The Liars of Mariposa Island
From the author of Moxie comes a stunning novel told in three voices about the lies families tell to survive. Every year, summer begins when the Callahans arrive on Mariposa Island. That’s when Elena Finney gets to escape her unstable, controlling mother by babysitting for their two children. And the summer of 1986 promises to be extra special when she meets J.C., the new boy in town, whose kisses make Elena feel like she’s been transported to a new world.Joaquin Finney can’t imagine why anyone would want to come to Mariposa Island. He just graduated from high school and dreams about going to California to find his father and escape his mother’s manipulation.The Liars of Mariposa Island follows siblings Elena and Joaquin, with flashbacks to their mother's experience as a teenage refugee fleeing the Cuban revolution.Jennifer Mathieu’s multilayered novel explores the nature of secrets, lies, and fierce, destructive love.

The Liars of Mariposa Island Details

TitleThe Liars of Mariposa Island
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 17th, 2019
PublisherRoaring Brook Press
ISBN-139781626726338
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction

The Liars of Mariposa Island Review

  • Cora Tea Party Princess
    January 1, 1970
    5 Words: Family, friendship, secrets, lies, love.Content Warning: Alcohol abuse, drug use, child abuse, family separation.Release Day Review: The Liars by Jennifer MathieuThe Liars was much more complex than I first expected, and almost like a psychological thriller at times. The story had me hooked, the unreliable narrators had me second guessing everything. And yet, I still didn't see it coming.I really enjoyed the different narrative perspectives, how it cast a different slant on the story. E 5 Words: Family, friendship, secrets, lies, love.Content Warning: Alcohol abuse, drug use, child abuse, family separation.Release Day Review: The Liars by Jennifer MathieuThe Liars was much more complex than I first expected, and almost like a psychological thriller at times. The story had me hooked, the unreliable narrators had me second guessing everything. And yet, I still didn't see it coming.I really enjoyed the different narrative perspectives, how it cast a different slant on the story. Each character had their own motivations for the lies they told. And Elena was the most fascinating and it was a little bit chilling how naturally it seemed to come to her.As much as I loved being inside Elena's head as the story unraveled, I think my favourite character was Joaquin. He is so full of love and anger and frustration and resentment and a desperate need to care for his sister. He's so torn up about wanting to help himself too and I found it so endearing. I loved how much of an excellent big brother he was, even if Elena resented it at times.Caridad is a wonderfully complex character and my opinion on her switched back and forth with what the story revealed about her life. Sometimes I hated her almost as much as some of the other characters, other times it felt like my heart could break over what happened to her.The Liars is also known as The Liars of Mariposa Island in the US.Read my reviews of Jennifer Mathieu's other books:Moxie by Jennifer MathieuDevoted by Jennifer Mathieu
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  • Emma (Miss Print)
    January 1, 1970
    I mostly wanted to try this because I was such a big fan of Moxie. This is a book in a very different vein and so, unsurprisingly perhaps, it didn't work nearly as well for me.
  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    This was a story filled with lies - some they told to others, but many, they told to themselves. The whole time, I wondered, if this family would be able to untangle all the lies and face their realities before it was too late.• Pro: I adore Mathieu's writing, and once again, she has treated me to a beautifully written story, which was sort of sad, but deeply moving. • Pro: Three points of view were used to tell this story, and I thought Mathieu used them in an engaging way. It was really import This was a story filled with lies - some they told to others, but many, they told to themselves. The whole time, I wondered, if this family would be able to untangle all the lies and face their realities before it was too late.• Pro: I adore Mathieu's writing, and once again, she has treated me to a beautifully written story, which was sort of sad, but deeply moving. • Pro: Three points of view were used to tell this story, and I thought Mathieu used them in an engaging way. It was really important for me to have the mother's flashbacks, because they helped me understand her a little more, and allowed me develop a bit of empathy for her. • Pro: I have actually been reading a different series, which also features the Cuban Revolution, but this book offered the story of what happened to the children. It was interesting to see how Caridad (the mother) was affected by being a part of Operation Pedro Pan. • Con: This was a sad portrait of a dysfunctional family led by an alcoholic mother, who was so stuck in her past, that she could not move forward. Though the ending had a glimmer of hope, I could have used a little more, because I did feel invested in Elena and Joaquin's lives, and I wanted MORE for them. • Pro: I was well aware of all the little lies the characters told during the course of the story, but there were two B I G lies, with one that really surprised me. Well played. • Pro: Though both Joaquin and Elena had to constantly tread lightly around their mother, they did manage to find some joy. They both found some romance, and they always had each other. Overall: A beautifully told, but heartbreaking portrait of a family stuck in a life filled with lies and dysfunction.