Monthly Archives: February 2017

5) Liar

By: Justine Larbalestier

Date Finished: 01.26.17

by Justine Larbalestier

Full disclosure: I listened to the audio book of this one and it may have altered my perception of the story. The performer did a great job but it was a difficult story to track. For one thing, it’s first person and I had a hard time distinguishing dialogue from inner monologue. For another, it frequently jumps in time. Each chapter is marked by “Before,” “After,” or “History of _______.” There were generally enough context clues to point to where it fell in the timeline but I did get lost on occasion.

The biggest struggle was keeping up with the unreliable narrator. It’s not a complaint exactly — the book is called Liar for goodness sake so there’s no use pretending that the main character is trustworthy. Still, it’s hard to keep up when you can’t flip back through the pages to see exactly what she said the first time. That’s where listening the audio book did me a disservice.

That being said, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this book even in print. I found it excessively repetitive. I suspect that I would have skimmed or skipped over large chunks if I had the option. Also, I never quite liked the main character enough to worry about her or cheer for her. I nearly abandoned ship a couple of times but that is where the audio book was actually helpful; I didn’t have to expend any extra time or effort to see it through to the end.

At the end of the day: Not for me

(Oh, I never summarized the story. Here goes: Micah is a liar partially because she’s hiding a big family secret and partially because she likes seeing how long she can get away with it. When her boyfriend turns up dead, lots of people think she killed him. Her lies start to get her into real trouble so she swears to start telling only the truth…and doesn’t succeed.)

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04) El Deafo

By: Cece Bell

Date Finished: 01.16.17

by Cece Bell

By day, Cece is a kid who has to wear a bulky device – the Phonic Ear – in order the hear. But in times of trouble, she’s a brave hero on a quest to find the most precious thing of all: a True Friend. El Deafo is Bell’s memoir of her experience of growing up with deafness which includes the fearless, made-stronger-by-disability alter-ego that she created as a kid. And, like all good superhero stories, El Deafo is a graphic novel.

This book perfectly reflects the mindset and logic of a kid. Young Cece is embarrassed by the Phonic Ear and is convinced that she needs to hide her deafness in order to be accepted. The adult in me kept thinking, “You’re making this harder than it needs to be,” and Bell admits as much in the afterword. However, the story itself is free from this kind of commentary. Cece never wavers in her convictions that the world is exactly the way she understands it.

Ultimately, this is a familiar story to anyone who’s ever been a child or dealt with loneliness. It’s the tale of girl dealing with deafness, yes, but it’s also the saga of a girl navigating the politics of elementary school friendships, sleepovers, and birthday parties. It’s also a great empathy builder in the way it shows several characters (including Cece) struggle to empathize with one another.

At the end of the day: For me