Cover image for The parallel universe of liars
The parallel universe of liars
Johnson, Kathleen Jeffrie.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Brookfield, Conn. : Roaring Brook Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
185 pages ; 22 cm
Surrounded by sexually unfaithful and physically beautiful adults, Robin, a fifteen-year-old fat girl, misses her best friend who has recently moved, gives in to an older neighbor's sexual advances, and doesn't recognize that a handsome black classmate likes her as she is.
Reading Level:
640 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.0 7.0 65957.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.5 13 Quiz: 32899 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



Surrounded by cheats, liars, and sexual predators, fat girl Robin can't stop giving in to her older neighbor's advances. Her best friend has moved away, so who is there to convince her that a handsome black classmate likes her as she really is? Fast-paced, sharp, and fresh, "The Parallel Universe of Liars" includes the funniest stepparents in teen fiction--by a compelling new voice in young adult literature.

Author Notes

Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson lives in Maryland. She is also the author of Roaring Brook's Target and A Fast and Brutal Wing

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 9^-12. Is everyone a liar? That is what 15-year-old Robin "Fat Butt" Smith wonders. Her father's young wife is sleeping with Frankie, Robin's gorgeous neighbor, who is, in turn, lying to his own girlfriend. Her body-image-conscious mother seems happy with her fiance, but she has never gotten over being dumped by Robin's father. And then there is Robin herself. Quirky Tri has asked her out for the first time, but she can't resist sneaking into Frankie's house every so often to masturbate him. Johnson's book is jam-packed. Besides all the romantic entanglements, Tri is biracial, which becomes an issue, and Robin's recently relocated best friend reports that another girl has kissed her. Whew! Yet first-time novelist Johnson does a remarkable job of juggling, and the story only occasionally feels as though it is bursting at the seams. More problematic is the ending, which is so abrupt that either a sequel is in the works or readers are going to be sorely disappointed. Let's hope it is the former, because Robin is a vivid character whose innocence, entangled with her yearnings, seems as true as her first-person narrative, and the supporting players around her are also up to their tasks. A provocative tale matched by its jacket illustration: in case you can't tell at first glance, the picture shows foil-wrapped condoms. Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

One summer, a 15-year catches her "hot" older neighbor having sex with her stepmother and is confronted with a "parallel universe of liars." In a starred review, PW said that the "refreshingly ordinary narrator frankly and even humorously deals with the sensitive topics of sex and race." Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-The cover photograph of two condoms in their wrappers gives fair warning of the content of this book. Overweight Robin, 15, is surrounded by dreadful role models. Her mother, father, stepmother, and neighbor Frankie (an actor wanna-be) are obsessed with physical appearances. In addition to their rather manic pursuit of sex and beauty, which Robin witnesses inadvertently or by design, she finds her own social life in upheaval and is devastated when her best friend moves to Alabama. Frankie has sex with her stepmother and seduces Robin. Meanwhile, the teen begins dating a new boy, and the contrast between his maturity and the reckless disregard of the adults in her family is well delineated. Robin's concerns and her language are frequently crude, but sadly believable. Not every element of the novel is equally successful: the letters Melissa writes to Robin are so poetic as to be nearly incomprehensible and the typeface is difficult to decipher. Still, this is the work of a promising writer and will be undeniably interesting to some teens.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.