*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 STARSTHE LIARS OF MARIPOSA ISLAND is not the book I expected to read. For some reason, I thought Jennifer Matthieu’s latest was a mystery/thriller. Instead it’s a depressing look at a family through the eyes of Elena, Joaquin and their Mami.In 1959 Mami is used to a life of a pampered, wealthy girl. Amid Castro’s rise to power, she’s sent to the USA allegedly to learn English. She never sees her parents again. I thought about the children that the US government separates from their parents a 3.5 STARSTHE LIARS OF MARIPOSA ISLAND is not the book I expected to read. For some reason, I thought Jennifer Matthieu’s latest was a mystery/thriller. Instead it’s a depressing look at a family through the eyes of Elena, Joaquin and their Mami.In 1959 Mami is used to a life of a pampered, wealthy girl. Amid Castro’s rise to power, she’s sent to the USA allegedly to learn English. She never sees her parents again. I thought about the children that the US government separates from their parents and the trauma we continue to cause them. Caridad, now Carrie, clearly is traumatized, however much of her angst is due to no longer being wealthy. She resents her foster family for making her do chores, and looks down on everyone.Elena resents her mother’s ultra controlling behavior, strictness her brother never had. She lies to everyone about everything. I understood her lies to get out of the house although the more I read the less I trusted her. I didn’t take issue with Elena hooking up with JC. In 1986, the setting for the story, an almost seventeen year old girl dating nineteen year old routinely happened and was never questioned. I also didn’t take issue with occasional drinking and using weed (though I don’t recommend it) though I draw the line at selling drugs. Everything in Elena’s life set her up to fall for a guy like JC, to be unable to discern partying from danger.Joaquin wants out of Mariposa Island, away from his alcoholic, abusive mother. He talks of finding his father in California.THE LIARS OF MARIPOSA ISLAND takes readers through the summer of 1986 and through Carrie’s young adult life. While understanding the psychological trauma she endured, I had trouble finding empathy for Carrie. I liked Elena less as the book progressed. While her predicament was extremely difficult, she doesn’t take the life preservers thrown her way and chooses wrong. Joaquin always tried to do the right thing, though often resorted to lying. They are THE LIARS OF MARIPOSA ISLAND.Mathieu uses character more than plot to move the story forward. Very little happens throughout the story. Two surprises caught me off guard and made perfect sense to the storyline.I’ve read Mathieu’s other books more than once, but I doubt I’ll ever read LIARS OF MARIPOSA ISLAND AGAIN. I enjoyed the book, but didn’t love it.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I was so excited when I got my hands on a review copy of this book because I loved Moxie but this was nothing like that book. To put it nicely, this just didn't work for me. This was a character driven story centered around lost and hopeless characters stuck in an unhealthy home environment and the effects that situation has on their lives outside the home as well as their hopes, or lack there of, for their futures and potential happiness. It's a book that deals with lots of disappointments and I was so excited when I got my hands on a review copy of this book because I loved Moxie but this was nothing like that book. To put it nicely, this just didn't work for me. This was a character driven story centered around lost and hopeless characters stuck in an unhealthy home environment and the effects that situation has on their lives outside the home as well as their hopes, or lack there of, for their futures and potential happiness. It's a book that deals with lots of disappointments and addictions and abuse and sadness. It's a hard book to read in places and readers should go in knowing it's dark and unhappy and difficult to read. I thought I was going to be reading a book about family drama and lies and dysfunctional families. And that I got. But what I was really hoping for was something that was different from other books I've read about dysfunctional families. (Similar to how Moxie brought a different feeling to YA feminist characters.) Something that had more to say about the lies we tell each other and ourselves and how one lie can have such a huge impact on so many people. But this really was a just a book about all of the lies this family tells each other. (There was one big lie I didn't see coming and another that I did and was kind of disappointed in how it was found out.) We get to read from both Elena and Joaquin's POVs and also get chapters about their mother's past. It was interesting reading about how they ended up where they are but I'm just not a fan of books where people just avoid and lie and hate each other and then the book ends. There is no conclusion, no happy ending (though I wasn't really expecting that) and what seems like no way out for Elena. And I'm not even sure she'd want one. But I like books to have a bit of closure. And this one just didn't have that for me.If you like books that leave a lot of questions open and provide no resolutions for almost anything, this one might be for you. If you like books that talk about messed up families and drunk mothers and unhappy children and pretty much everything depressing, you might like this one more than I did. If you don't mind reading books with unlikeable characters and constant lies but nothing really happens, this might be one for you. If not, I'd stay away. I know it's worked for a lot of people, so you might enjoy it too, but it just didn't work for me. Also, it's historical fiction, not contemporary.Also, I know this is weird to put in a review, but the Callahan's kids names are Jennifer and Matthew and every time I saw that, I was so distracted by it. But I think that's just me.
