Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend’s house every night because she has nowhere else to go.
Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with— secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross.
Ryder’s the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can’t stand—a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.
But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually like him. Only there’s one small catch: he thinks he’s been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she’s the girl he’s really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?
Set in the Hamilton High universe, Lying Out Loud is sort of like a spin-off from DUFF. The story involves Amy, Wesley’s younger sister and her best friend Sonny and the boy that comes between them, Ryder. It is told from Sonny’s perspective, a pathological liar who prefers artistically altering the truth rather than be honest. She has a troubled home life, and sneaks and lives in Amy’s room, but she doesn’t tell Amy the truth about why. She accidentally catfishes Ryder, who has a crush on Amy, under Amy’s identity, and asks her to be a part of her scheme to win him over.
See, I don’t even have a problem with the lying as much as how selfish Sonny was being towards Amy. As they were so close, I thought Amy would be the one person that Sonny would exempt from her lies. But as she becomes more invested in the web of lies she creates, she starts to disregard her best friend’s feelings more and more, until Amy puts her foot down. Their friendship seemed unequal in that regard, and I did not feel kindly towards Sonny at all because of this. Ryder was interesting, sure, but not worth maligning your own friend over. He has a black-and-white view of the world, unlike Sonny who has more of a grey outlook and a fragile relationship with the truth.
Keplinger writes humor very well into this messed-up situation of cross-romances. Sonny is witty and smart and frequently banters with Ryder. Honestly I would have loved their romance more if it didn’t begin in such a manner. Outside of their online interactions, they hang out frequently towards the middle of the book, which made the ending easier to swallow. Amy is sweet, but quite like a doormat, unfortunately. And fans of DUFF will be delighted to have Wesley and Bianca make appearances in this book. But if you compare it to DUFF, this is not really up to those standards. It has a nice story, but it lacks the emotional depth of the former for a major part of the book. If you are looking for a rom-com style story, then maybe it would be a good fit.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Hachette Children’s Books, via Netgalley.
Previous books in series