Published: May 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
A beautiful and distinguished family.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.True love.The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
I came quite late to the We Were Liars party, so I had experienced all the hype surrounding it. I have to say it lived up to every expectation, and I recommend it to everyone. However due to the nature of the book, it’s going to be really hard to review without spoiling everything, so this review might be quite vague.
In my opinion this book is beautifully written, but a lot of people don’t seem to like the style it’s written in. It’s written in first person narration by the eldest Sinclair grandchild, Cadence. Most of the book is told from Cadence’s point of view, but sometimes it is told by the fairytales Cadence makes up to make sense of what is going on around her. I thought the stories were a really clever way to add to the fairytale quality of the book. And sometimes, while still being narrated by Cadence, Lockhart breaks into this kind of free verse style, which I loved but apparently not everyone did. If this sort of thing annoys you, this book mightn’t be for you. I loved Lockhart’s writing, her descriptions were beautiful and her dialogue flows. I’m really looking forward to reading other books by Lockhart because I love her writing.
One of the major themes of this book is memory. Cadence, who is an unreliable narrator, suffers from amnesia and severe migraines resulting from an accident. As she has nothing to go on herself, she believes everything her family tell her about the accident. A lot of the mystery in this story is tied in with Cadence trying to fill in the gaps of her missing memories.
Wealth and class are another huge aspect of this novel. The Sinclairs are an old ultra-white, super-wealthy family, and while the aunts and Cadence’s grandfather seem to be fine with their economic and class status, but it doesn’t sit well with Cadence and her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and their friend Gat. The Sinclair patriarch goes on about how blonde and great and better than everyone else his grandchildren are. He looks down on people of colour like Gat and his uncle, an attitude that his grandchildren are not comfortable at all with.There’s also a Wuthering Heights Heathcliff parallel, which I probably would have understood better if I had read WH, but I got the gist of it. Lockhart also deals with wealth and how it can bring pain as well a joy. None of the aunts are able to support themselves without the help of their parent’s trust funds, they fight over their inheritance and it begins to tear the family apart.
I would recommend this to everyone. Seasoned readers would love it, but also those who find it hard to stick with a book. It’s short and utterly engrossing and perfect for anyone making their first foray into YA or trying to get onto the reading wagon.
Five Stars *****