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  • Karen Barber
    January 1, 1970
    A very different book from Jennifer Mathieu, but I’m grateful to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this prior to publication.The ARC I received has the simple title ‘The Liars’ and this definitely indicates more characters could be given this title than the family of three we predominantly focus on.The majority of the story focuses on 17 year old Elena, and her attempts to carve a life for herself away from the controlling behaviour of her mother. Her older brother, Jouqain, is all A very different book from Jennifer Mathieu, but I’m grateful to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this prior to publication.The ARC I received has the simple title ‘The Liars’ and this definitely indicates more characters could be given this title than the family of three we predominantly focus on.The majority of the story focuses on 17 year old Elena, and her attempts to carve a life for herself away from the controlling behaviour of her mother. Her older brother, Jouqain, is allowed to work and go out at night but he recognises their mother’s behaviour is abusive and does what he can to support Elena in her attempts to develop her own life. With nobody else to support him though, Jouqain doesn’t know what to do to improve their situation.Alongside the story of these two and the summer that starts to signal change, we get the background to their mother’s life. It is jarring at first, but the details about her wealthy home in Cuba and the change in lifestyle when she’s sent alone to America do explain - at least in part - some of her actions.Nothing is really resolved by the end of the book for Elena, but the circumstances around Jouqain do give some hope that things might change in time.
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  • Jen Ryland
    January 1, 1970
    Not what I was expecting - the title is technically true, but it's sort of convention that "liars" books are twisty thrillers with unreliable narrators, and this is a quiet historical fiction with two timelines: 1986 and 1957. Yes, there are lies, but this isn't that kind of liar book.Once I adjusted my expectations I was able to appreciate this more for what it was - check out my review on JenRyland.com! Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
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  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed it. Weirdly similar to last book I read in places.
  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    3.75/5⭐📚 I loved the settings of this book and the flashbacks to Cuba, I also loved the use of Spanish throughout. I've read this during the summer and it is a perfect summer read. I liked the twists and turns but I kind of guessed them a bit before. I was expecting more from the ending i felt like it was building up to something big but it ended quite openly. The book deals with a lot of mental health issues and Elena one of the main characters suffers abuse at the hands of her mother and her o 3.75/5⭐📚 I loved the settings of this book and the flashbacks to Cuba, I also loved the use of Spanish throughout. I've read this during the summer and it is a perfect summer read. I liked the twists and turns but I kind of guessed them a bit before. I was expecting more from the ending i felt like it was building up to something big but it ended quite openly. The book deals with a lot of mental health issues and Elena one of the main characters suffers abuse at the hands of her mother and her older bf who gives her drugs and I just did not agree with this relationship it was just wrong on so many levels I'm pretty sure she is underage at 16/17 to be having sex with her 19 yr old bf ( I'm not sure of the age of consent in different states I think it may be 17 for Texas) My heart just broke for Elena who I feel will be stuck living with her mother for a long time and taking abuse from people in her life, I feel like Carrie the mother will never overcome her past and will be stuck living it and living with lies. The book is an emotional ride and I wish it would of explored more of a relationship with Carrie's husbands family. Joaquin, Elena's older brother was an interesting character but I just found the whole family dynamic so messy and heartbreaking, I wanted more for this family and for things to start to change. I really liked the character of Amy, Joaquins gf and would of loved to have more of a backstory for her.Overall The Liars was a quick summer read for me which was written beautifully,I sped through this book as I was so intrigued, and the author kept me hooked all throughout and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.Thank you to the publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange of an honest review. A review will follow on my blog. Trigger warnings, mental abuse, physical abuse, drug use, alcohol abuse, emotional abuse.
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  • Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
    January 1, 1970
    What tangled lives we live. A quiet contemporary touching on alcoholism, abuse, the loss of a loved one and destructive families in a non linear narrative spanning thirty years apart. Review to come.
  • Nancy Fischer
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This review contains BIG spoilers so please skip it until you've had the opportunity to read this wonderful book!The sign of a great novel (for me) is that it lingers in my mind long after the last page. LIARS is one of those stories. It's told through three POVs--Caridad, Elena and Joaquin. Caridad (the mother) is damaged by her previous life as a spoiled, wealthy Cuban child who became a lonely US refugee during the Cuban revol I was given an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This review contains BIG spoilers so please skip it until you've had the opportunity to read this wonderful book!The sign of a great novel (for me) is that it lingers in my mind long after the last page. LIARS is one of those stories. It's told through three POVs--Caridad, Elena and Joaquin. Caridad (the mother) is damaged by her previous life as a spoiled, wealthy Cuban child who became a lonely US refugee during the Cuban revolution. Her children, Elena and Joaquin, are damaged by their mother's bitterness, alcoholism and selfishness. Each member of this family has their coping mechanisms and the children use lies and co-dependence to survive Caridad and their dismal lives. By allowing every character a voice, JM gives the reader insights and the opportunity to develop sympathy, if not empathy for all of them.This story is a snapshot of one summer ... but it's also a crossroads where Caridad's children choose their own paths, either actively or passively. Through multi-layered, gorgeous prose, JM reminds the reader that each of us has a private story, a different version of the truth, and that ultimately we are all attempting to thrive. Sadly, in this story and in real life, not everyone has the strength to escape the darkness of their youth. If they do, it can mean cutting off the past, including family, and moving far away for the chance of a better life. SPOILER!!!When I finished LIARS, my heart was full of hope for Joaquin. He did the nearly impossible and broke free. He will walk a tightrope for some time, but the longer he stays away from Mariposa Island, the less inclined he'll be to return. Alternately, my heart aches for Elena. I don’t think she will ever get out of that house, away from the unhealthy relationship with her mother, and the lies she has come to tell so easily, as well as the alcohol and drugs she'll increasingly abuse, will be another form of imprisonment.In the end, I'm left unsettled by LIARS but the better for reading such a beautifully nuanced novel.
