We Were Liars

We Were Liars


Title: We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Series: N/A

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: May 13th 2014

Rating:

Five Stars

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 honouree E. Lockhart.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“We are Sinclairs. Beautiful. Privileged. Damaged. Liar. We live, least in the summertime, on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Perhaps that is all you need to know.”

The blurb for We Were Liars doesn’t give much away, and besides I felt this book was more of a character development for Cadence and her friends, the Liars, than anything else. I had been told before starting this book that there was a twist and halfway through I started to think I knew what was coming. Hint were being dropped, things were being revealed and I was certain I knew what the big twist was. Honestly I wondered why this book was such a big thing because it seemed obvious to me. I was wrong. The real twist came out of nowhere and to say I was shocked after reading it seems like a massive understatement.

Every summer Cadence and her family go to their grandfather’s private island. Ever since Cadence was little it’s been their tradition despite everything that happens during the year; after Cadence’s father leaves they go to the island, after her grandmother’s death they go to the island. The Sinclairs are all about their image, the perfect family from the outside but all cracks on the inside.

It is on the island that Cadence first meets Gat, and together with her cousins Johnny and Mirren they become the Liars. The closest of friends on the island but they always lose contact when they go back home again. Their time on the island is their own little bubble of paradise; they take out the boat, jump from cliffs into the sea, fall in love. In spite of everything Cadence’s life seems perfect but then the accident happens. She is found on the beach one day by her aunt and her mum, the other Liars nowhere to be seen. She washes up on the shore and it’s the start of her life changing for the worse.

“She confused being spartan with being charitable, and gave away her possessions without truly doing good with them.
She confused being sick with being brave, and suffered agonies while imagining she merited praise for it.
She confused wit with intelligence, and made people laugh rather than lightening their hearts or making them think.”

Cadence has no clue what happened to her, or at all, during the summer she was fifteen. When she is sixteen she is taken by her father on a trip all around Europe and its only when she is seventeen that she returns to the island, reuniting with the Liars once more.

Thanks to the accident Cadence has holes in her memory from the last summer she was on the island; she can’t remember what caused her accident, she can’t remember where the other Liars were when she went swimming that night. However the more time she spends with Johnny, Mirren and Gat the more the holes in her mind start to form a picture, and the more the cracks in her family seem to widen.

…The Characters

“I suffer migraines. I do not suffer fools. I like a twist of meaning. I endure.”

Cadence is a Sinclair through and through. She listens and learns when her mother tells her about their image and buries her feelings deep down, but on the inside she bleeds. When her father leaves her mother and later when her grandmother dies she is cut deep. When she is fifteen she is whole, she has the Liars and the world seems to be theirs for the taking, but by seventeen she is broken, her headaches incapacitate her and she is searching for answers, from her mother, her grandfather, the Liars, hoping they will make her whole again.

“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”

The Liars live in a bubble during the summer when they are on the island, back in their own lives the other nine or so months of the year they have little contact with one another. The relationship between Gat and Cadence is like that as well; Cadence loves him but she doesn’t know anything about his life outside of the island. It is the same with her cousins Johnny and Mirren, they are the closest of friends but only during the summer.

However, even though they only see one another during the summer it doesn’t make their friendship and love for one another feel shallow. You can see the closeness they all have with one another above all their other cousins.

“I said something about what if what if we could somehow stop being the Beautiful Sinclair Family and just be a family? What if we could stop being different colors, different backgrounds, and just be in love?”

The Sinclairs play a major part in Cadence’s story. After her grandmother dies her mother and aunts are fighting over everything; their fathers love, his homes and the inheritance he will leave behind. Cadence, Mirren and Johnny find themselves dragged into the middle of it. Seeing the family through Cadence’s memories at fifteen and her summer at seventeen is like seeing two different families; they are broken both times but for two different reasons. When Cadence is fifteen it is because they are arguing and stabbing each other in the back over trinkets, and when Cadence is seventeen it is something deeper which had affected all of them but still destroyed them.

Cadence’s relationship with her mother seemed to evolve, like Cadence herself, throughout the novel. Her mother is very concerned with appearance above everything, and she impresses that upon Cadence. Like her sisters she squabbles over the inheritance using Cadence to voice her will with her grandfather. But when Cadence is seventeen she starts hovering. She worries about her daughter after the accident, is careful with her and any reference to her accident. She loves her daughter but it’s easier to see that when Cadence is seventeen than when she is fifteen.

