My Life with the Liars by Caela Carter

Light and dark, truth and lies, love and family. These are the themes at the heart of My Life with the Liars by Caela Carter, a powerful and moving new middle grade book.

my life with the liarsPerfect for fans of Mockingbird and Counting by 7s, Caela Carter’s middle grade debut is a story of one girl’s strength and courage as she decides who she is and what she will believe in.

Behind the white-washed walls of the compound, life was simple. Follow the rules, “live in the Light,” and all would be well. Zylynn was excited to turn thirteen and begin the work of bringing others into the light, to save them from the liars and the darkness of the outside world. But when she is taken away by a man who claims to be her father, Zylynn is confused and desperate to return to her home.

Zylynn resists her new life—until she finds small comforts like shampoo, the color pink, and strawberries. But as her thirteenth birthday approaches, Zylynn must make a difficult decision—to stay with the enemy or find her way back to the light. And neither may be what it seems.

At times difficult and heartbreaking to read, Zylynn’s story is — still — ultimately uplifting. It’s sad to discover how much joy she can experience from such simple things, like a strawberry, a yellow t-shirt, or pink walls. And it’s sadder still to see how much she’s willing to give up all the new, wondrous and wonderful things she has discovered in the outside world — just so she can return to the cult that raised her, with its hunger and cold and discipline.

An older reader could read much into the story of the compound where Zylynn was raised; but the real heart of the story isn’t about their believes or their practices as much as it is about Zylynn finally discovering her free will to choose. Who she is, what she believes, and what she wants her life to be. No small feat for anyone, let alone an extremely sheltered 12-year-old. These hurdles, and the courage she displays to overcome them, just prove what a powerful and strong character Zylynn really is. She’s someone readers can feel for and root for at once.

A triumphant story about finding your own way, My Life with the Liars is in stores March 8th.

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