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) More like 3.5The Liars of Mariposa Island is one of those books that makes you examine the power of words. It is an emotional story that asks us what we are willing to sacrifice for our family, and when is enough, enough? The Liars of Mariposa Island is a story about summer, freedom, parties and boys. Narrated from the perspective of a girl and her older brother, The Liars of Mariposa (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) More like 3.5The Liars of Mariposa Island is one of those books that makes you examine the power of words. It is an emotional story that asks us what we are willing to sacrifice for our family, and when is enough, enough? The Liars of Mariposa Island is a story about summer, freedom, parties and boys. Narrated from the perspective of a girl and her older brother, The Liars of Mariposa Island is a story that revolves around family. It features a relationship between the main character, who is 16, and an older teen, 19 years of age. A book that is stewing with secrets, lies, and proving there's a bit of a liar in us all. We are asked what we will do to continue our lies, to protect ourselves, and our family. But what drew me to The Liars of Mariposa Island were the exploration of truth and lies, the memories of Elena's mother as a refugee from Cuba, and the question of whether we have the strength to break free of our family's hold. Throughout the book we witness scenes of Elena's mother as she flees Cuba, assimilates to life in the US, and her own vulnerabilities, fears, and lies. Every character in this book is a liar. Whether that be a white lie, Mathieu explores their motivations and fears. Unfortunately, a place where The Liars of Mariposa Island fell short for me was in the ending. I appreciated that half of the book is narrated from Elena's perspective and the other half Joaquin's (besides the chapters from their mother), but I didn't feel much resolution from the ending. I wasn't expecting there to be a very happy ending, because the book is a full of family drama and tension, but I was looking for more closure.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • Arlen
    January 1, 1970
    Book ReviewThe Liars of Mariposa Islandby Jennifer MathieuPublication Date 17 Sep 2019Read courtesy of NetGalley.comI have to be honest; I forgot what the title of this book was while I was reading it. Now that I see it has the word "Liars" in it, the book makes more sense. It's about liars. I like the book a 1/2 star better than I did before remembering the title.The story is about a dysfunctional family fooling itself at every turn. Each family member lies to him/herself and, in turn, to each Book ReviewThe Liars of Mariposa Islandby Jennifer MathieuPublication Date 17 Sep 2019Read courtesy of NetGalley.comI have to be honest; I forgot what the title of this book was while I was reading it. Now that I see it has the word "Liars" in it, the book makes more sense. It's about liars. I like the book a 1/2 star better than I did before remembering the title.The story is about a dysfunctional family fooling itself at every turn. Each family member lies to him/herself and, in turn, to each other. And it's not the kind of lying that's obvious; it's a self-preservation technique, yet it crumbles rather than coheres the family. On the other hand, some of the lying is so obvious that it's hard to believe its believed. I enjoyed the point in the book when the reader is finally let in on the biggest lie perpetuated by the two teen children in the family. Once it is revealed, the mother's self-denial becomes more apparent and more dysfunctional.The mother's lie to her children comes to light later in the story; however, it's revealed in too obvious a manner. It felt the plot point that allowed this lie to emerge lacked narrative creativity (been there, done that). The story includes sex, and drugs, and boozy beach parties. These feel gratuitously included to "appeal" to teen readers.Finally, the ending was abrupt. The only truth to the story is that no one wins in the end, including the reader.
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  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    Secrets and lies. More of this. I think I'm over it.
  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars rounded upI'm still speechless. The secrets, the lies, the twists and turns I never saw coming, the truth... Masterful writing and brilliant story telling. Mathieu knocked this one out of the park.
