Title: Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Length: 240 pages
Book Rating: A+ & Recommended Read
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
Keep calm and make it to prom night—without a legit panic attack.
For seventeen-year-old Bree Hughes, it’s easier said than done when gossip, grief, and the opportunity to fail at love are practically high-fiving her in the hallways of Belmont High.
When Bree’s crush, Sean Mills, gives her his phone number, she can’t even leave a voicemail without sounding like a freak. Then she’s asked to be on Prom Court because Maisey Morgan, the school outcast nominated as a joke, declined. She apologizes to Maisey, but it’s too late. After years of torment and an ugly secret shared with their class’s cruel Pageant Queen, Maisey commits suicide. Bree is left with a lot of regret…and a revealing letter with a final request.
With Sean by her side, Bree navigates through her guilt, her parents’ divorce, and all the Prom Court drama. But when a cheating-love-triangle secret hits the fan after a night of sex, drinks, and video games, she’s left with new information about Sean and the class Pageant Queen. Bree must now speak up or stay silent. If she lets fear be her guide, she’ll lose her first love, and head to prom to avenge the death of the school outcast—as a party of one.
Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath is a captivating young adult novel that is the perfect blend of teenage angst, humor and romance. However, Ami Allen-Vath deftly incorporates true to life, hard-hitting issues into the storyline and this is what makes it an absolute must read for readers of all ages.
Bree Hughes is well-liked by most of her classmates but she prefers to stay out of the limelight. However, she is thrust into the middle of drama when she, her best friend Kallie Vale and the much bullied Maisey Morgan are nominated for prom queen. Bree also has a serious crush on Sean Mills but since she is too shy to approach him, she spends a lot of time daydreaming about him. Much to her surprise, Sean asks her to help him on a class assignment, but when the two continue hanging out together, she is uncertain whether or not they are just friends or if they are dating. In the midst of the normal teen angst, Maisey commits suicide and leaves Bree a letter that she is too afraid to read. She is still trying to make sense of Maisey’s death when her relationship with Sean hits an unexpected snag. With her life in chaos and prom fast approaching, Bree is finally forced to change her unhealthy way of dealing with her problems.
Bree is a very appealing and likable character who, on the surface, seems to have it all together. But there is a lot going on her life that she is keeping to herself. Her parents have recently divorced and while Bree is glad her home life is much more serene, she refuses to deal with her feelings over the changes in her life. At the same time, she and Kallie are drifting apart since Kallie spends most of her free time with her boyfriend. Bree is completely blindsided by Masiey’s suicide and she experiences a ton of guilt that she did not do more to stop her classmates incessant bullying. She is also confused about why Maisey left her a letter but no matter many times she tries, she cannot bring herself to read Maisey’s final words.
Bree’s relationship with Sean is very sweet and slowly transitions from friendship to romance. Their interactions are mostly fun and laidback and while Sean eventually opens up about what is going on in his life, Bree keeps quiet about the problems in hers. She retreats when things get rough but Sean never gives up trying to get through to her. Their romance is mostly trouble free but when Bree learns distressing news about him, she pulls away from him, refusing to allow Sean to tell his side of the story. However, this is the impetus she needs to finally find a healthier way to deal with her problems and by prom night, Bree’s self-confidence gives her the courage to publicly speak about Maisey’s suicide.
Maisey is an absolutely heartbreaking character and it is impossible not to feel empathy for the suffering she endured. Bullied by her classmates for years, she is miserable and just trying to survive until graduation. But she reaches her breaking point when she is nominated for prom queen and becomes an even bigger laughingstock to her classmates. Maisey lashes out in anger when Bree makes a half-hearted attempt to comfort her, but it is definitely a case of too little, too late. There is more going on behind the scenes with Maisey than anyone could possibly imagine and this, too, plays a role in her decision to take her life.
Light-hearted with darker undertones, Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath is an engaging and thought-provoking novel that tackles some very worthwhile subjects with sensitivity and compassion. The characters are well-developed with true to life flaws and imperfections but this is what makes them easy to relate to. The novel is well-written with a realistic storyline that has depth and substance. The ending is poignant yet uplifting and the epilogue is very heartwarming. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this phenomenal young adult novel to readers of all ages.