Thursday, February 22, 2018

Blog Tour & Review: Friends & Other Liars - Kaela Coble

Friends and Other Liars: A Novel
by Kaela Coble
Published: February 6th 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery

Debut Novel Explores Secrets Among Friends…and Other Liars

Sometimes the secrets we keep are more dangerous than the ones we reveal…

When Ruby St. James returns to her hometown of Chatwick, Vermont, it’s under the worst circumstances.

It’s been ten years since she’s been home, and she tells herself the solitary life she’s built in New York City suits her just fine—at least well enough to avoid slicing open the scars left by her first love, Murphy, or her bipolar, recovering alcoholic mother.

But when one of her estranged childhood friends commits suicide and another compels her to attend the funeral, guilt draws her right back into the tumultuous world she escaped from a decade ago.

Her plan—to hightail it out of town the minute the last rose hits Danny’s coffin—is delayed when her former friends are called together for a reading of Danny’s last words. Their hopes to gain some sense of closure are quickly dashed when the note drips with bitterness, accusing them of abandoning both him and the promise they once made to always love and trust one another.

As punishment, they are each handed an envelope containing their darkest secret and told they can either reveal them or keep quiet, risking the secrets coming out publicly in a trap Danny left behind.

As the secrets begin to trickle out, Ruby struggles between the pull to reconnect with the friends who once meant so much to her and the desperate need to keep the secret that changed her life.

Told from alternating viewpoints and flashbacks, Friends and Other Liars is the story of five friends coming to terms with what it means to betray the ones who love you most.

ISBN: 9781492651161; FEBRUARY 2018
$15.99 U.S.; Trade Paper; Fiction/Mystery
5 Stars
"To all my old friends:
So here you all are. Nice to see you can show up for a person once he's dead."

Ruby is returning to her hometown, a place she's avoided for many years, a place people she once called her best friends still live in. Ally, Emmett, and Murphy are still holding down their positions in 'the crew,’ and expanding it with their respective partners. Ruby has made herself an outsider, but she reclaims her spot to say goodbye to Danny, the fifth member. His life lost to suicide, Ruby and her friends navigate the rough waters of grief made worse by the individual letters he has left for each of them. The envelopes hold their secrets, words that could crumble their lifelong friendship. Danny is the key to the friends reconnecting again, but time and age hasn't changed how these individuals are drawn to one another, nor does it stop them from uncovering old wounds in desperation to hide their secrets.

"Each playing their part in mourning-the bereaved, the wilted, the guilty."

Friends and Other Liars is the debut novel of author Kaela Coble and the first novel to secure a spot in my Top 10 of 2018 List. Yes, it is only January 11, 2018 and I am already calling it. I was riveted by this book, unable to pay attention to anything else as I slipped into the various perspectives of the friends that make up the past and present 'crew.' Told in past and present tense, Friends and Other Liars take readers on a tragic journey through the lies we tell our friends. Spanning several years, from childhood to young adult to their twenties, we are treated to the inner thought of each member as the deal with the loss of their longtime friend Danny and the holder of all their deepest secrets. We see them relive moments from high school, times where they questioned the solidness of their friendships and times when they relied on one another so heavily they didn't realize how much they'd shared.

"Talk about secrets turning you into something dark..."

I loved each character and their individuality, each was so complex and goes through vast even further development by the end of the novel. As individuals, they might come across as boring, but they make up a very interesting group of friends. Similar to the movies we see about high school friends, there is the insecure, good looking one, the smart one, the bad kid, the jock, and finally the one that's just been there all along. Set in a small town fueled by gossip and a growing drug problem, it was obvious from the start that Friends and Other Liars was going to be dramatic. For me, the drama felt personal, my hometown very similar to that of the crew's and my experiences with loss as painful. It's a tragic novel, but written in a suspenseful way and with beautiful prose. The chapters set in the past are filled with nostalgia and the present is filled with extensive detail and mature dialogue.

"They're both really good at ignoring problems."

I often struggle with novels about the loss of a friend, I find them painful to read as they bring up personal experiences I have had. With Friends and Other Liars I found that Kaela Coble had really nailed the emotions around loss so perfectly, but she took it all to the next level with the secrets and darkness the friends keep hidden from one another. It's a dramatic book based on a horrifying matter, but it is done so very well. Kaela Coble successfully tears apart all the characters have known about their friends, about their own lives, but she sews it all back up quite perfectly. With a fantastic, well-rounded set of characters, an intriguing storyline, and a powerful epilogue, Friends and Other Liars is a must read.

ARC provided via Netgalley.
About the Author

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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter: @kaelacoble

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