  • Julie (Bookish.Intoxication)
    January 1, 1970
    The Liars, made me long for warm summer days on the soft sand, listening to waves crash on the beach. But it definitely, didn't make me long for Elena and Joaquin's life.Mathieu has written strong characters, characters that are deep, traumatic and real. They react with a realness that allows the reader to relate to them, no matter the readers gender. There is something in this book for everyone. The writing style will draw you in and not let you go, the pacing is perfect for the setting, when w The Liars, made me long for warm summer days on the soft sand, listening to waves crash on the beach. But it definitely, didn't make me long for Elena and Joaquin's life.Mathieu has written strong characters, characters that are deep, traumatic and real. They react with a realness that allows the reader to relate to them, no matter the readers gender. There is something in this book for everyone. The writing style will draw you in and not let you go, the pacing is perfect for the setting, when we are on Mariposa Island, it is slower, adjusted to the slow and sunny lifestyle of living in a beach-front town, but when we dart back into Carrie's history, it speeds up, as though we are having the flashbacks as Carrie would. The Liars, has all the makings of a fantastic book, but I feel that too much was left out for it to wrap up comfortably as a stand-alone title. There are too many loose ends surrounding Carrie's history, her current state, what it is that is making her so controlling. Is there more than her need to have people to love and depend on her? We also don't find out what happens to Elena. Elena is the first character we meet, the first character we really get to know and she is left hanging at the end, with no real positive prospects, just a long school year looming over her, trapped within the confines of her home. I, as a reader, just wish there was more information provided. But I still really enjoyed this title.As I wrap up, I feel the need to mention that this book touches on issues such as psychological trauma, substance and physical abuse, neglect and bombing. Thank you so much to the team at Hachette, for sending me out a review copy of this title. If you want to see my full review, it is available at www.bookishintoxicationwrites.com
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  • Katie Hurse
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars
  • Jessica Gadd
    January 1, 1970
    The Liars of Mariposa Island is an emotional story of a dysfunctional family that are held together by the lies they tell. Such a beautifully written story that will break your heart. It is narrated mainly from the daughter and sons perspectives as they deal with their mothers alcoholism and unpredictable mood swings. We loved this novel and highly recommend it.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!I am SO SAD right now. Jennifer Mathieu is finally one of my favourite authors, so I am super heartbroken that I didn't love her latest, The Liars of Mariposa Island. This book is a contemporary, with a mystery wrapped in it, and it's just... all right.Generally, what I love about Jennifer Mathieu's books is the writing an her characters. I always adore her heroines, but Elena and Joaquin just never spoke to me the way some of her other heroes have. This Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!I am SO SAD right now. Jennifer Mathieu is finally one of my favourite authors, so I am super heartbroken that I didn't love her latest, The Liars of Mariposa Island. This book is a contemporary, with a mystery wrapped in it, and it's just... all right.Generally, what I love about Jennifer Mathieu's books is the writing an her characters. I always adore her heroines, but Elena and Joaquin just never spoke to me the way some of her other heroes have. This book is written in two perspectives, one that takes place in 1986, the other during the Cuban Revolution. The sections that were about Carrie, who is related to Elena and Joaquin, were my favourite bits of the book. Carrie is fleeing Cuba during the Cuban Revolution as a teen and she is trying to find freedom in America. Carrie's story is challenging and heartbreaking, and its definitely very difficult to read about.I do feel for Elena in this story, especially given she is trying to become a version of herself that she would feel satisfied with. There is a prickliness to her character that really suggests that she is not someone who wants people (or even the reader) to get close to her and that I think is something intriguing about this novel. Elena and Joaquin spend a lot of this book unraveling family truama and lies, though they weren't as shocking as I was anticipating given the title of this book.I think why this book didn't grab me the way all of her other books did, is that it really doesn't go anywhere and there isn't much resolve. There doesn't really feel like a lot of hope in this story either, which is usually a big part of a Jennifer Mathieu story. I am so torn because I do think elements of this book are wonderful, but I simply just didn't connect to a lot of it.
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  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    Jennifer Mathieu is one of my favorite authors and I knew as soon as I heard the premise of this book I was going to read it. Told in the perspective of Elena and Joaquin, siblings both trying to deal with small town life and an unstable mother in 1986 and we also get their mother’s POV starting from 1957 in Cuba. I loved the way the author merged these stories and we really get to see why the mom is the way she was. There were a lot of elements to the story that I was not expecting at all. It k Jennifer Mathieu is one of my favorite authors and I knew as soon as I heard the premise of this book I was going to read it. Told in the perspective of Elena and Joaquin, siblings both trying to deal with small town life and an unstable mother in 1986 and we also get their mother’s POV starting from 1957 in Cuba. I loved the way the author merged these stories and we really get to see why the mom is the way she was. There were a lot of elements to the story that I was not expecting at all. It kept my interest the whole time. In true Mathiue fashion, the writing was absolutely beautiful. She just has such a way words.Overall, I really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait for Mathiues next release!
