gets caught up with Mac, the school rebel. Both Lottie and Mac have secrets to keep, and as Bake Club progresses towards an end-of-year competition, the tension rises between the members.

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead is one of my favourite middle grade novels. Georges (the s is silent) is having trouble with some boys at school, his dad lost his job and so his mum has started working all the time – and they had to sell their house and move into an apartment. But Georges meets Safer, an unusual boy who lives on the top floor. He runs a spy club and their current case is to spy on the mysterious Mr X. But as Georges and Safer go deeper into their Mr X plan, the line between games, lies, and reality begin to blur.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is one you’ve probably already heard about. You’ve seen the praise, seen people raving about and gasping over the ending, and have been unable to avoid the hype. But I’d like you to forget about that. If a good book rests on purely having a good ending, it isn’t really a good book at all. Do not try to guess the truth; just enjoy being taken away to a private island to bask in the heat of the sun, the sound of the waves, and the privilege of wealth and aristocracy.

Top Ten / Lies, Lying and Liars

The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock is set in 1985 and 1940. When fifteen-year-old Catherine sees her best friend slip from a wild cliff path she vows never to say a word. But Catherine was the last person to see her alive. Charlie is also holding back a secret from the adults on the island. As German soldiers arrive on Guernsey, he carries out an act of rebellion with consequences that will reach far into the future – and into Catherine’s own life.

The White Lie by Andrea Gillies takes place on a hot summer’s afternoon, when Ursula Salter runs sobbing from the loch on her parents’ Scottish estate and confesses, distraught, that she has killed Michael, her 19 year old nephew. But what really happened? No body can be found, and Ursula’s story is full of contradictions. In order to protect her, the Salters come up with another version of events, a decision that some of them will come to regret.

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain is about Ivy Hart and Jane Forrester. Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy.  Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters follows Alix as she learns that her girlfriend Swanee has been leading a double life–secretly dating a girl named Liana the entire time. Alix texts Liana from Swanee’s phone, pretending to be Swanee in order to gather information before finally meeting face-to-face to break the news. Brought together by lies, Alix and Liana become closer than they’d thought possible. But Alix is still hiding the truth from Liana.

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink (April 2015) asks: what if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you’ve told yourself? Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family. But it’s all a lie. Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught… including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

8 thoughts on “Top Ten / Lies, Lying and Liars

  1. Fun post premise, and good summaries. The question is just… where to start?

  2. This story (ok, admittedly mine) is laced with little lies amidst one very big one.

    I think the human ability to attempt to mislead others is almost unavoidably attractive in novels…

  3. You see, the second someone says “I never lie” I feel like a big red flag goes up because YOU CAN LIE ABOUT NEVER LYING! Why does life have to be so tricky?

    Such a fun list and theme! I didn’t realize there were so many liar books out there. And I haven’t read a single one of these books. But one book that I have read that could fit this list is Liar by Justine Larbalestier. It’s been a long time so I don’t remember if it’s any good, but it’s another one of those books with an unreliable narrator and a big twist that’s supposed to shock.

  4. “And I definitely wouldn’t write a blogpost about characters who lie, about plots that aren’t what they seem, and authors who, quite frankly, should know better”. I fear you may be depriving yourself of an entire universe of enjoyment. Shakespeare’s Iago, Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, Orwell’s O’Brien, Bill Sykes, Judge Holden, Humbert Humbert, incredible characters in literature whose very core is founded on lies.

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