Discussion Guide for LIARS, INC.

Are you reading LIARS, INC. for a book club or online read-along? Here are some things you might want to think about:

1. The author wrote the character of Max for all the seemingly "regular guys" out there--people who aren't super-smart, super-athletic, super-popular, etc. Max is basically invisible at his school, one of those people who is seen without being noticed. Have you ever found yourself looking through someone instead of at them because you didn't think they were special? Have you ever gotten to know one of those people and realized you were wrong about them? How did that make you feel?

2. Before the kids start Liars, Inc., Max says: After all, it wasn't like we'd be hurting anybody. And yet, a lot of people get hurt. Have you ever told a lie that seemed harmless at the time, but had far-reaching negative consequences? What happened? How did the results change the way you feel about lying?

3. Who does Max seem to trust in the first 100 pages of the book? Who does he not trust? Why do you think he feels the way he does?

4. The author has stated that even though Max is a white male protagonist, she believes he represents multiple marginalized populations. Can you name two or three groups Max belongs to that might be underrepresented in literature or marginalized in real life?

5. Max can be a hard character to feel close to, part of which is because he doesn't identify as anything. He's not a "math nerd" or a "football player" or a "martial artist." He makes a point of not even calling himself a surfer, despite surfing being a major hobby of his. How do you identify yourself? Describe yourself in fifteen words or less. Did you include your ethnicity, hobbies, personality traits? Why do you think you included the things you did?

6. Everybody lies sometimes--to protect themselves, to spare someone's feelings, out of habit, to trick people, etc. In what circumstances do you think it's okay to lie? In what circumstances do you think it's never okay to lie?

7. One trade review mentions that Max and Parvati's relationship seems to be described mainly in terms of their sexual activity. Tell why you agree or disagree. Given what you know about Max and the interactions you see between he and Parvati, can you think of reasons why he would focus on the physical aspect of their relationship?

8. Sometimes it's hard for authors to write characters of different genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, etc. and have them ring true. Do you think Max feels like a teen boy? Can you find two places where he feels especially authentic? What about two places where maybe he doesn't feel quite right?

9. Who does Max seem to trust at the end of the book? Who does he not trust? Why do you think he feels the way he does?

10. Have you ever trusted the wrong person? How do you decide who you should and shouldn't trust? Can we ever really know anyone for sure?

11. Max spends much of the book holding his adoptive family at arm's length. What's your definition of family? Is it genetic relatives? The people you live with? Maybe the people in your life that you do trust completely? Is one kind of family more important to you than another?

12. Could you forgive a friend if he or she lied to you about something important? Would you ever be able to trust them again? What would it take to rebuild that trust?

13. What do you think will happen to Max and Parvati after the end of the book, both individually and with respect to their relationship?