Selected and annotated by Maryjo Siergiej, iSchool Leep Student
Liar, liar pants on fire!
Amato, Mary. Get Happy. Egmont, 2014. 256 p. Gr. 7-10.
Minerva has a typical adolescence, complete with friendship, jealousy, and a new job. Her life becomes tougher after she makes an alarming discovery, leading her to confront her father and learn of her mother’s lies. Minerva is a relatable character, and her rage over these discoveries will draw readers into a rollercoaster of emotions. Teens will also enjoy the songs with guitar chords throughout the book; a website is linked so that readers can hear the songs on a ukulele.
Bunce, Elizabeth C. Liar’s Moon. Levine/Scholastic, 2011. 356 p. Gr. 7-10.
In this sequel to Star Crossed, Digger returns home and finds herself caught in a new adventure. In honor of the god Tiboran, who protects those who must lie for a living, she begins to investigate the death of Durrel Decath’s wife. Digger wants to clear his name, but is Durrel, who once saved Digger’s life, really innocent? Digger is a realistic and relatable character, as she faces loneliness and grief, yet maintains a light-hearted spirit. This fantasy series will draw readers with elements of political conflict and multi-faceted characters.
Carter, Caela. My Life with the Liars. Harper/HarperCollins, 2016. 288 p. Gr. 5-7
Zylynn is rescued from a cult and struggles to see the truth in her new life. The cult taught her that the outside world is full of evil forces and secrets. Will she be able to adjust to her new home or will she leave to rejoin her former haven? Readers will appreciate that Zylynn’s father and stepmother, with whom she now lives, care about her perspective and are honest about the views they disagree with.
Cerrito, Angela. The Safest Lie. Holiday House, 2015. 180 p. Gr. 3-5.
Anna switches identities between Anna Bauman, a Jew with a family in a Warsaw ghetto, and Anna Karwolska, a Catholic orphan. The second identity helps her escape with resistance fighters to an orphanage and, later, a foster family. It’s an emotional story, and Anna is an intriguing and multi-faceted heroine, giving a voice to an unusual Holocaust story.
Hardinge, Frances. The Lie Tree. Amulet, 2016. 400 p. Gr. 7-10.
Faith becomes involved in a conflict when her father finds a supposed fossil of a Biblical Nephilim, an event that garners great attention in the wake of Darwin’s new theories on evolution. She and her father leave town when people begin to claim that the fossil is a hoax. When her father dies suddenly, Faith is committed to discovering why he died and why they really moved. The novel vividly depicts the trials of a nineteenth-century girl with scientific inclinations and the cultural patterns of the Victorian era.
Jackson, Corrine. If I Lie. Simon Pulse, 2012. 288 p. Gr. 7-10.
After a photograph reveals that Quinn cheated on her Marine boyfriend, Carey, Quinn’s lieutenant-colonel father forces her to work at VA hospital. She then shares a secret with veteran George: Carey is gay. Quinn soonfinds herself as a victim of the fallout from a tangle of lies, and her resulting anger shows the harsh reality of life in a military town and family expectations. Jackson creates complex characters in this book that questions what it means to be a good friend.
Jackson, Donna M. Every Body’s Talking: What We Say Without Words. Twenty-First Century, 2014. 64 p. Gr. 5-9.
In this informative and fun information book, Jackson, a children’s science writer, explores unspoken communication. She mainly focuses on facial expression, body postures and positions, determinates of lying, and how these differ from culture to culture. Looking to become a more confident communicator? Jackson can help by teaching how to apply communication skills and awareness with new people and public speaking.
Lockhart, E. We Were Liars. Delacorte, 2014. 240 p. Gr. 7-10.
Cadence’s grandfather is prejudiced against her friend Gat and his uncle, which upsets the distribution of the family fortune. Cadence’s mother and aunts then use their children to influence the way their father will separate the money, and Cadence unearths a web of family secrets. This is a touching and tragic story about family, prejudice, and class. The heart-wrenching events will make readers consider the implications of rivalry between siblings, old money, and the struggles of romance between class divisions.
Lynch, Chris. Little Blue Lies. Simon, 2014. 217 p. Gr. 9-12.
Oliver and Junie are recreational liars. When Junie comes back from trips with burns and bruises, Oliver investigates, suspecting Junie’s father. Then Oliver learns that Junie may possess a winning lottery ticket, and there are criminals who will do anything to steal it from her. The novel balances genuine darkness with appealing romance and glitzy destinations. The fast pacing, exciting characters, and snappy dialog will grab readers.
Paulsen, Gary. Liar, Liar. Lamb/Random House, 2011. 128 p. Gr. 4-6.
Kevin excels at lying and does it constantly. When he realizes there are hidden lies among his family members, he learns that being dishonest can be detrimental to his closest relationships. As he deals with sibling and romantic conflict, Kevin is self-reflective, yet oblivious to some of his underlying troubles. This is a great, accessible pick that will show readers that liars often have admirable intentions.
Ryan, Carrie. Daughter of Deep Silence. Dutton, 2015. 384 p. Gr. 7-10.
After a cruise ship disaster, Frances is part of a huge coverup, assuming the identity of a senator’s daughter who died and remaining silent about the truth of the ship’s foundering. Now she wants to learn why it all happened and get revenge against Senator Wells: a liar with dark motives. Ryan’s complex protagonist faces fear, grief, and anger in this well-crafted and complex story, packed full of secrets and vengeful power plays. Frances has a target on her back, and readers will root for her until the very last page.
Shea, Bob. Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret. Disney Hyperion, 2015. 50 p. Gr. 1-2.
Ballet Cat only wants to dance, but her friend Sparkle Pony has other ideas. After sharing that ballet is not his only interest, Sparkle Pony realizes that he unveiled his biggest secret! Ballet Cat announces that she cares more about friendship than ballet, and the two friends find a compromise. In this beginning reader, Shea expertly balances humor with a message about honesty to teach elementary-age children about truth telling.
Summer, Mary Elizabeth. Trust Me, I’m Lying. Delacorte, 2014. 328 p. Gr. 7-10.
Teenage con artist Julep’s father is missing, so Julep decides to find him, following clues that he left behind. Many people offer assistance during her hunt, but who can she trust? This mystery novel is well paced and plotted, and it finishes with a skillful final con. Readers will find themselves immersed in Julep’s dangerous world.
Twohy, Mike. Outfoxed. Simon, 2013. 40 p. Gr. 1-2.
A duck pretends to be a dog to save himself after a hungry fox kidnaps him. Convinced, the fox returns him home, leaving the fox to find an egg on the floor. Since when do dogs lay eggs? Twohy uses the comic book panel format and speech bubbles to effectively show the drama and hilarity of the dialogue between the fox and duck. Clear images and formatting make the story easy to follow.
West, Jacqueline. Dreamers Often Lie. Dial, 2016. 368 p. Gr. 7-10.
A head injury causes Jaye to hallucinate, and she finds herself surrounded by Shakespeare and his characters. Throughout the book, Jaye grieves her father’s death and navigates relationships with romantic rivals Pierce and Rob, and her hallucinations guide her to a handful of difficult realizations. West uses Shakespeare’s works to add emotion to this dramedy that effectively explores the complexities of memories and reality. Is Jaye’s father as cruel as he seems? Or is Jaye’s judgment flawed?