By Paula Stokes
Expected publication March 24, 2015 by HarperTeen
Max and his friends have no problem profiting from their classmates' desire to lie. But when Max's best friend disappears, will all the lies catch up to him? Did Max have something to do with it? Or are there lies that even Max didn't know about?
Liars are kind of a big deal in teen fiction right now - they're popping up everywhere. While I don't have a particular fondness for them, I thought the blurb for this sounded suspenseful enough to give it a try. I didn't know beforehand that I'd read this author before, though under a different name and a different genre.
I'm not sure how much I have to say about this one. It was an interesting enough read and I was invested enough to want to know the truth behind Preston's disappearance, but it's probably not a book I'll remember for a long time. What I enjoyed most was the actual mystery. I though Stokes did a great job making it complicated but not convoluted, with twists that were surprising and mostly believable. My predictions about the truth were close but not exact, and I was pleased with Stokes' explanation of things.
What I didn't like were the characters. I thought they were all pretty selfish, making many poor choices. I was consistently frustrated with Max - he does not make a lot of rational decisions during the course of the story (though maybe I wouldn't either if the FBI suspected me of murdering my best friend). I also didn't love the dynamics between Max and his family - it seemed like something terrible had to happen for him to remember that he actually cared about them. I get that he's had a rough life, but he's been with the Cantrells for quite some time so I would have hoped he'd treat them better. However, I relate very little to Max's story, so maybe it's accurate and I just don't know. I really despised Parvati and I did not understand Max's attachment to her. He's pretty sure he's in love with her but most of their interactions don't seem to go much beyond some playful banter in between the sexy times. I just didn't buy their relationship.
Overall, this was a decent enough mystery/thriller to keep me engaged, but not memorable enough to sit on my keeper shelf.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.