The Liar’s Daughter
By Megan Cooley Peterson
Published September 10, 2019 by Holiday House
Piper was raised in a cult.
She just doesn’t know it.
I’m fascinated by stories about cults. How people get into them, what happens when they get out of them. Why people join them in the first place. The Liar’s Daughter is the story of a teen girl named Piper who escapes a cult. The twist here is that she didn’t want to leave.
The story is told in alternating “Before” and “After.” We know that Piper is no longer in the cult, but how she got out and what’s really going on aren’t fully apparent until well into the story. In the Before chapters, we see Piper living in a house in the woods with her brothers and sisters. They’re visited occasionally by their Father and Mother, the cult leader and his wife. It’s a weird, isolate life. The cult is your typical doomsday cult: the end is coming, the world outside is full of poison, women belong in the home, and the government is out to get us.
I found the Before Piper hard to take at first. She’s so naive and trusting, even in the face of so much bizarre cult nonsense. But her naivete makes sense in the context of the story (she’s grown up in the cult and doesn’t know any better), and it makes a good contrast to the Piper we see in the After chapters, who is paranoid and unmoored from her old life.
I really enjoyed this book. The Before and After structure of the story worked really well, and it ratcheted up the tension, as we see the buildup to Piper leaving the cult and how it happened. In a note at the end of the book, the author discusses her childhood in a cult-like religious group, and I feel like her experiences give this book an extra dose of reality.
I received an ARC from the publisher through Amazon Vine.