chapter  8
14 Pages

‘Would I Lie to You?’

Unreliable Narration and the Emotional Rollercoaster in Justine Larbalestier’s Liar
ByBettina Kümmerling-Meibauer

Books with evil children as main protagonists can be disturbing, even more so when they appear in literature targeted at children and young adults. Very often these evil characters provide an emotional counterpoint to positively represented characters and generate antipathetic feelings. The main protagonist in Liar is Micah Wilkins, who lives with her family in New York. Told from her point of view, the story moves between the present, which focuses on her everyday life at high school, and the past, which relates Micah's family history and how she met her boyfriend. As with the acquisition of empathy, cognitive psychologists distinguish at least four developmental stages. Cognitive empathy is the capacity to understand another's mental state or perspective. Lying is closely connected to moral issues and ethical debates focusing on whether all lying is wrong, as in the case of prosocial lies, such as polite lies and white lies.