Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes.
To be published March 24, 2015 by HarperTeen.
It all starts with one little lie…
Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell lies 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 a business providing forged permission slips and cover stories for the students of Vista Palisades High. Liars, Inc. they call it. 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.
I think that synopsis covers it pretty well but Paula is here to give you a little more detail on why you should pick this one up come March. Take it away, Paula!
Paula: Hi everyone :-) I’m so excited to be here on Read My Breath Away talking about my next book, LIARS, INC. It’s a complete departure from THE ART OF LAINEY—darker, less romantic, less predictable, but loads of delicious, malicious fun.
One of the things I was asked to do to promote books in the past was to make a “Love List” of my favorite things about the story. This gives me an opportunity to share some of my reasoning behind choices I made and highlight the big and little things that make me proud to call LIARS, INC. my book.
So without further rambling, I present to you, in no particular order
* The fake band name Kittens of Mass Destruction. I would so listen to them if they were real.
* The idea of selling forged permission slips, alibis, etc. I missed out on so many lucrative business opportunities when I was in high school! ;-) Just kidding—don’t do this. It doesn’t end well.
* The fact that the FBI agents are looking for Preston’s killer independently of Max and Parvati, but aren’t portrayed as inefficient or inept. We don’t know exactly what they’re doing since the book is in Max’s POV, but I have every confidence they would have solved the case on their own if needed.
* The white sari that Parvati wears to Preston’s funeral
* Max running into the woods at night and reminding himself that Mother Nature isn’t nearly as scary as human nature
* The middle-beginning-end structure. I’m a very traditional sort of storyteller so for me this represented a new narrative path that felt both risky and exciting.
* The flawed characters. Max has issues trusting people and this often comes out as sarcasm directed at his family. Parvati seems basically perfect to Max, but readers will sense she’s got a lot of issues hiding beneath her false bravado. Preston is a senator’s son who feels more like a chess piece in a campaign game than an actual human. All of these flaws lead organically to the major conflict of the book. They’re not the most likable group, but they’re interesting and they feel real.
* What Max thinks about right before he’s going to be shot
* Max and Parvati’s character development—both individually and with respect to their relationship
* The secret hidden compartment in the hollowed-out Trigonometry book
* Max’s little sis Amanda using toilet paper for tissue paper around his birthday gift
* Max’s shark’s tooth pendant
* Parvati. Half-Indian, CIA wannabe, expert liar, girl with a lot of issues and a lot of walls to hide behind. She might be messed up, but she’s my favorite. I’m hoping to write a companion novel from her POV.
* The Korean twins. A last-minute name change means that one of them is actually named after my cousin.
* The presence of many strong women in both major and minor roles
* The way Parvati uses things she’s learned from researching the CIA and reading her dad’s Air Force survival manuals to help Max evade the feds and solve the murder
* The settings—from deserted beaches to creepy cabins to cemeteries to the Las Vegas Strip
* Max comparing Parvati’s love to a dog that’s been hit by a car, just lying out in the street, waiting for you to come scoop it up in your arms
* The mini food fight (complete with salt shaker catapult :D) Max has with his little sister Amanda near the end of the book
* Parvati is portrayed as highly sexual, but no one ever judges her for it, and when she tries to judge herself, Max defends her even though he is angry with her at that moment.
* The reasoning behind the crime. The culprit has a very specific reason for committing murder and then setting up Max to take the fall, a reason that will surprise most people while at the same time feeling almost inevitable.
Thanks Paula! I think that if all of those reasons don't convince you that you're in for a great read with this one, you're just totally out to lunch. Especially with so many strong and smart women, like Parvati, to look forward to! Plus, who doesn't love a good mystery? Basically what I'm saying is go preorder this one right now.
You can do that here: Amazon Canada // Amazon US // Barnes & Noble // Chapters Indigo // Indiebound // The Book Depository
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Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts who sometimes make bad decisions. When she's not writing, she's kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. Paula is the author of THE ART OF LAINEY, INFINITE REPEAT, LIARS INC., and several other forthcoming YA novels. She loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.
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