Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Posted September 17, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. LockhartWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press on May 13th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Pages: 227
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
ISBN: 038574126X
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

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.

The Good…:

We Were Liars recounts the tale of an affluent family that spends their summers on a private island off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Why were these three cousins and their best friend Liars? The title is one of the various mysteries the reader has to unravel for themselves. The narrator of the story is one of the Liars, Cadence Sinclair Eastman, who you glean from the very first page is an unreliable narrator just from the fact that she’s a member of the Liars. Cady is the eldest grandchild, and thought to be the heir to the Sinclair family fortune. The majority of the story takes place after a horrible tragedy befalls the family, in which Cady is left with amnesia, but readers are filled in via flashbacks, fairy tales, and clues perfectly placed throughout the book.

Since Cady is an unreliable narrator, readers have to shift through the clues she leaves in her retelling in order to figure out what exactly happened to her when she was fifteen years old. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story, but at times it was a bit frustrating. Not only is Cady a Liar, but she’s an amnesic. Not only did I wonder if she was lying about everything, but part of me even wondered if any of it even happened. If maybe the events Cady is retelling are all a figment of her imagination.

The Bad…:

I liked Cady, but the rest of the characters annoyed me. I never understood the attraction Cady felt for Gat, as he seemed like a pretentious a-hole. That’s not to say that many of his observations weren’t spot-on, I just felt that his actions made him a hypocrite. Cady’s cousins Mirren and Johnny were also annoying. Actually, I disliked her entire family. Nothing irritates me more that listening to rich people whining about being rich. Except reading about it. I guess Lockhart wanted readers to empathize with these characters, but I found them to be racist snobs.

The Ugly…:

View Spoiler »

Do I Recommend?

We Were Liars was massively talked about this year. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be in on the conversations that surround this novel. It’s an easy read, and somewhat entertaining, so readers can read it pretty quickly. However, I feel this story could have been done better, and isn’t a book someone needs to run out and immediately read.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.4

About E. Lockhart

I am the author of We Were Liars, Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the Ruby Oliver quartet: The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends. How to Be Bad was co-written with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski.

Disreputable History was a Printz Award honor book, a finalist for the National Book Award, and recipient of the Cybils Award for best young adult novel. We Were Liars is a New York Times bestseller.

I have a doctorate in English literature from Columbia University and currently teach creative writing at Hamline University’s low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children.


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