cover image Friends and Other Liars

Friends and Other Liars

Kaela Coble. Sourcebooks Landmark, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5116-1

A group of five childhood friends are brought back together with explosive results in Coble’s riveting, assured debut. At a gathering after the funeral of Danny Deuso, who committed suicide, Danny’s mother gives each of his best friends a letter containing a secret unique to each, a betrayal of the pact of honesty that they made to each other. The letters threaten to reveal the secrets in another way if they don’t voluntarily share with one another. This is mainly Ruby’s story; she relates growing up with the crew, finding intense first love with Murphy, and the surprising secret she’s kept from him for a decade. Interspersed are sequences in Danny’s troubled voice, and Ally, Ruby’s closest friend, tells her story as well, offering a point of view from someone who stayed in tiny Chatwick, Vt., while Ruby left. Coble’s story adeptly addresses domestic violence, drug addiction, suicide, and the pain of young love. The revelations in the last half are genuinely surprising and satisfyingly devoid of pat solutions, but the real draw is the ensemble cast, which anchors this memorable novel. (Feb.)