by Larbalestier, Justine
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School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Biracial Micah Wilkins, 17, is the quintessential unreliable narrator. On the first page, she readily admits she's a liar though now she wants to tell her story straight. She attends a progressive private high school in New York City. She's a bit peculiar, with extra-human speed and sense of smell, and has few friends. After another student, a popular senior named Zach, is found brutally murdered, it comes to light that he and Micah had a relationship outside of school. Now she is considered a suspect. Her suspenseful, supernatural tale is engrossing and readers will be tempted to fly through it, though the wise will be wary of her spin and read carefully for subtle slipups and foreshadowing. The chilling story that she spins will have readers' hearts racing as in three sections she goes from "Telling the Truth," to "Telling the True Truth," to "Telling the Actual Real Truth," uncovering previous lies and revealing bizarre occurrences in the process. Micah's narrative is convincing, and in the end readers will delve into the psyche of a troubled teen and decide for themselves the truths and lies. This one is sure to generate discussion.-Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Readers will get chills paging through Larbalestier's (How to Ditch Your Fairy) suspenseful novel about a compulsive liar who becomes a suspect in her boyfriend's murder. Micah admits it is hard to believe a girl who has pretended "she's a boy, a hermaphrodite, or that her daddy's an arms dealer," but when Zach, the popular boy who was secretly seeing her "after hours," is found dead, Micah claims innocence, promising to tell readers her story with "No lies, no omissions." But the supernatural tale she tells may be her wildest yet. Micah composes her story in short sections labeled "Before" and "After" (the murder), as well as "History of Me," "Family History" and other categories. This is a well-paced novel with a masterfully constructed unreliable narrator, confessing to lies she has told readers along the way ("You buy everything, don't you? You make it too easy") and explaining how she makes lies believable. Could Micah really be innocent, or is she a confused girl who killed out of jealousy? Is she even human? Readers will be guessing and theorizing long after they've finished this gripping story. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Micah Wilkins is a senior at a New York City private school, an extraordinarily talented runner, and a compulsive liar. She's masqueraded as a boy, invented family members, and hidden her relationship with handsome fellow student Zach Rubin. When Zach dies under mysterious and horrific circumstances, Micah's history of lying brings her under suspicion. Larbalestier creates and sustains a marvelous tension, as readers ponder what part of Micah's narrative is true. Before and After entries call to mind Green's Looking for Alaska (2005), and like that titular character, Micah is wonderfully complex, both irritating and immensely likable. A supernatural element is well supported by Micah's obsession with genetics; she frequently cites facts learned in school to try to understand what is going on inside her. Larbalestier effortlessly and realistically shows the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of Micah's world (she is African American), something teens of color will appreciate. The unresolved ending will certainly provoke discussion, sending readers back to the text for a closer rereading.--Carton, Debbie Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.