Review: Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

Review: Lying Out Loud by Kody KeplingerLying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger
Published by Scholastic on April 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
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four-half-stars

Kody Keplinger returns to the world of The DUFF in this brand-new companion novel!

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?

Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) was so kind as to carry Lying Out Loud to Cancun so that I could borrow her ARC. A new Kody Keplinger book is always something to celebrate in my opinion, though I still haven’t read her middle grade, because middle grade doesn’t tend to be as shippy. Someday I will though. Lying Out Loud has a lot to live up to, but Kody once again brings the ship and the flaws and the humor and the pain.

Perhaps my favorite thing about Kody Keplinger books, ships aside, is that the main characters are all deliciously flawed. Her heroines and love interests are always deeply flawed, generally due to major parent issues. What teen doesn’t have some sort of issues because of how their parents brought them up? Even the most loving of parents instill some issues in their kids; I’ve seen them in everyone I know. Everyone has problems that they have to work through as they grow up.

gif lbd suspicious of people

Sonny has parent issues like whoa. Her dad’s been in prison almost all of her life, and she can’t even remember the last time that she saw him. Her mom kicked her out of the house, leaving her homeless and secretly living with her best friend Amy Rush. Ryder’s got major parent issues too, as his parents have recently separated, forcing him to leave everything and everyone he knows in D.C. to live with his mom in podunk Indiana. The Rush family forms a nice contrast. In The DUFF, the Rushes weren’t great parents, but they took the events of that book to heart and are now very present, caring parents.

More than relationship issues, Lying Out Loud is about family and friendship. Sonny may never have had a great relationship with her own parents, but she becomes a real part of the Rush family. Her first real Christmas was so touching and sweet. I’m very moved by families that are chosen rather than decided by the coincidences of birth, so this gave me a lot of feels.

gif lbd group hug

The most important relationship of Lying Out Loud is the one between Sonny and her best friend Amy. Despite their many years of friendship, one that goes back so far they can’t recall how it began, Sonny lies to Amy just as much to everyone else. From the start, the reader knows that Sonny’s house of lies is going to collapse on her head. It’s nice that, though Sonny does some shitty things to Amy throughout the book, there are scenes that show how well they do get along and how much they do care about one another. They emerge from Lying Out Loud much stronger; even Amy is changed by the events, even if she was more peripheral.

gif jane and lizzie lbd

All of this sounds very heavy, and I’ll admit a couple of times I was trying not to tear up in the hotel lobby, but Keplinger brings her trademark witty banter to play to keep the novel from being too dark. Though she delves into a lot of serious and painful issues, the book still feels delightfully fluffy, because Sonny’s hilarious and the characters are so vibrant and not mopey.

Then there’s the ship, which is this brilliant mixture of Cyrano de Bergerac and Pride and Prejudice. Ryder truly is a pretentious hipster snob. Sonny ends up getting to know him better by accidentally (initially) chatting with him on Amy’s email account. Their conversations are sassy and bantery and honest. There really is something incredibly freeing about conversing with people on the internet rather than face to face. Despite all the lies and the bullshit, Ryder and Sonny form a real, strong connection. They have essentially a Darcy and Elizabeth romance arc, only Darcy doesn’t have a Bingley and mistakenly thinks he’s into Jane for a while. Obviously I shipped it like whoa.

gif you called me a robot lbd

My only issues are exceedingly minor and nitpicky. I would have liked a bit more at the end of the book, of course. It’s a slim volume, only 294 pages in the ARC, and I will always want more time with Kody’s characters. Then there’s a tie-in to The DUFF movie. It’s completely meaningless to the plot otherwise, but Amy sees Madison at the mall and tells Sonny that Wesley used to date her before Bianca. Though it’s small, this bothers me, because Wesley didn’t actually date before Bianca, and he was very clear about that. Movie Wesley does, but the movie’s not the same thing. I don’t care for this retconning at all.

gif lbd not impressed

Lying Out Loud is every bit as good as Kody Keplinger’s previous novels. Kody continues to be one of my favorite authors. She never fails with the banter and the realistic characters that jump off the page.

Favorite Quote:

“You can love people and still they’re screwed up.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif lbd now kiss

7 responses to “Review: Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger”

  1. This book sounds so good and I haven’t even read The DUFF yet (which I need to fix)! I can’t wait to make time for this one. Great review!
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  2. Alessandra says:

    This is super exciting, but I don’t understad what the connection with the DUFF characters is… I can’t remember any Sonny or Amy. Unless Amy is Wesley’s younger sister?

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yes, Amy is Wesley’s sister, the shy one from The DUFF. You get to see her come out of her shell. It’s fabulous!

  3. Haaaa I just wrote my review of this and totally used LBD gifs as well. Whatever whatever, hate-to-love perfection.

    I dunno, for me this is my least favorite Keplinger so far. Though it was bantery and the family stuff was awesome and there was so much delicious Wesley-ness, I just didn’t connect to Sonny as much. Because I’m all about compulsive honesty, so her behavior annoyed me a lot. It’s true that she’s flawed and there is depth there to explain it – and I like that about all of Keplinger’s characters, that they’re messed up because of their parents – but it’s LYING. I just cannot with that. I mean I still really liked this book but I didn’t connect to it as much on a personal level as I did with the others.

    Also very sad that Amy stayed in the periphery like that. I think it was important to see their friendship being both flawed and healthy and that they had to come to terms with the fact that they are two separate people… but I felt like Amy never got to be her own person in THIS book. And I would have liked that. Now it almost feels like this book needs a companion as well to tell her story. ^^; and so the Keplinger merry-go-round goes round.

    And the shippity ship did not give me intense shippy feelings despite being bantery and hate-to-love. I cannot think of why that is and it saddens me. ;___; (It’s probably the lying.)
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  4. Trisha Anne says:

    Hello! I can’t wait to read Lying Out Loud, more wesley and bianca? and I can’t wait to hear more from Amy! Awesome review!

    P.S
    super love those LBD gifs and Pride and Prejudice bonuses! <3, I would love to hear more from you soon! x

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