Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger
Series: The DUFF #2
Narrator: Suzy Jackson
Lying Out Loud is the companion novel to The DUFF which I read earlier this year and completely loved! So obviously I had to grab Lying Out Loud as soon as it came out. I decided to grab it on audio since Suzy Jackson was narrating it - and she's one of my favourite audio narrators - and it was hilarious! Suzy did such a fantastic job of making every single character sound different, and she really makes the characters come to life.
So, Lying Out Loud follows Sonny Ardmore who is an exquisite liar. She lies all the time, but the only person who really knows her is her best friend Amy Rush. And then a new kid starts at Hamilton High - Ryder Cross - and he has a massive crush on Amy. So, when Ryder asks Amy out over email, Sonny decides to prank him and write him a horrible response. And when Ryder messages her that night, Sonny accidentally spends all night talking to Ryder and begins to realises that he isn't as bad as she thought. In fact, she might actually like him. But, to Sonny's horror, Ryder thinks he's been chatting to Amy all night and Sonny has accidentally made him like her best friend instead of her. Sonny comes up with a crazy plan to get Ryder to fall in love with her, but this leads to more lies that could cost her Ryder and her best friend.
The characters in Lying Out Loud are extremely flawed which made me love them even more. Sonny was my favourite of all the characters. She was funny, sarcastic and snark, but she could also be sweet sometimes - when she wanted to be. She's living with Amy right now because her home situation isn't ideal, but she isn't ready to come clean about it just yet. But Sonny also has a radical side that doesn't really think things through before she acts. She tends to strong arm Amy into things she doesn't want to do, but that just showed that Sonny was human. She makes a lot of mistakes, but that's what made her so real to me. Amy is sweet, kind, adorable and extremely trusting. It doesn't seem like Amy has a bad bone in her body. She always goes along with what Sonny wants to do - even when she isn't comfortable - because she loves her best friend. Amy grows a lot throughout the book and begins to realise that she needs to toughen up a bit. Ryder came across as a bit of a dick to begin with. He was always slating Hamilton and saying DC was "so much better." But Ryder has his own shit to deal with that influences his attitude, and throughout the book he grows and learns to adapt the way he looks at things. He was kind, adorable and funny, and I loved him so much at the end.
So most of the book focuses on the relationship building between Sonny and Ryder (even though he thinks it's Amy), and Sonny begins to realise that she's actually falling for Ryder. But Ryder isn't interested in real life Sonny, because he basically thinks she a bitch. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate plan to make Ryder fall out of love with Amy, and in love with her. And obviously this doesn't go according to plan. There were times I wanted to shake some sense into Sonny; times I was mortified by the things she'd done; and times I felt so bad for her because she'd dug herself a massive hole and had no way to escape. There's also a huge family element to Lying Out Loud. Sonny's home situation doesn't sound very great and she's been living with the Rush family for a while, and they treat her like their own child. I loved that about the Rush's. They welcomes Sonny into their home with open arms and really helped her. There are a lot more family aspects to the book that I don't want to go into too much detail about, but the family relationships were my favourite thing about the book.
There were a few cameo's from Keplinger's other characters. Wesley and Bianca popped up a few times - Wesley is still one of my favourite male characters ever, and he's even more so now - and we also had an appearance from Nathan and Whitley who are in A Midsummer's Nightmare, which was actually really nice. I loved getting to see these characters again. There were probably appearances of the characters from Shut Out too, but I haven't read that one yet so I couldn't tell you. But I think I do remember a Lissa being mentioned at one point.
Lying Out Loud would definitely have been a 5 star read for me if it hadn't been for the ending. It was too much of an open ending after everything that had happened that I just couldn't believe that it was over! Even just a tiny bit more would have satisfied me, but after everything that Sonny had gone through to leave it like that? I was really, really disappointed. I'd gotten so invested in the characters that I just wanted more from the ending.
Overall, Lying Out Loud was a fantastic read that just missed being a 5 star for me because of the ending. It was a hilarious read - that constantly had me biting my lip on the bus to stop myself from laughing out loud - that focused on a few serious issues like abandonment, and I adored every single second of the book.