book review · young adult

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • YA Contemporary Fiction, Mystery/Suspense
  • My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

This book was definitely an “everyone else read it, so I need to read it” kind of book and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. A couple of my co-workers assured me that I would feel something by the end of the book, but they never clarified whether it was extreme sadness, surprised, devastation, or anything. One did say that I would be destroyed and when I announced via bookstagram that I was going to start reading it, many people messaged me saying they cried or were heart-broken.

I remember seeing the book at work and noticing how skinny it was, and when I saw it on BookOutlet for something around $5, I decided to purchase it for myself.

This story is told from the perspective of teenager Cadence Sinclair who measures her  years in summers that she spends on her distinguished family’s private island with her group of friends (her cousins Johnny and Mirren + her friend Gat), whom she refers to as the Liars. But during her 15th summer, Cady has an accident and cannot remember the events surrounding it. Whatever happened to her has led her to become a different person than who she used to be and so she is determined to figure out exactly what occurred that summer.

If you couldn’t tell from my synopsis, this book is about a pretentious family who adores their name and wealth and suffer from #whitepeopleproblems. When I say pretentious, I don’t mean Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The Sinclairs remind me more of a southern plantation kind of family, but on an island. When I opened the book, I found a map of the island with a family tree drawn out which, to me, meant that something was gonna go down in this story, so I had better pay attention.

I’m usually into the whole rich-family intrigue kind of story, so I was pretty interested in this. Cady’s Grandfather is the patriarch and bases his family decisions on old aristocratic traditions and so his three daughters argue over who deserves to inherit the island’s largest estate in which their parents live.

I found this to be pretty interesting. As the story progressed, I was also dying to know what happened to Cady. The mystery surrounding this entire book was well-hidden and I’m usually really good at predicting big plot twists and surprise endings, but this one actually had me stumped!

But of course, there were a few things I didn’t like about this book, most noticeably Lockhart’s writing style. The narrator used metaphors for EVERYTHING – so many that I couldn’t tell what was real more than half the time. I think it’s safe to say that most people know what a migraine feels like, so constantly comparing it to someone bashing your head in or splitting your skull with an ax grew old real fast.

Also..

Typing
Like
THIS
does NOT
an artsy
person

make.

I generally don’t like books in verse and I’m pretty sure this book is not supposed to be in verse…so cut that sh*t out! But I did like the allusions in which she re-tells her family’s story as a fairy tale.

I also didn’t like that she referred to her friends as the Liars…it made no sense to me. I was expecting them to be a gang of kids who stir up trouble, but they’re actually pretty…lame (that is…until you learn of the big secret). I feel like this book completely over exaggerates everything. Gat is described as being a political revolutionary because he’s literally the only non-white character in the entire book. Cady knows that she’s privileged, but is completely blind to her grandfather’s racism. While the realizations the Liars make about their lives and their out-dated family traditions are valid and a sign of maturity, they’re no bigger than their island. Nothing that happens on this island affects change except in Cady who is an unreliable narrator and really nothing special.

Verdict: Despite not really liking any of the characters or the author’s writing style, I found the story to be intriguing and a page-turner, none-the-less. Also, the book is super short, so even if you don’t like it, at least you didn’t waste time on hundreds of pages!

 

 

 

 

 

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