Like The Duff, the novel is set in the small town of Hamilton and the high school there, Hamilton High. Lying Out Loud follows Sonny (or Sonya), who is best friends with Wesley’s sister Amy (Wesley from The Duff) and a perpetual liar. Due to problems at home that she doesn’t like to talk about, Sonny secretly lives with Amy.
A new boy, Ryder, has transferred to their school. He is obnoxious, arrogant, and considers everything in Hamilton inferior compared to his previous school and life in Washington. One night, though, Sonny accidentally messages Ryder and the two get talking online. Soon enough, Sonny’s lies get her caught in a web of her own weaving and it becomes difficult to find a way out without hurting herself – or those she cares about.
I think, once again, Keplinger has written a very solid YA novel. It is an incredibly fast read (I want to say I finished it in about 3.5 hours), and at no time gets boring. One thing I liked about The Duff when I read it, was how although a conflict with a boy was one of the big issues the main character dealt with, there were also so many more elements that were focussed on. In Lying Out Loud, Keplinger has managed to do the same once more: friendships, familial relationships, and how wrong first impressions can be are all important themes in the novel and handled very well.
Keplinger has a knack for writing YA that feels very genuine: in The Duff she didn’t gloss over the sex the main characters had (in fact, there was quite a bit of it) and in Lying Out Loud she makes excellent use of swear words; they’re not used very frequently, but when they are used, it feels very appropriate. Furthermore, the overall diction used by the teens felt very apt and real.
Although most of the characters sometimes acted (somewhat) irrationally, and I personally would not have done as they did, I definitely understood why the characters acted as they did: all their actions were driven by something deeper.
My only “negative” comments would be that Sonny changed her mind about Ryder rather quickly – but then again, I can imagine one would – and that I would have liked to know more about Sonny’s dad. Lastly, the ending was a little too abrupt for my liking and stopped just a little too soon (but really, that’s just a compliment for Keplinger!).
Overall, I really enjoyed Lying Out Loud: it left me curious about what might happen after the book ended and, although I sometimes wanted to shake Sonny to stop being so silly, I really rooted for her and I wanted all to turn out well. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s in for a quick, fun read that deals with romance, but also so much more. I gave it a 4/5 on Goodreads.
ps. is calling your friends’ parents “Mrs […]” and “Mr […]” and American thing?
*I received a copy of the novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.