Book Review: Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen

Title: Liar, Liar- The Theory, Practice, and Destructive Properties of Deception

Author: Gary Paulsen

Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction

Number of Pages: 120

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes

This is a simple story, probably better for younger kids than a 27-year-old like me (albeit one who likes middle grade.) It wasn’t nearly as good as something like Paintings from the Cave but it was light and fun and had a solid character arc. I liked the way the main character’s family was written and how true-to-life they felt.

Kevin is a liar. He’s actually a bit of a manipulative little shit, to be honest. He turns his siblings against each other (telling one the other was stealing) because he was frustrated with the way they wouldn’t drive him places and is glib and deceitful with his parents and teachers. He becomes infatuated with a classmate named Tina and tries to figure out how to get close to her, but his lying comes back to bite him in the ass.

I felt like Kevin’s hypochondriac friend JonPaul seemed to have undiagnosed OCD and it was played off as an irritating neurosis. Even though I didn’t like Kevin, I thought he was a fairly well-developed character with a strong narrative voice.

He does do some maturation by the end so I imagine he might end up being a more likable character in the future books in the series (there are five in all.) I laughed a few times and Gary Paulsen is good at writing characters that are a little offbeat but thoroughly believable. I wasn’t crazy about this book by any means but I do have some interest in reading the other books to see where Kevin’s sometimes rocky journey through adolescence takes him.

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