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Review: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Liars, Inc.
Paula Stokes

Genre: YA Mystery Crime
Hardback: 368 Pages
Publication: March 24, 2015
by Harper Teen

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?


Liars, Inc is not only a murder mystery, but it explores relationships with family, friends and romantics.

Max, his girlfriend Parvati, and his best friend Preston start a business call Liars, Inc., which sells lies such as excuses, forged parental signatures, and alibis for teens who want to spend uninterrupted time with their boyfriend or girlfriend. The business is going well up until Preston disappears and later turns up dead. Worse yet, the evidence points to Max as the killer.

Max’s mom died in childbirth, and his dad died when he was young. He went through a foster home, ran away, and ends up in a boy's orphanage where he is adopted by his current family. Parvati is the daughter of a Colonel and a defense attorney who are over-protective parents. She is smart, rude, and rebellious. Preston is the son of Senator DeWitt. He is cute, funny, and the football star of the school. Nobody hates him,except for the local bookie (because of Preston's gambling addiction). I like how the author shows three different sets of parents and how these three teens have grown up under these parenting styles.

I also like the character growth shown throughout the novel. At first, Max makes some mistakes, holds back information, and makes bad decisions out of fear. The lies that he tells are like a tangled web. The more you try to lie, the tighter they wrap around you. Liars, Inc starts with one single white lie, and it ends up getting Max in serious trouble. If he told the truth from the beginning Max wouldn’t have dug himself into such a deep hole. Rather than burying himself in it, however, he learns from his experiences and gradually recognizes that he needs help. Trusting yourself and others is not easy. It takes a lot of time and patience, especially if you have a broken past. I really love the dynamics between Max and his family. It proves that you don't have to be blood-related to be true family.

I also enjoyed the journey to uncover all of the secrets surrounding Preston: the videos found from his computer, the situations with Parvati, and the secrets surrounding Preston’s family. It makes one wonder if we can ever really know the people around us, like our neighbors, friends, and colleagues.

Overall, Liars, Inc. is a great novel. I can't wait for Paula Stokes' next book.

An ARC was provided by Harper Collins for review

Rating: 4 stars

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