By Mónica González
Liar, liar, book club on fire! Last Wednesday night, our friends at The Bookmark hosted their monthly book club and, boy was it full of surprises! If not for their great ambiance or their over-the-top giveaways, their choice for this month’s pick is sure to become a crowd favorite to not just all who attended, but to anyone who picks up the book in the future.
This month’s novel, Liars, Inc. By Paula Stokes, is a Young Adult psychological thriller that narrates the life of Max Cantrell; a high school senior that gets framed for the murder of his best friend and son of a politician, Preston DeWitt. The night began with the announcement of the hashtag #TheBookmarkPRLoyalLiars as part of the event, so attendants would take pictures with the book and enter the event’s giveaway. You can check out the pictures here, here and here.
During the discussion, it was clear that everyone loved the book and that pretty much everyone had a love/hate relationship with almost every character in the story. Readers agreed that Preston, a.k.a. Adam, was a very interesting character with his sociopathic tendencies, as well as the logic behind his childhood traumas. “I fell in love with his mind and how he had everything planned out for years,” said one of the guests regarding Preston and his master plan. With a few exceptions, almost every reader at the event disliked Parvati, Max’s girlfriend, to the point of hating her because of all her lies. “She had so many chances to tell him the truth and she didn’t, and then she happens to decide to tell him on the day he found out,” questioned Euridice Molinary regarding Parvati’s actions. Stokes had this to say:
“…I feel like I’m making excuses, but I understand why she does it. It’s not the right thing to do, but she does that a lot…”
There were many theories surrounding the story, among them Preston being gay and going to Vegas to meet a guy, Max being insane and not remembering that he killed his friends, and Parvati framing Max to run off with Preston. When Stokes made her digital appearance, she had many thoughts on these theories. She admitted that, even though we read the end result, there were actually many changes and endings in the earlier drafts, including one where Max kills everyone in the end, which she called “the revenge draft.”
She ended up discarding the draft and leaving the story with only one sociopath instead. Max, being a teenager right out of the foster system when he was adopted by his family, never really displayed any extraordinary skills like Parvati or Preston. Stokes explained that she wanted Max to be ordinary, since everyone feels that way at some point and she wanted every reader to be able to relate to him. “If Max was in Divergent, he would be factionless,” she added.
At some point, someone asked about how much different would have been the story if it had happened from Parvati’s point of view. Stokes, who is currently working on a story with a Korean main character, seemed somewhat mindblown at the question and had this to say:
“…That’s a fascinating question. I can’t tell you how it would end, but probably very different and very fast paced…”
Someone else asked if she ever considered writing a chapter from Preston/Adam’s point of view. Stokes said she didn’t because it’s something that’s constantly done in mystery books and because, even though she likes books with many points of view, she prefers writing in just one. She also stated that writing from Preston’s point of view would’ve been tricky to achieve without giving away the gender of the killer, and she wanted Parvati to be considered a suspect as well. Stokes also revealed that, originally, Max didn’t have adopted siblings and that they came into the story once she had written an early draft on which Preston kidnapped a little sister to lure him to a trap.
The night ended with a giveaway session that included a six signed copy book gift set that was awarded to Twitter user “@__baezz”, as well as many other goodies, including stickers, T-shirts and hand-wrapped items by Paula Stokes herself! Even though this was Stokes’ very first Skype Q&A session ever, I’d say she did a fantastic job at it, given that everyone had fun at the event.
Next month’s pick is Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby, and the event will be on Wednesday, september 30th, as always, at The Bookmark.