I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Remember, if anyone asks you how this book ends… LIE.
I understood going in to this book that it was not going to be a happy book. I knew that. I did. I just was just unprepared for how this book would make me feel at the end. I don’t think there is a way to prepare one’s self for it—even if you may have theories about what the twist is before it is actually revealed to the reader. I think that alone says a lot about the writing from this author. While some may figure out early on what actually occurred that night, it is still a revelation that will leave you breathless. The kind of breathless that you feel after you’ve experienced a punch to the stomach.
I honestly had no idea what We Were Liars was about before reading. I did not read the entire summary or anything. The only thing I did know was that it dealt with teens. Privileged teens. And maybe not so privileged teens. I also had never read any of E. Lockhart’s previous works so I also had no idea whether I’d even like her writing style and storytelling skills. Luckily, I did. I very much enjoyed her writing style and storytelling ability. Her prose was lovely and just resonated with me in a way that I find hard to put into words.
We Were Liars is told from the point of view of Cady Sinclair. She’s one of the beautiful Sinclair children and who also happens to be the eldest of the grandchildren; she’s destined to inherit most of everything, if not everything from her grandfather. She, along with her mother, aunts and cousins vacation every summer with her grandparents. They are the epitome of money, beauty and privilege. Cady is what is known as an unreliable narrator as she herself is trying to piece together the bits and pieces of what happened on the night that irrevocably changed her family. And herself.
Cady has no recollection of the accident that led to her being plagued with these terrible migraines that leave her utterly useless and out of it for days. Her mind is unable to hold and process the details of that night even after she’s been told numerous of times. Doctors have told her mother that Cady will remember when her mind allows her to, it’s best not to rush it.
While Cady wasn’t very likable, especially after everything is revealed, I was really into reading about her summers with her cousins, Mirren, Johnny and their friend Gat. The Liars is what they called themselves. What I really appreciated was the presence of diversity in this novel. Gat is of East Indian descent. He and Cady were enamored with each other from the very first meeting on the island as children. There was also the aspect of discrimination in this novel that played a big part as Cady’s grandfather acted very dismissive towards Gat and his uncle who was involved with one of Cady’s aunts.
I have to admit that I was very taken with The Liars and their whole dynamic. They each had their own personalities and were so different, but they were the best of friends once summer came along. Johnny was very eccentric and funny. Mirren attempted to be above it all and yet sweet. Gat was intelligent and aspired to be this great person who was capable of changing things up. He was the only one who really saw the world outside of what the Sinclairs were accustomed to. I especially liked the side of him that wrote quotes on his hands. Cady was beyond lost in her love for him.
I find a sharpie and write on my hands. Left: Be A Little. Right: Kinder.
I started this book about a month ago and got about ¾ of the way in a couple of hours – the book is quite short – and then I put it down. Admittedly I was hesitant and a little scared to continue on because I (a) didn’t want it to end so soon and(b) I didn’t want my theory about what the twist was to be revealed.
In the end, I was encouraged to finish the book after seeing the status updates of a fellow blogger and her message to me.
Overall, I must say that this book does not hold back at all. That last twenty percent of the story literally left me shaking and looking around wondering whether this was really happening and feeling so conflicted. That Lockhart would not do this to me. However, I applaud her for it as well. I was captivated by the lovely prose and the storytelling and in the end, totally gutted and left thinking about the books for days after.
I like a twist of meaning.