Review: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Release Date: March 24th 2015
Published By: HarperTeen
Pages: 368
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis: 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.


Review: I am going to be a black sheep here and say that while I did enjoy Liars, Inc., I didn’t totally love it.

Liars, Inc. was a little bit different to what I expected. I expected the actual Liars, Inc. part to play a very important role and for there to be some juicy things involved in this aspect of the story. And so while it played an important part as it was kept a secret for quite some time, the good stuff was kind of brushed over. This group of friends created Liars, Inc. to create cover stories, provide alibis, hide secrets and basically doing anything slightly dodgy for their school-friends, and while this could have provided some very interesting storylines, it was not covered in depth, and in fact, this venture was in its infancy.

Liars, Inc. comes to an end as quickly as it begins when one the founding members, Preston, is reported missing after going to meet a girl he met online. This leaves his best friend Max, and Max’s secret girlfriend Parvati, to uncover that happened to Preston. Well, them and the police of course.

No one knows where Preston is, and the police are starting to focus their attention on to Max. But Max is a natural at lying, to himself and to others, and from the very beginning of Preston’s disappearance, Max starts telling people what he think they want to hear, or not tell them the things that they should. Firstly he lies to protect Preston and the alibi he created so Preston could visit this unknown girl. And even as time goes on and evidence starts to emerge to indicate that something bad has happened to Preston, Max continues to lie to protect Liars, Inc.

This story is told from Max’s perspective, and while I quite enjoyed being in the head of someone who seems to have all fingers pointed at them, all the while worried about his best friend, I found that Max was lying for no good reason - he thought he was protecting himself and his friends from the deeds of Liars, Inc., but in reality, there was nothing really to protect them from. This group had done a few high-school level under the table dealings, which is nothing when it comes to finding your missing friend or proving you didn’t murder someone! I understand that Max was a loner, but I found it very hard to find it realistic that you would lie about such stupid things when your best friend’s life is on the line (or you know, a murder charge coming your way). But anyway…

Liars, Inc. was a little slow to start with, during the whole setting up of Liars, Inc., but it soon becomes a fast-paced thriller that will take you on many twists and turns. The plot was clearly well thought out, and even if you happen to guess one of the twists, there are a few more left in store for you!

I can’t say that I connected with any of the characters, and I don’t think there were many likeable characters in the story. Max is probably the most likeable, but his desperation to be the “best friend” and the “boyfriend” is so prominent that I didn’t really get to know him. He was a bit of a sheep, always thinking his friends were better than him and that because he had been dealt a hard hand in life that he had to keep everyone at a distance. But I must say that the representation of relationships in this book is amazing. The dynamics between Max and his family is real and evolving throughout the storyline, and his friendships with Preston and Parvati are portrayed as honestly as they could be.

So while I did enjoy Liars, Inc., I just cannot say I found it be fantastic. I think that although this is fiction, I just couldn’t believe that someone would lie about such stupid things when it could save your best friends life or avoid a murder charge being slapped on you. I understand there were some issues going on with all of these characters, but I just couldn’t get past this fact.

But there are certainly some crazy twists that will keep any thriller/mystery fan entertained. And when I say crazy, I mean crazy! There are clues along the way, but it is unlikely that you will put all of them together before the big ending. It was intriguing, interesting and more than just a little creepy.

To start telling the truth, Max must first see it. Will he uncover the truth through all the lies, secrets and deceit?

Note: the author has previously advised that changes have been made to the ARC. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss, so I am unsure if I got an updated copy or not.



“When you care about someone, you can’t just turn that off because you learn they betrayed you.”

“To me, Mother Nature isn’t nearly as scary as human nature.”

“A lot of kids think high school represents the best years of their lives, but others recognize that it’s mostly irrelevant bullshit, and that life doesn’t even begin until afterward.”

“The truth doesn’t get you very far on the streets, or in a group home, or even in high school. That’s probably why the idea of Liars, Inc. appealed to me. Everybody lies. You might as well get paid for it.”

“Maybe I could dole out the truth in tiny pieces that, once assembled, would make a picture that resembled a reality in which I hadn’t done anything wrong.”


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