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  • Hâf
    January 1, 1970
    This book was completely different to everything else I've read by Jennifer Mathieu, but it was brilliant! I loved this novel, it was surprisingly set a few decades ago rather than in the modern day but that only added to the intrigue and mystery of the secrets and lies.We follow two time lines and three POVs throughout this novel, we start with Elena in 1986 who's excited for the start of the Summer holidays. Elena lives on Mariposa Island, Texas and the Summer holidays always grant her a small This book was completely different to everything else I've read by Jennifer Mathieu, but it was brilliant! I loved this novel, it was surprisingly set a few decades ago rather than in the modern day but that only added to the intrigue and mystery of the secrets and lies.We follow two time lines and three POVs throughout this novel, we start with Elena in 1986 who's excited for the start of the Summer holidays. Elena lives on Mariposa Island, Texas and the Summer holidays always grant her a small amount of freedom away from the house that she shares with her mother, Caridad, and brother, Joaquin. Caridad is an alcohol addict and abusive, Elena usually finds herself putting her mother to bed when she's too intoxicated to do it herself.Caridad's POV is set in Cuba in 1957. Although rebels are threatening more and more violence nearby, Caridad convinces her father to host an elegant and expensive quince for her. On the night of the celebration disaster strikes, resulting in Caridad being shipped off to Texas to live with a family willing to host a refugee. Torn from her world of splendour and affluence, Caridad feels lost and unhappy in Texas, she clings to the only means of escape; marriage.In the later chapters of the book we have the opportunity to read from Joaquin's POV in 1986, I wasn't expecting to learn much about Joaquin so these chapters were a very interesting development in the story. I gained a much deeper insight into how Joaquin was feeling throughout the book.It was incredibly fascinating to read about Caridad's journey from a young, innocent girl at fourteen to an abusive middle aged woman full of secrets and lies. Including Caridad's backstory in so much detail created empathy for her situation.The only reason this book wasn't a five star is that the ending left me a little deflated, I loved the ending for Joaquin but I think Elena deserved a better ending. It was left fairly open, whereas I prefer my endings to be finished and precise. But I would definitely still recommend this book to everyone, you never know, you might love the ending!
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  • paula
    January 1, 1970
    Very well-written, with Jennifer Mathieu's typically awesome and fully-fleshed characters. The Gulf Coast setting presses right down on you, and the feelings behind each character's secrets elevate this novel beyond your typical YA summer island fare. Also, I kept waiting for somebody to get raped, and they didn't, so I'd like to right off the bat say thank you to Jennifer Mathieu.Diving a little deeper, this is the third book in a row I've read that was inspired by the real experiences of a mem Very well-written, with Jennifer Mathieu's typically awesome and fully-fleshed characters. The Gulf Coast setting presses right down on you, and the feelings behind each character's secrets elevate this novel beyond your typical YA summer island fare. Also, I kept waiting for somebody to get raped, and they didn't, so I'd like to right off the bat say thank you to Jennifer Mathieu.Diving a little deeper, this is the third book in a row I've read that was inspired by the real experiences of a member of the author's family, and I have to say I am not sure how I feel about this one. Ok the mother in this book is a minor monster, an alcoholic narcissist pining for her lost princessy childhood in Havana, ripped from her by Castro and his rebels. According to the author's note, this woman's experience as a Pedro Pan child refugee is inspired by those of Mathieu's mother and aunts. So I'm a little weirded out that the author cannot muster up a drop of sympathy for her. In a way I'm impressed - just because someone went through a tough time, that doesn't automatically confer grace upon them. And there are narcissists everywhere, so I'm sure there were a couple among the Cuban refugee children, just as there were probably a couple piano prodigies and people with eidetic memory. And frankly this is an impression I have heard from friends in Miami - that many Cubans who fled Castro retain a magnificent chip on their shoulder and can be pretty snotty to just about everyone else.But I don't like generalizations, and it seems to me strange that Cuban-descended Mathieu would paint this picture. So, like I said, not sure how I feel about this one.
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  • Insert Name Here
    January 1, 1970
    Elena and Joaquin are trapped with a controlling mother. She, herself, is trapped by the memories of her childhood in Cuba.Jennifer Mathieu is an instabuy for me. Moxie remains one of my favourite reads ever. This book just - doesn't seem to go anywhere. Everyone lies a lot, there's a lot of fighting, but nothing ultimately changes. Maybe that's the whole point; that they're all trapped in this cycle, unable to get out of it. If so, though, it's not really obvious.However, it's still an intrigui Elena and Joaquin are trapped with a controlling mother. She, herself, is trapped by the memories of her childhood in Cuba.Jennifer Mathieu is an instabuy for me. Moxie remains one of my favourite reads ever. This book just - doesn't seem to go anywhere. Everyone lies a lot, there's a lot of fighting, but nothing ultimately changes. Maybe that's the whole point; that they're all trapped in this cycle, unable to get out of it. If so, though, it's not really obvious.However, it's still an intriguing, well written read, and I'll absolutely be recommending it.I received a free copy and chose to leave an honest review."You should probably go," says Joaquin, lowering his voice. "Just...be careful, all right? And don't be too late. And...call if you need me. I'll come get you. No questions asked."I smile, and for a moment I feel a bit of the same closeness we has as kids when we would wake up early to watch television on Saturday mornings, slumped together on the couch while Mami snored through a hangover."I promise I'll be careful," I say. "And I won't be too late." And then, before my nerves or my mother can stop me, I'm opening the front door and slipping out into the dusk of early evening, skipping down the porch steps, my heart thudding inside me, my mouth turning into a hesitant smile, the word freedom spinning over and over in my mind on some frantic, endless loop.
