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DIRTY LIAR by Brian James


by Brian James

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-439-79623-7
Publisher: PUSH/Scholastic

Benji has traveled a long way physically, but not emotionally, from his abusive mother to start a new life with his father in a small town west of Portland. Apparently, although introduced as a character in a previous book, Benji’s story is intended to stand alone with a few vague references to events in Perfect World (2004). On a melodramatically emotional roller coaster, Benji can fall in love one day and become furious with the whole world the next, forgetting promises and his new flame in his anger. School, finding friends, coping with a new stepmother and a half sister with tons of questions are expected challenges against which he seems to have decided to use smoking dope, cursing and hiding from the world as coping strategies. Guilt and pain from the abuse of the past keep Benji on edge and make it hard for him to trust. Gradually, however, it becomes obvious to him that not everyone is out to get him and that some people can be trusted to care and listen. You’ve heard of drama queens, but Benji seems to be auditioning for the Jerry Springer show most of the time, and it’s hard to care. Overdone. (Fiction. YA)