‘All The Best Liars’: Just another teen drama?


Macmillan Publishers

‘All The Best Liars” is chock-fill of teenage drama and drug-fueled conflicts.

A new novel, “All The Best Liars” by Amelia Kahaney, recently rolled off the presses and into the hands of the public this April, received by a waiting audience of readers, hoping for a worthy new work from the author ofThe Brokenhearted” series. After reading the book myself, I do not think readers will be getting much out of this anticipated release – unless, of course, you like teenage drama, drugs, and backstabbing in the desert with a side of sexually explicit scenes.

The plot of this book centers around a teenaged trio of ex-best friends who, after drifting apart, become the center of an unsolved murder case. The event that catapults this storyline is when one of the friends is found dead in a mysterious house fire, leaving the others entangled in the enigma. The story is told in a set of flashbacks from months before the fire, setting the stage for a plot twist you most likely won’t see coming. But will you see it coming? And is the twist even worth predicting? The book – and its final twist – did not appeal to me for several reasons.

Prominent in the storyline lie many things that distract from rather than add to the plot. The constant usage of drugs, for example, threw me off track, thinking that this would be a redeeming story about drug usage instead of friendship. 

Speaking of friendship, that particular trait is – while not completely absent from the characters’ interactions – not a leading part of the story. The characters continuously refer back to their childhood when their friendship was in full bloom, but that momentus time in their lives is barely explored in the book, making it feel as if the girls were making a big deal out of virtually nothing. During their time together, the author shows few instances when they seem to actually enjoy each other’s company, and those instances nearly all concern either drugs, drunkenness, or a shared moment of silence before drama strikes again.

An upside for this book is the lack of bad plot twists, an absence I find refreshing. Many teenage dramas rely on love triangles or even more drama than this story holds in order to keep the reader’s attention, but “All The Best Liars” actually tries to keep a consistent storyline going (which is hard to do when almost the entire storyline is a flashback). There are few writers that could pull off such a story compiled of previous memories, and for that Kahaney has my respect. 

“All The Best Liars” also tries to stay true to normal teenage behavior. The drug use, the cussing, the makeout sessions or wild parties – all of it acts as a vivid window to another, strangely familiar world every teenager at least knows about. The flickers of friendship or grief are harder to pinpoint for accuracy. The characters’ emotions are unpredictable, but mirror the changes of human ones. 

My final observation on “All The Best Liars” is a simple question: What really is this book? Is it a slice-of-life story, attempting to represent the unseen struggles of teenagers? Is it just another teen drama, a supposed thriller that doesn’t thrill at all? Is it both? 

What this book is – at least to this reader- is an enigma. Solve it if you can.