Reviews, Awards, and Lists

“Dark, gripping . . . an engrossing story of teenage life on the margins.”

Kirkus (starred review)

“Readers will get chills paging through Larbalestier’s suspenseful novel . . . with a masterfully constructed unreliable narrator [they] will be guessing and theorizing long after they’ve finished this gripping story.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The chilling story . . . will have readers’ hearts racing. In the end readers will delve into the psyche of a troubled teen and decide for themselves the truths and lies.”

School Library Journal (starred review)

“By the end of this extraordinary book, listeners will either be desperate to discuss it with others or ready to delve right back in to listen again in an effort to figure out the truth-and most will probably want to do both.” (Review of the Brilliance/Bolinda audio book edition.)

School Library Journal (starred review)

“A spectacularly imaginative and gripping story . . . If your adult book group is interested in trying a teen novel, this will make for a great discussion.”

Nancy Pearl

“Ever since Micah began high school, she has layered falsehood upon falsehood. And even though the entire school knows she isn’t trustworthy, Micah somehow continues to dupe them. But when her boyfriend is brutally murdered, Micah must come to terms with the truth in all its horror. In this intriguing novel, readers must decide if Micah is what she says, or if she is simply spinning herself deeper into a web of lies.” —Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Winter ’09/’10 Children’s Indie Next List

“One of the most original, oddest, and ultimately satisfying YA books I’ve had the pleasure of reading.”

—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

“It is rare to find a psychological thriller that succeeds at a high level. Justine Larbalestier has achieved this in her innovatively composed and structured novel Liar. This is her most significant work to date—it’s so good, it needs to be savoured.”

Bookseller & Publisher

“This suspenseful and page-turning novel suggests that much of life’s experiences exists in the gray area, ‘somewhere in between’ the masculine and feminine, human and animal instincts. There is no black or white.”

Shelf Awareness

“[Liar] is just wonderful . . . a dark, dangerous, desperate story of secrets, lies, life and death for young adults who love to rise to a challenge. Anyone who’s game to give it a go won’t be disappointed.”

Sunday Tasmanian

“An extraordinary and original story that will have you grasping for the truth until the last page. Verdict: Forget about sleeping.”

Herald Sun

“A clever, suspenseful plot with a unique touch.”

Sun Herald

“Absolutely unputdownable. You never know if Micah is telling the truth and even when you get to the last page you still don’t know. It’s brilliant.”

Sunday Mail Brisbane

“Sophisticated fiction for readers who will appreciate the endless hall of mirrors created by the metafiction as well as the joy of a great story well told.”

The Age

“Larbalestier’s unique storytelling style will keep you gripped.”

West Australian

“Micah Wilkin’s narration is so seductive that readers will find themselves devoring this book in an attempt to piece together the promised, if illusive, truth.”


“A roller-coaster read, Liar will leave you questioning the grey areas between truth and lie.”


“A mind-blowing read.”

—Lili Wilkinson, Centre for Youth Literature

“This may be Larbalestier’s best book yet. Highly recommended for older teens.”

January Magazine

“Larbalestier creates and sustains a marvelous tension . . . Micah is wonderfully complex, both irritating and immensely likable.”


“Meet Micah Wilkins—the most intriguing, engaging and exasperating character you will come across this year . . . The further you get into this remarkable book, the less you will trust Micah but the faster you will turn the pages.”

Maitland Mercury

“When I was about a quarter of the way through Liar, I was thinking two things about it. The first was that I didn’t want to put it down. The second was that it was refreshing to read a thrilling young adult novel that doesn’t sacrifice complexity . . . A great book to enjoy for young and old alike.”

Good Reading (five stars out of five)

“Just enough tantalizing clues are laid out . . . Micah herself is never entirely sympathetic or likable, which is important to the effect of the story, as readers are never quite sure they even want to believe her or be on her side. Intriguing and deftly handled.”

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (BCCB)

“An original read for teens who enjoy psychological thrillers.”


“Larbalestier takes the unreliable narrator to the extreme . . . [the] ending will leave readers haunted long after closing the book.”

Horn Book

“The hype is accurate. Liar is a fantastic book.”

Bookshelves of Doom

“[C]ompelling, compulsive reading . . . Liar is abso-freaking-lutely brilliant. I loved it. Easily one of my fave reads this year.”

The Book Smugglers

“Larbalestier’s writing is brilliant; Micah’s voice seduces us, tricks us, makes us want to believe in her . . . Just how good a job does Larbalestier do? While I know Micah is manipulating me, the reader—I never feel like Larbalestier, the author, is.

The wonder of this book, the beauty of how it is crafted, demands that you, as the reader, do not say ‘Rosebud was a sled’ to people who haven’t read this book. Wait until they are done; find a secure, sound proof room; and then talk away, about Liar and Micah and Zach.”

A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

“Larbalestier’s writing is amazing. She (and Micah) had me convinced I was reading one kind of book right until they told me I was reading something else. Then the story changed on me again. At this point, I’m not really sure what I read. I think I know. But maybe I’m lying about that. All I know for sure is that Liar is an amazing ride that will leave you breathless.”

Miss Print

“A compulsively readable mystery. All I could say when I put the book down was, ‘wow.’ Really.”

Lessons from the Tortoise

“This book lives up to everything I’ve come to expect from [Larbalestier] as a writer and more. Completely terrifying.”

Librarily Blonde

“[A] dark, sexy thriller . . . a delectably disturbing story from start to finish.”

Reading Rants

“Intense and suspenseful. An always compelling, somewhat-unbelievable, but oh-so-thrilling read.”

Becky’s Book Reviews

“Micah’s mind games . . . and her complex relationship with truth and lies made this book compulsively readable.”


“Suspenseful, fast-moving, unnerving, aggravating, thoroughly captivating – you cannot turn away because you have to find out the truth. . . . The art of lying and the art of storytelling seem to be cut from the same cloth, as Micah (and Larbalestier) demonstrate so convincingly here, weaving together an artful cloak that shimmers and changes from every angle.”

Phoenix Book Company

“Liar is a breathtaking roller-coaster read that will have you up all night, desperately seeking for something true.”

Sydney Unleashed


Winner, Carl Brandon Kindred Award 2009

Winner, Davitt Award for best Young Adult Crime Novel 2010

Winner, WA Premier’s Literary Award, Young Adult Prize 2009

Winner, Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) Christina Stead Award 2009

Shortlisted, Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year, Older Readers

Shortlisted, QLD Premier’s Literary Award, Young Adult Prize 2010

Shortlisted, NSW Premier’s Literary Award, Ethel Turner Prize

Shortlisted, Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Book of the Year for Older Children 2010

Shortlisted, 2010 Inky Award

Shortlisted, Ditmar Award for Best Novel

Shortlisted, Locus Award, Young Adult novel


Included in the International Youth Library’s The White Ravens 2010, an annual selection of outstanding books for children and young adults.

2010 Michigan Thumbs Up!

A Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

A 2010 Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) pick from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)