A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
My Review: I loved it. I absolutely loved it. For as much as I loathe most books in this genre (indie-lit, weepy-lit, pretentious-lit are my pet nicknames for the genre)—filled with dozens of John Greens and Sarah Dessens and others of their kind, stuffing pretentious and unrealistic teenagers and scenarios down my throat—I feel like I am constantly on the search for a book in this genre that defies my expectations. I don’t know why—perhaps it’s because I am so critical of the genre that I know if I find one in the genre that I like, it must be really amazing. I’ve found a few like this that do it for me: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Happyface by Stephen Emond and How to Say Goodbye In Robot by Natalie Standiford are a few.
Now We Were Liars is another one.
I admit: a huge reason for why I loved this book is a reason specific to my personality and tastes. I adore New England and I have always been fascinated with the East Coast elite: old-money, old blood, New England royalty with summer homes in the Hamptons and the Vineyard and perhaps one down south in Charleston. These people, stories about them, and the whole region have always fascinated me. We Were Liars deals exactly with this topic: the Sinclair family, a family with old-money wealth from all parts of New England, coming together on their private island just off of Martha’s Vineyard. So aesthetically, I found the book incredibly pleasing.
But as for the book itself…I still loved it. I’ll be unbiased here: there ARE pretentious, unrealistic teenagers and pretentious quotes and illnesses and all the things I tend to loathe about this genre. There are. But they were written in such an open, interesting, simple way…it touched me. The pretension flew right over my head and I got sucked into the story because the personal narrative was so broken and yet enticing…
As for the plot. I’ve always been good at guessing twists and this book was no exception. Halfway through, a thought came to me: What if THIS is what happens at that end? (I’ll spare you so there are no spoilers.) The point is…I was right. My guess turned out to be correct—but only half of it. I didn’t guess all of it and besides, my guess wasn’t due to any flaws or giveaways in the plot–the blame lays fully on my overactive imagination which always jumps to the weirdest possibility. And even though I’d guessed the ending, I actually had no indication from the narrative whether I was correct or not–so the ending still DID shock and hurt me.
Yep. That’s right. This book hurt. The revelation at the end…and the whole story throughout…it tugged at my heartstrings in ways that these types of books normally don’t. Cady was a strange yet intriguing narrator, a different sort of perspective than I usually read from. Tied in among the story about this mysterious, different, elite Sinclair family were also themes about racism and classism, which I found refreshing and realistic, since these actually are issues that we face today. And yet, despite the book hurting me, the ending gave me a small feeling of hope as well, which is always a good sign.
All in all? Very good book. I’m really glad I gave this one a chance.
Cover: It's okay. It's not amazing. It captures the feeling of summer but I hate the font that the title was written in. It's just unappealing and weird.
Overall Grade: A-