We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart
Expected Publishing Date: May 13, 2014
Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
View at the Traffic light:
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 novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
We Were Liars is one of those strange books that has a haunting quality, a good story, and something that’s missing you can’t quite figure out, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on the story. I enjoyed We Were Liars, but I wasn’t quite as enamored with it as I thought I would be. However, I cannot deny that the writing in We Were Liars is some of the best I’ve ever read. It’s different than your standard YA, and at some parts it seemed a bit much for the story, but the words and prose was absolutely beautiful. I love the dissonance this created at times when the words were beautiful but the action of the story was terrifying.
If you’re read any other reviews for We Were Liars, they probably said something to the effect of “Go in blind as possible,” and that’s absolutely true. It becomes obvious very early on in the story that Cadence, the main narrator, has a lot of memories she can’t quite grasp and is unaware of what happened on her family’s island two summers previously. The reader follows Cadence as she struggles to put all the pieces together.
We Were Liars has a pretty slow pace, but in a beautiful way. It’s the type of book you want to soak up slowly, all the while slowly inching towards the truth at the end. And the end, while unexpected, was not exactly surprising. There are clues and hints, and it wraps up well, but in a way that is quite sad. However, I never felt any emotion at the big reveal, and didn’t care as much about Cadence as I think I was supposed to. I think this is because we know very little of Cadence before her accident, so the reader only knows her as the main character who is trying to piece together her past, so while I theoretically cared about her, I didn’t care for her in the same way I care for the characters in books that really hit me in the heart.
That aside, We Were Liars is a wonderful book. The issues it explores with the wealthy family and their desire to keep their status could have felt tacky and eye-roll worthy, but it never did to me. It was handled so well, and Cadence’s perspective was a large part of that. It was easy to see how the story ended where it did.
We Were Liars is a terrific book. While it didn’t hit me in an emotional way, I can’t deny that it’s a beautifully written book with a compelling story. I loved how original it was and how everything was handled. The ending was sad but fit the story so well, and I definitely felt for Cadence. I originally gave this one 4/5 cupcakes, but after thinking about it for months, it doesn’t quite stand up for a 4 star for me. It’s a beautifully written book with a lot going for it, but something was missing. 3/5 cupcakes.