I received this book for free from New Leaf Literary in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger
Published by Scholastic Press on April 28th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Source: New Leaf Literary
Kody Keplinger returns to the world of The DUFF in this brand-new companion novel!
Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend's house every night because she has nowhere else to go.
Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with -- secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross.
Ryder's the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can't stand -- a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.
But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually like him. Only there's one small catch: he thinks he's been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she's the girl he's really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?
Lying Out Loud seemed to pop up out of nowhere – and after so long without a YA Keplinger novel, you can bet your ass I was EXCITED AS HELL. Then I got the chance to read this as an ARC that was personally signed to me by Kody herself and *DEAD* Lying Out Loud is cute and funny and happymaking and yayyyyy ♥
So Lying Out Loud tells the story of Sonny Ardmore, a compulsive liar, who sort of accidentally ends up catfishing a guy who she slowly realizes she has feelings for. The unfortunate part of that is that (a) the guy, Ryder, thinks Sonny’s messages all come from Amy, her best friend, and (b) in real life, the two can’t stand each other. It’s hate-to-love romance of the Pride and Prejudice variety, because both characters are stubborn as fuck, with a modern internet twist.
I’ll say upfront that Sonny is not the most likable character. However, Keplinger has a flair for creating quirky, flawed voices that steal your heart anyway. Sonny lies about everything as a defense mechanism – a back story revealed towards the end will nearly bring you to tears. When all is revealed, it becomes more understandable why a character would be so scared of letting people in and telling them the truth, but before that, the lying definitely grated on my nerves. I’m more of a compulsive truthteller, so I definitely had to remind myself to be patient with Sonny. I knew the character depth would be there – and it was. But it just felt like the lies went on for so long, especially the deception towards Ryder.
But that romance was plenty adorable, for sure. In real life, Ryder and Sonny don’t get along, because Ryder is quite prideful and pretentious. He’s suffering from a case of “the grass is always greener” since he was forced to move to Hamilton. But in their text messages and chats, Sonny gets to know another side of him – one that’s bantery and adorable and more vulnerable than he’ll let on. Despite all her lies, in those messages, she feels at ease to tell some of the truth – in the same way that internet communication has always put me at ease as well. It’s so much easier to be open and honest when you don’t have to directly face judgment. Before long, Sonny realizes she likes Ryder, and tries to take their internet romance offline without revealing the pseudo-accidental catfishing.
The friendship between Sonny and Amy is amazing and important as well. You can tell that the two are true best friends – always ready to help each other and when things get bad, they’re there to deliver a swift reality check. The two of them are super sweet, but there’s more to it than that. Even friends are scared sometimes to reveal all to each other, and Sonny lies to Amy just as much as everyone else. Their friendship has been quite codependent throughout the years, and after the ordeals of this book, they have to come to terms with the fact that they are two separate people who maybe won’t always be together. This important theme was definitely present, but I wish we’d seen Amy become her own person in this book. I’d almost venture to say that she needs her own companion novel. However, I have to give super duper praise for the way Keplinger handles things like this – the friendship and the end of the romantic arc of the book – with realism and hopeful optimism. She doesn’t do a cookie cutter happy ending, because life isn’t always like that.
Keplinger fans will absolutely rejoice as this is a companion novel not only to The DUFF, but to Shut Out and A Midsummer’s Nightmare as well. All of the couples from these books make appearances, so there are lots of Easter eggs to spot. In particular, though, there is a lot of Wesley. And hollaaaaaa, more Wesley is always better. Wesley is Sonny’s best friend’s brother, and as Sonny is practically part of their family (which is such an amazing family, srsly omg), he treats her as a little sister too. Their relationship is just so squee-inducing. Wesley is amazing. And Wesley and Bianca are just RELATIONSHIP GOALS. Seriously.
Unfortunately, of all of Keplinger’s YA novels so far, this is definitely my least favorite. Now that’s not to say that it’s bad, but I just found it less personally relevant and/or inspiring. The DUFF had a clear message about body image and self-confidence, Shut Out had meaningful discussions about teenage sexuality – fighting the stigmas of slut shaming and virgin shaming, and A Midsummer’s Nightmare made me cry because of the heartbreaking family dynamics that I found quite familiar. For Lying Out Loud I can’t quite find such a relatable message other than, “Stop lying,” and as a compulsive truthteller, that didn’t do much for me. The story was still entertaining, and I love the gratuitous amounts of Wesley, but it’s just not as meaningful to me as the others.
Summing Up:Though it’s my least favorite of Keplinger’s YA novels so far, Lying Out Loud delivers the things we love most about her writing: quirky, flawed characters with depth, banter, hilarious hijinks sure to go wrong, meaningful (and at times heartbreaking) family dynamics, a healthy dose of realism, and WESLEY. *cough* Sorry not sorry.
GIF it to me straight!
Recommended To:Fans of hate-to-love romance / mistaken identity hijinks.
You know that I love Kody Keplinger, and I’ve been working with her team at New Leaf Literary to really get the buzz going for all things Keplinger this year. So once again we have an EXCELLENT giveaway for you guys!
– A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE audio download code
– Hardcovers of THE DUFF, SHUT OUT, and A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE
– Signed ARC of LYING OUT LOUD
- You must fill in the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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- The giveaway runs until April 26th, at 11:59 p.m. EST.
- When the contest ends, the winner will be announced here and emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to respond, before another winner is picked.
- I am not responsible for items lost or damaged in the mail.