Lying Out Loud

304p. Scholastic. Apr. 2015. ebook available. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545831093.
Gr 9 Up—Set at Hamilton High like Keplinger's previous works, this novel features Sonny Ardmore, a habitual liar who makes up outrageous stories to cover for her dismal family situation. Her father is in prison, and her mother is never around. Sonny and Amy Rush—younger sister of Wes from The Duff (Little, Brown, 2010)—are close friends, and Sonny even moves unofficially into Amy's house. When arrogant prep-school new boy Ryder gets a crush on Amy and emails her asking for a date, Sonny inadvertently strings him along online, typing outrageous responses while pretending to be Amy. Eventually Sonny begins to talk about serious concerns with Ryder and realizes that she actually likes him. The protagonist, who is accustomed to lying her way out of everything, concocts a ridiculous plot in which sweet-natured Amy pretends to be completely irrational, thereby smoothing the way for Ryder to fall for Sonny instead. Unsurprisingly, the teen's deceptions catch up with her. Sonny is a realistic and very human character, and even though she is a liar, her motivations are all too believable. One of the strong points of the book is the emphasis on female friendship; Sonny's relationship with Amy is just as, if not more, important than her budding romance with Ryder. This will appeal to readers who enjoyed Sarah Dessen's Lock and Key (Viking, 2008) and are on the lookout for titles with a feminist bent.
VERDICT A must-purchase for libraries where Keplinger's other titles have been popular.

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