cover image Liar


Winifred Morris, Winnifred Morris. Walker & Company, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-8461-2

Alex has one last chance to stay out of the reformatory-to move in with his grandparents in a remote Oregon town and keep out of trouble for a year. He has grown up with an alcoholic mother whose chief talent is for lying (""She could say anything, and you'd believe her""), and he is so used to her erratic ways that regular breakfasts, friends and farm chores at his grandparents' are amazing to him. Morris could have stopped here with a happy ending, but she doesn't let Alex escape quite so easily. By accident, Alex starts a forest fire, and he can't bring himself to own up to it. Then a Walkman and a motorcycle disappear, and everyone blames him. This story isn't easy to read, yet its ultimately uplifting message is about not giving up, even if the life you get is not what you would have chosen. Authoritatively depicted, the stark beauty and small-town life of rural Oregon form a strong backdrop to a tale with the ring of truth. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)