Justine Larbalestier, September 2009.  Micah is a compulsive liar, which she admits right away, so how can we believe anything she says? She swears she will tell the truth in the book, though, and she promises this in a very believable way – because she’s such a practiced liar. 

Micah’s secret boyfriend, Zach, has been savagely murdered, and she’s one of the suspects. She dances around most issues, but is clear up front about this one: she insists she did not kill Zach.  Throughout the book, she admits she’s told us a variety of lies along the way – she brings a younger brother into and out of existence a few times, for example – but she never wavers from her position that she did not kill Zach. 

I can’t reveal much more of the plot without giving away major spoilers. Suffice it to say that in the middle of this seemingly realistic teen mystery, a supernatural element is thrown in….or is it?  Is Micah lying about that too?  What about this family illness she claims to have?  Is it real or supernatural or completely fake?  What kind of gender and sexuality issues does Micah have?  Maybe none, or maybe that’s actually 100% of her problem, and the whole “family illness” is just a lie or a metaphor or a plot device to talk about gender? 

The author herself states there are at least two ways to interpret the end of the book and that she left the ambiguity in on purpose.  No matter what you think about Micah’s true nature or what her real problems are, this book will frighten and intrigue teen and adult readers alike. Highly recommended.

This entry was posted in 2009, biracial, bisexual, black, fantasy, gaytopia, high school, Justine Larbalestier, mystery, problem novel, queer protagonist, secondary queer character, surprise queer character, trans, unreliable narrator. Bookmark the permalink.

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