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  • Hajra
    January 1, 1970
    Picking this novel up I expected a mystery-filled, fast-paced novel about family secrets and history, all being unfolded in a climactic ending. However, all I got was a wishy-washy mystery on a not-so-compelling plot twist towards the end. The novel follows Joaquin and Elena, siblings, living with their mother on Mariposa Island. Elena is quite sheltered and restricted by her mother, however, Joaquin, being the older sibling, is rebellious and does not really have the same regulations as Elena. Picking this novel up I expected a mystery-filled, fast-paced novel about family secrets and history, all being unfolded in a climactic ending. However, all I got was a wishy-washy mystery on a not-so-compelling plot twist towards the end. The novel follows Joaquin and Elena, siblings, living with their mother on Mariposa Island. Elena is quite sheltered and restricted by her mother, however, Joaquin, being the older sibling, is rebellious and does not really have the same regulations as Elena. Also, their mother is an alcoholic. Without giving too much away, I wouldn't really recommend this novel as although there is some sense of a plot, it all just felt underwhelming to me. There was a plot twist towards the end however it wasn't anything so exciting or compelling. The characters were all semi-likeable. Elena was initially bearable however towards the end she just seemed bratty and annoying to me. I did enjoy Joaquin's character as his was probably the only one with dimension and depth and seemed to have some sort of character development. I also didn't love the ending of the novel as it felt a little abrupt and unresolved to me, not being a satisfying ending that I was hoping for. Overall, although there are some good points to this novel, like the different POVs offered, mainly, it had some downfalls.
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  • Emmie (Oncemorewithreading)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This was my first Jennifer Mathieu book and I absolutely loved it! It was well written with real characters. Elena was a trapped young girl who wanted to be able to live her life but couldn’t because of her over-bearing mother Caridad, who is still living with the trauma from her childhood of living in Cuba. Her brother Joaquin has the freedom to come and goes as he wants but still struggles with ba Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This was my first Jennifer Mathieu book and I absolutely loved it! It was well written with real characters. Elena was a trapped young girl who wanted to be able to live her life but couldn’t because of her over-bearing mother Caridad, who is still living with the trauma from her childhood of living in Cuba. Her brother Joaquin has the freedom to come and goes as he wants but still struggles with balancing work, relationships and trying to help Elena escape his mother’s abusive behaviour. This book is told from each of their perspectives with Caridad’s focusing on her past. Most of it is told from Elena’s POV with the final third being from Joaquin’s. I really enjoy multi-perspective books and this one was perfect. It allowed you to learn more about each character and watch their development.However I do feel like the ending could have been better and is the main reason that this book doesn’t get a five star review. Whilst I was happy for Joaquin, I felt like Elena honestly deserved a better ending. I don’t know if that’s because I felt myself being more attached to Elena but I wanted a happy ending for her. This book is a lot darker that I thought it would be and there are a lot of triggers in this book so please be aware of this before picking this book up!
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  • Mrs. Kenyon
    January 1, 1970
    Elena’s mother keeps a very tight rein on her during the school year, but when summer comes, so do the Callahans and the freedom that comes with babysitting their children. It is the summer of 1986, the summer before her junior year of high school and the summer she meets J.C. Joaquin is Elena’s brother and he has all the freedom he could want, except he wants to leave Mariposa Island. He is now a high school graduate and is thinking of going to California to find their father.The Liars of Marip Elena’s mother keeps a very tight rein on her during the school year, but when summer comes, so do the Callahans and the freedom that comes with babysitting their children. It is the summer of 1986, the summer before her junior year of high school and the summer she meets J.C. Joaquin is Elena’s brother and he has all the freedom he could want, except he wants to leave Mariposa Island. He is now a high school graduate and is thinking of going to California to find their father.The Liars of Mariposa Island is a stand-alone novel that chronicles the summer of these two siblings with flashbacks to the teen years of their mother and her experiences in Cuba and moving to the United States. Mathieu has taken a family with many secrets and even more liars and has crafted a story for the masses. Whether readers are looking for a coming of age story, a summer romance story or a fun book with just a little bit of history, they will be happy with these pages. Although I enjoyed this book, it isn’t as good as Moxie. We readers need to make sure we don’t judge one book based on other books by the same author. This is a totally different type of novel and must be enjoyed on its own merits.
