An un-put-down-able read for teens and adults alike with the added advantage of being dyslexia friendly.
Everyone tells River that he’s a liar but he doesn’t see it that way – as far as River is concerned he just thinks up interesting stuff to fill in the gaps in what he knows. His lies are harmless: unlike the lies that his mum’s new boyfriend, Jason, tells. Jason is a total fake and River is on a crusade to expose him. However, River’s investigation doesn’t work out as planned. He does uncover a serious deception (involving his biological father and the police) but will anyone believe him?
This is a short book (just 88 pages) but worth every penny of its £6.99 cover price. With strong characters and a page-turning plot, it’s totally un-put-down-able.
Despite his lies, River is a well-rounded character whose flaws actually make him more appealing. I liked the way he tolerates Jason for his mum’s sake and his often self-destructive traits added depth, reminding me of more than one young person I know. For example, when he swelters on the beach because he insists on wearing his long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans (because he doesn’t want to get skin cancer).
The other characters – introduced to us through River’s first person voice – are also well developed, particularly mum who oscillates between supporting River (for example, when he is in trouble at school) and total exasperation with her son.
It is, however, the cracking plot that earns this book its five stars. I picked it up, planning to read just the first page, and found myself unable to put it down until I reached the end. I particularly liked the plot twist when River goes in search of his biological grandparents and the unexpected deception that he uncovers. Sadly I can’t say more without giving too much away. The Liar’s Handbook is part of Barrington Stoke’s super-readable dyslexia-friendly series with a clear well-spaced font and thick off-white paper. This might put more confident readers off but this would be a huge mistake. This is a gripping story for ALL teens. It’s also likely to appeal to adults and, given the quality of this story, I’ll be making a point of reading as many Barrington Stoke Teen books as I can.
If you enjoyed this, why not try another from Barrington Stoke’s ‘super-readable’ series. I particularly enjoyed Mind the Gap by Phil Earle or Senseless by Steve Cole. Alternatively, why not try one of Keren David’s longer teen novels? Why not try When I Was Joe?
Date: January 2017
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Author’s website: Keren David
Review first published on The Bookbag