Friends and Other Liars by Kaela Coble
Look at them. I'm dead and they're still pissing me off.
Friends and Other Liars is the debut book for author, Kaela Coble. It's the third book that I've read in the last few weeks with Vermont as the setting. Interesting how that happens sometimes. If you read the blurb below, you might think that this is primarily a thriller - secrets, death, friends, more secrets, letters to each threatening to reveal what's hidden - it sounds scary. However, I discovered that this book is much more about old friends and relationships - you know the kind - the ones that knew you back when you were at your middle school worst. The ones that were there when you experienced the bad break-up or when that awful thing happened at the prom or the ones you went to when your parents were fighting or split up. Danny, Ruby, Murphy, Emmett and Ally - the crew.
Years have passed since high school. Ruby is the only one that left Chatwick, Vermont. She returns for Danny's funeral and sees her old 'crew' again. They are all given envelopes from Danny. Each contains a secret. Danny says they have to share the secrets with each other and if they don't - well, sometimes things come into the light anyway. The story is told from various characters' viewpoints and goes back and forth in time. The secrets do eventually come to light, but the characters have to learn to trust each other again before that happens. Each has to face some truths about themselves and the others.
I enjoyed this book very much, though it was not the fast paced story that I thought it would be - more of a character study. It made me think about my own life and the friends that I was close to back in the day. What would we have done for each other? How had our lives changed over the decades since that time? The comfort and eventual sweetness of the relationships depicted was quite satisfying. I liked how Danny, the friend that was gone, narrated the first and last part of the tale. I was pleased as I got to the final words. I'll definitely watch for the next book that Kaela Coble shares with us.
To all my old friends:
So here you all are. Nice to see you can show up for a person once he's dead.
When Ruby St. James returns to her hometown, it is to the grave of her old friend Danny, a member of a group that was, ten years ago, Ruby's whole world. The crew made a pact back then: stay together, stay loyal, and stay honest. But that was before all of the lies.
Because even friends keep secrets. They just don't stay secret for long.
Now Danny has left behind a letter for each of them, issuing one final ultimatum: share your darkest betrayal to the group, or risk it coming out in a trap he has created. When past mistakes resurface, the lines of friendship blur, and four old friends are left trying to understand what it means to lie to the ones you love best.
Kaela Coble lives in Burlington, Vermont, and is a member of the League of Vermont Writers and a graduate of the WoMentoring Project. This is her first novel.
Thank you to Sourcebooks for providing me with a copy of this book.