I’m somewhat conflicted about this novel. I found the title/subtitle a bit misleading because Lizzie isn’t really a liar, she simple changes her style as she ages like most women do. To me the title suggests Lizzie is a pathological liar who believes in her own version of the truth, and I expected a novel about her house of lies crashing down. Instead it was about an immature and self-absorbed teenager named Hawthorn and her relationship with the boyfriend of a missing girl named Lizzie, who wasn’t the happy-go-lucky girl Hawthorn thought her to be.
Hawthorn was a somewhat fresh take on a teenaged heroine. Though I found her to be annoying and selfish–especially when she betrayed her brother Rush’s secret during a minor argument–I still appreciate the uniqueness of her character, including her obsession with the life of the popular girl she felt she could never become (Lizzie). Chelsea Sedoti is a talented YA author who very accurately portrays the thought processes of a teenaged girl. I enjoyed Hawthorn’s witty lists of all the terrible things she wished would happen to someone who wronged her; “I wish someone would replace Mychelle’s fancy shampoo with the drugstore brand. I wish she would suddenly forget the name of her five favourite songs. I wish every time she microwaved a frozen burrito, the center would stay cold.”
I disliked Hawthorn’s (first Lizzie’s) romantic interest, Enzo, who was way too old for her at 25. And even though I knew she would end up with Connor, I wish more time had been spent on that positive relationship so the book would have felt like less of a downer. Sure it was an accurate portrayal of a lot of first loves, and even brought me back to my cringe-worthy boyfriends, but he was just such a loser and I found it painful to read sometimes. I think the moment I really didn’t like him was after he found out Hawthorn was a virgin and instead of panicking at the news in addition to committing a crime, he just lazily rolled a cigarette and said he felt like a bad guy. Ugh. I wanted her to kick him to the curb! Then he went ahead and got with Hawthorn’s nemesis Mychelle and told her the embarrassing news about Hawthorn staining his sheets. What a bag of dicks!!! AmIright?
I think my issue was that while I appreciated that the characters were realistically portrayed, I simply didn’t like them. This made the book a bit hard to read (for me), in addition to the book being a bit slow. An exception to this, and when I could not put the book down, was when Hawthorn and Enzo entered the abandoned house in the woods. I thought Chelsea Sedoti did a wonderful job unravelling the mystery of Lizzie’s disappearance and portraying Hawthorn’s feelings once the mystery was solved. I’m giving it 3.5 stars.
Personally, I wish Ms. Sedoti would write a sequel and the first scene would begin with Hawthorn kicking Enzo in the nuts.