Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Format Read: Paperback, 225 pages
Publication Date: 1st August 2014 by Allen & Unwin Australia
Synopsis: “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.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense that will leave you reeling.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.” (Taken from Goodreads)
With a synopsis like that, it’s hard not to be pulled into a book like We Were Liars. Lies, love, secrecy … I was already hooked! To whom-ever that wrote the blurb, you’re a genius (and a very good marketer)!
We Were Liars as a book does live up to its brilliant synopsis. It’s easy to see why it’s received so much hype around the blogosphere and amongst other authors before its publication. The book is about four friends; three who are cousins from a distinguished white American family that owns a private summer island, and one who is the friend of one of the cousins. Cadence, Johnny, Mirren and Gat. Gat, Mirren, Johnny and Cadence. They are the oldest kids and referred to as the four liars by their family.
If you’ve read other reviews on this book, then you’ll probably be aware that most of them will tell you that you’re better off going into this book with an open-mind and nothing else. Don’t read any spoilers because the ending will be ruined for you.
I will follow the crowd and say the same, although truthfully, I went into the book that way and managed to figure out the ending pretty early on. All I will say to those that do not want to be spoiled is that the story is told from the point-of-view of Cadence, the heir of the Sinclair family. She’s recently suffered from a traumatic head injury, leaving her with selective memories surrounding the events of summer 15. Cadence has returned to the family island following a hiatus, and she’s determined to figure out what happened that summer and why everyone is lying to her about it.
I won’t say anymore about the plot in case I ruin the story for you. Instead, I’ll move on to the writing style. It’s definitely written very differently to the usual flow. Lockhart adopts a very disjointed method of writing her words to encapsulate the disjointed memories that Cadence is plagued with. I found this method beautiful, although I’ve heard it was pretty annoying to some readers. It’s really a matter of preference and I honestly didn’t mind it!
Her writing style really pulled me into the story. It was descriptive and emotional – we were really able to see Cadence’s pain as she tried to remember everything that happened during summer 15.
And this is where I’ll leave you if you haven’t read the book yet. It is well worth the read, and highly recommended! I will be discussing spoilers below, so please DON’T click on the tab if you haven’t read this book yet.
[alert type=”alert” close=”true”]Spoilers ahead![/alert]
[toggle]I am assuming you’ve clicked this spoiler tag because you’ve read the book and want to know my thoughts beyond what I’ve already said. While I really enjoyed this novel and finished it in one sitting, I also found it rather predictable. I honestly managed to guess the ending very early on, and that can be attributed to the title itself: We Were Liars.
I know most reviewers have said to enjoy the book and not try to solve the mystery so the ending will surprise you. That was hard to do when the ending was being displayed right in the title, and I just couldn’t shake it off the entire time I was reading. As mysteries go, it was entirely predictable with lots of hints being dropped. I believe the plotline has been used many times before in other novels as well.
I’ve actually written similar plots myself during high school English exams, so unfortunately that had affected the way the ending was supposed to shock me.
In terms of characters, we really don’t get to know any of them well. We spend a lot of time in Cadence’s head and we are able to meet each of the characters on the island at different times. However, none of them really stand out because the amount of time you get to spend with them is limited. Especially when days are skipped due to Cadence being bed-bound by excruciating headaches.
While I enjoyed Lockhart’s writing style, I also found her world-building a little bit lacking. I can barely just imagine what all the houses on the island look like, let alone the island itself. Thank god we have the map at the beginning of the book showing us though.
Overall, I found the book highly enjoyable. I would recommend it to other readers that want a little more oomph to their contemporary YA, but was it unforgettable like John Green says? Well to me, it wasn’t.[/toggle]
Thank you to Allen & Unwin Australia for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.