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  • Alison Paulette
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure how I feel about this book. As always, Jennifer Mathieu's writing is elegant and engrossing, but the lack of plot kept me from giving this five stars. As other reviewers have said, the ending is very open which also bothers me a bit. This book tells the story of Caridad and her two children Joaquin and Elena. Caridad is an alcoholic and I also believe OCD who is trapped in the past, reliving her childhood on Cuba as part of a wealthy family. Nothing in Texas is good enough for her - I'm not sure how I feel about this book. As always, Jennifer Mathieu's writing is elegant and engrossing, but the lack of plot kept me from giving this five stars. As other reviewers have said, the ending is very open which also bothers me a bit. This book tells the story of Caridad and her two children Joaquin and Elena. Caridad is an alcoholic and I also believe OCD who is trapped in the past, reliving her childhood on Cuba as part of a wealthy family. Nothing in Texas is good enough for her - not her former husband, not her home, not her children. Her controlling goes far behind physical things to her children. All three become adept at creating lies to get escape or execute control. This story is told in all three voices, although Elena and Joaquin are in first person and Caridad is in third person which works tell to reinforce the idea of Caridad as distant. There's not a lot of action in this book. The story centers around the relationship between Elena and Joaquin, Joaquin and his girlfriend Amy (minor storylien), Elena and her boyfriend J.C. (minor storyline) but mostly about the children's relationship with their mother.
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  • Elsa
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this book! The Liars dealt with many different conflicts and disputes that touched my heart. Through Caridad's perspective, the reader gains way more insight as to why she's such an abusive mother after all. I found myself feeling heartbroken at the fact of how sad her life really is. Elena was another primary character and just as developed and so real. Her emotions and teenage rebellion that means so much more than what its surface is taught me a lot. The trials of living with an abus I adored this book! The Liars dealt with many different conflicts and disputes that touched my heart. Through Caridad's perspective, the reader gains way more insight as to why she's such an abusive mother after all. I found myself feeling heartbroken at the fact of how sad her life really is. Elena was another primary character and just as developed and so real. Her emotions and teenage rebellion that means so much more than what its surface is taught me a lot. The trials of living with an abusive mother like Carrie came through and how Elena is still a girl. All she wanted was normality. We don't get much closure towards the end as to how J.C. may stay relevant. However, I think that makes it way more real.Joaquin was another character I thought wouldn't have a narrative. When he did, I was pleasantly surprised as to what he had to say. He was probably my favourite one, complex and conflicted. All the other secondary characters still had vivid personalities and I really liked that.Thank you for this lovely book and Netgalley for letting me read it xx
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  • Amalee Renee
    January 1, 1970
    3.5🌟I didn’t really understand the whole narrative that was actually the main one. There were so many mini ones that some were solved, some weren’t. I enjoyed it, however I don’t feel the book should’ve ended where it did. I feel as though if it were another 100 pages it would have been able to conclude the story properly. I still have so many unanswered questions which I felt were key to the plot however they were mentioned once or twice and then not again. What I was originally drawn to with t 3.5🌟I didn’t really understand the whole narrative that was actually the main one. There were so many mini ones that some were solved, some weren’t. I enjoyed it, however I don’t feel the book should’ve ended where it did. I feel as though if it were another 100 pages it would have been able to conclude the story properly. I still have so many unanswered questions which I felt were key to the plot however they were mentioned once or twice and then not again. What I was originally drawn to with this book is that I have LOVED other Jennifer Mathieu books and I assumed this one would be the same. I love how amazingly she creates characters and develops them, but I didn’t feel that with this book. I didn’t feel that Elena or Joaquin were anything like the other amazing heroines in her other books. Obviously it’s different, but they didn’t seem to be hero in anyway. Towards the end, I suppose Joaquin turned to a little bit of a hero, although it wasn’t a large part of the book. Overall, I enjoyed the reading experience, but not necessarily the book.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    You rarely see low-key domestic dramas in YA, so Mathieu's latest novel kind of took me by surprise. Readers expecting a twisty thriller will be disappointed: The Liars is more of a brooding character study.It's eloquently written, with fantastically real and frustrating characters. I loved the interchange between the different family members' povs, including flashbacks to the mother's childhood in Cuba. I did feel a little let down by the lack of plot, and the final reveal never quite hits its You rarely see low-key domestic dramas in YA, so Mathieu's latest novel kind of took me by surprise. Readers expecting a twisty thriller will be disappointed: The Liars is more of a brooding character study.It's eloquently written, with fantastically real and frustrating characters. I loved the interchange between the different family members' povs, including flashbacks to the mother's childhood in Cuba. I did feel a little let down by the lack of plot, and the final reveal never quite hits its mark, leaving the whole novel feeling curiously shapeless. It's only really when you finish the book (with its unresolved ending) that you realise that was the intention all along.The Liars is a heavy and ambitious read, as cloying as the atmosphere in the Finney family home. It's an astute exploration of lies and entrapment, slow to bloom but wonderfully weighted.*Thank you to Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review*
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