Title: FRIENDS & OTHER LIARS
Author: KAELA COBLE
Length: 361 PAGES
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK
Type of Book: SOFTCOVER
Received From: THE AUTHOR
Release Date: FEBRUARY 6, 2018
Price: $15.99 USD
Rating: 5 OUT OF 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.
When Ruby St. James returns to her hometown, it is to the grave of her old friend Danny, a member of a group that was, ten years ago, Ruby’s whole world. The crew made a pact back then: stay together, stay loyal, and stay honest. But that was before all of the lies.
Because even friends keep secrets. They just don’t stay secret for long.
Now Danny has left behind a letter for each of them, issuing one final ultimatum: share your darkest betrayal to the group, or risk it coming out in a trap he has created. When past mistakes resurface, the lines of friendship blur, and four old friends are left trying to understand what it means to lie to the ones you love best.
This picture is of Church Street in Vermont. This is just like the Main Street in the novel.
Set in the small town of Chatwick, Vermont, the setting of this story is much like the small town I grew up in. And the circle of friends at the center of the plot, remind me of my group of friends from early middle and high school. In fact, Kaela Coble has somehow managed to capture the essence of the universal highschool experience, as well as to accurately convey the intensity of highschool friends and romantic experiences.
New author, Kaela Coble, has a gift for understanding the complicated dynamics that often exist amongst a group of friends. Her insight into the secrets that people keep, even from those closest to them is spot on. She writes based on her own youth which I am sure is the key to the believability of the story.
Having one of the main characters die before the book even begins was a stroke of brilliance. In this way the entire story revolves around Danny (who died of a purposeful heroin overdose.) Before his death he wrote a letter and had his mother read it to his friends (during highschool they referred to themselves as “The Crew.”) Included with his final goodbye, Danny has included an envelope for each of his friends. Inside those envelopes, Danny has revealed that person’s most hidden secret along with a threat that if they don’t reveal their secrets to each other, the secret would be told through a trap Danny had engineered before his suicide.
Think about that for a minute. Do you have to tell your friends everything about you? Are you not entitled to keep some things private?
In this story, readers will find themselves pondering friendship and what it truly means to be a “good” friend.
This book is chock-full of lies, deception, anger, betrayal, love and desire, as well as moments of extreme comfort and ease, all tempered by moments of hatred and extreme violence.
Kaela Coble’s gift is both impressive and undeniable. I have read other book reviews that say things like: ‘The characters jumped off the page,” and I always thought that was a ridiculous statement to make, but now that I have finished reading this book, for the first time ever I completely understand what they mean. The characters in this book never seem like written characters, they come across as real people and long after the final page, readers will still be thinking about them.
FRIENDS AND OTHER LIARS is one of the best Coming-of-Age stories I have had the pleasure of reading. I truly hope to read more books featuring these characters and the beautiful setting of small-town Chatwick, Vermont.
Kaela has also included a Reader’s Group Discussion Guide in the back of the book. It is also available online by clicking HERE.
Aside from the plot being completely spell-binding, this book also tackles some very real and deadly serious social issues, including but not limited to: suicide, addiction, child abuse, losing your virginity, opiate addiction and the rising number of Fentanyl related deaths. The fact that Kaela Coble has been able to include these issues seamlessly into her story is just one more indication that she is an author on the verge of becoming a very big deal in the publishing world.
I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would have rated it even higher if it was possible.
Kaela Coble has made me a fan and I am fervently hoping she is hard at work on her next book.
*** I received a free copy of this book from the author. **
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kaela Coble is an author of women’s fiction, represented by Stephanie Kip Rostan of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. Friends and Liars is her debut novel.
Kaela earned her B.S. in Communications and completed short stints in marketing, public relations and copywriting before switching to assistant work to free up creative energy for writing. She is a member of the League of Vermont Writers and a graduate of the Womentoring Project.
She is also a voracious reader and a hopeless addict to bad television and good chocolate. She lives with her husband in Burlington, Vermont, and is a devoted mother to their rescued chuggle, Gus.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:
This book review is one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge on the GingermomReads Blog.
As an aside, here are some pictures I found on the web showing what heroin can do to a person’s physical appearance:
If you or anyone you know are thinking about suicide, please reach out to someone. You’ll be surprised at how many strangers will care about you.
Not suicidal, but are having a hard time with anxiety or depression, or with any other problem in your life, reach out anonymously.
Here is one of the places you can visit for help:
Kid’s Help Phone’s professional counsellors are available to talk 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868
– YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOUR NAME – It is completely anonymous and FREE.