Liar’s Beach

Delacorte. May 2023. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593433287.
Gr 9 Up–After working nonstop all summer, Linden is ready for a break. While he resents his classmates’ wealth—he attends his elite boarding school on a secret scholarship—he can’t pass up the opportunity to spend the last few weeks of summer at the Martha’s Vineyard vacation home of his classmate, Jasper. But try as he might, he just can’t relax. Desperate to keep his own secrets, he can’t shake the feeling that everyone else also has something to hide. When he unexpectedly runs into Holiday, a friend from his past and the Poirot of this story, things start to spiral. In the predawn hours following a raucous party, Greg, Jasper’s former best friend and newly sworn enemy, is found unconscious and bleeding from a head wound on the pool stairs. Linden knows someone is hiding the truth about what happened, and Holiday joins him on his quest to find answers. Things get messier and messier until the teens crash headfirst into the truth. The characters are somehow likable and insufferable, which makes the story as easily devoured as a reality show. While the ending echoes that of Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, it feels somewhat less satisfying here. Many loose ends remain unresolved, which might hint at a sequel but makes it hard for this book to stand on its own. Still, this will have no trouble finding an audience. All characters default to white except for secondary character Doc.
VERDICT Recommended for larger collections with devoted mystery readers.

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