Trending Thursday: Liars

Welcome to Trending Thursday, my sometimes-weekly post in which I pick a YA trend that we can discuss.  Today's topic is in honor of this week's Pretty Little Liars finale.

But first I will just take the briefest moment to say: what was that PLL cliffie? I'm not buying it!

Okay, back to LIARS. I have to believe that the current popularity of YA books about lies and liars is a direct result of the success of Alloy Entertainment's Pretty Little Liars, with books written by Sara Shepard and published starting in 2006, and an ABC Family show which premiered in June 2010.

In general, liar fiction can draw on the timeless trope of the Unreliable Narrator.  However, the PLL concept also has ties to the Group Tied Together by a Dark Secret trope, which may have entered the YA sphere with I Know What You Did Last Summer (the 1973 book was by Lois Duncan, and the movie adaptation released in 1996).  Pretty Little Liars (the show) also incorporates some other popular YA tropes: high school cliques, mean girls, not-quite-dead, teacher-student romancepolice are useless, and seriously-this-is-still-going on?

There have been plenty of recent YA books inspired by the sneaking and backstabbing of PLL. But let's take a look at some recent YA books that specifically reference liars:

Liar Lying Game Liar Soceity Two Lies and a Spy
Perfect Lies We Were Liars Liars Inc Trust Me, I'm Lying

Liar by Justine Larbalestier (2009)
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard (2010)
Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker (2011)
Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton (2013)
Perfect Lies (Mind Games #2) by Kiersten White (2014)
We Were Liars by e. lockhart (2014)
Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes (2015)
Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer (2015)

What do you think of this liars trend? A fad, or just an iteration of a timeless trope? Do you like books about unreliable or amoral characters?

Tomorrow's Freebie Friday will be Liar Inspired -- be sure to stop by!


  1. I missed the PLL episode >.<

    I just noticed that I've never actually read a book that features liars. I really want to read some of these, but never got around to it. I hope I'll read We Were Liars and Liars, Inc. soon.

  2. ohhh that's a good one! I didn't even noticed the trend!! Yay Jen, gold star :)

    The liars trend is pretty cool. We're always wondering if they'll get caught. The stories tend to be a bit darker and perhaps has more meaning? It's also just really entertaining. Have you read Liars Inc yet? I'm really anxious to start that one, but alas, at least 15 other ARCs must be read first :P Great post!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

  3. I havent read any of these books but I adore the show. I think it is interesting to explore views from a liars perspective, you never know what might happen or even if it is true so everythinh could be unpredictable. Thos are my favorite books, the unpredictable.

  4. I stalked Netflix for the last season of PLL, so I have only seen season 4. :( There really has been a lot of books that are about lying lately and here soon. I guess I just didn't pay attention to it. I would like to read We Are Liars and Trust Me I'm Lying. :)

  5. Awesome post! I totally agree with you. I thought that I was the only one who noticed that liars are all over the place. I guess that PLL is a pretty large influence on authors and their books? I've read the whole Lying Game series and absolutely adored it (much more than PLL) and I'm dying to snag a copy of We Were Liars. I have an e-ARC of Liars Inc, so *squeals*! Great post!

  6. Wow! amazing post! I haven't noticed it, and I haven't read any of those books, but I'm really curious now!
    I'd adding some of these to my TBR pile! Thank you!

    Lis @ The reader lines

  7. Great noticing! I like good mindfuck books so this is a trend im really liking (when done right). So excited for Liars, Inc!

  8. As a general rule - I hate liars and unreliable narrators but I did enjoy both We Were Liars and Perfect Lies so there's always an exception to the rule. I gave up on the Pretty Little Liars series.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  9. Great post, Jen. I love unreliable narrators and books told by such narrators are my favorites! We Were Liars is one of my favorite books!

  10. I really enjoyed the PPL books till book 8, then I got tired of trying to twist and add more books just for the heck of adding more books... and the show, I watched only the first two seasons before losing interest, but the unreliable narrator is a fantastic element if done right and can mess with your head in a fantastic way!

  11. Oh gosh, I didn't realize that there were so many Liar books... I have read a few and like unreliable narrators in the right circumstances

  12. I think they are interesting to read.

  13. LOL, so true. Thanks for sharing this. I do have a few of these books on my shelf to read.


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