…The Setting

“Life feels beautiful that day. The four of us Liars, we have always been. We always will be. No matter what happens as we go to college, grow old, build lives for ourselves; no matter if Gat and I are together or not. No matter where we go, we will always be able to line up on the roof of Cuddledown and gaze at the sea. This island is ours. Here, in some way, we are young forever.”

The island Cadence and her family visit each summer is beautiful and it is described as much. The perfect location for the perfect family. However the more summer’s Cadence spends there, especially with Gat, the more she realises that it isn’t perfect. The privilege Cadence and her family have, but also the way her grandfather seems to control the whole family. After the accident Cadence uses fairytales, writes them to help her adjust to her life as she sees it now. There is always the King who rules over everything, the King who sends his daughters off the die, the King who makes them prove how much they love him. I loved that aspect of this book, it seemed a perfect parallel for the relationship Cadence’s grandfather had with the other Sinclair’s.


I really enjoyed We Were Liars; the story was interesting and the characters well-developed and likeable. But the reason I bumped my rating from four stars to five was because of the twist. I did not see it coming at all and after it was revealed I feel like I sat with my mouth open in disbelief for the next few pages. This is, in my opinion, a brilliant book so if you haven’t read it yet then what are you waiting for?

What did you think of We Were Liars? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

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37 thoughts on “We Were Liars

  1. I’ve just started reading this book and am planning on writing a review on my own blog!
    I’m really enjoying it so far, although I don’t think I’ve hit the ‘twist’ yet.
    Keen to see what is to come….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely hadn’t reached the twist when I wrote this comment! I thought the book had fantastic character development (everyone had a well defined, specific purpose), however I didn’t feel any connection to any of the characters which was mildly disappointing! It was an easy read however! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah you know when you reach it. Did you see it coming? I thought I did, I thought the twist was the fire itself, but then the real twist was revealed and I was completely shocked. It’s a shame you didn’t feel any connection to the characters, did you enjoy the book overall? 🙂

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      3. I definitely didn’t see it coming! I may have briefly contemplated it early on, but I never seriously considered it! Yeah, I really did enjoy it! I really liked that I was constantly questioning things, and the hidden (or not so hidden) motives of each character – particularly the three mothers and the grandfather.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I didn’t even briefly contemplate it early on. It came completely out of the blue for me but then looking back I could see some of the clues within the story early on you know? That’s good to hear. There was a lot going on in this book in terms of the characters and all the secrets they kept, it works really well in the story though doesn’t it? Keeps you guessing until the big reveal! 🙂

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  2. When I first read this book I thought it was ok but nothing amazing. The only thing that kept me inertested until the end was the twist ending everyone was talking about. I guessed so many different things that it could be but I really did not see what was coming. As soon as I finished I went right back to the first page and started again, eager to see how I missed it. I have read this book countless times since each time picking up new clues surrounding the ending. This is now one of my favourite books one of the main reasons being it feels like a different book each time i read it, it really is open to interpretation. Overall a very good read in my onion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At the moment I’ve only read it once, I was the same as you though I was constantly trying to guess the twist. At one point I actually thought I knew what it was and I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t as epic as I thought it would be. Turns out I was wrong and when the actual twist was revealed I was just so shocked. I didn’t see it coming at all.
      I feel like for me as well this will be a book that, no matter how many times I reread it, I will discover something new as well!
      Definitely an amazing book, one of my favourites! 😀

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    1. Thanks Astra!
      See I hadn’t actually seen many reviews for this before I started reading it, loads of people were mentioning it but in Top Ten Tuesday posts or tags or something like that. I had high expectations, mainly because everyone kept telling me the twist was amazing, and yeah, they were definitely right 😀

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    1. In that case I really hope you manage to get to it soon then. I actually think it’s a perfect summer book for when you lying on the beach on holiday or something.
      Ohh the twist is brilliant. I actually didn’t see it coming, I thought I did but I was really wrong, so I’m kinda curious now whether you can guess what it is! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen this book literally EVERYWHERE but never actually found out what it was about until I read the description! And even then, not so much, so I’m glad you expanded a bit on the plot.

    Suspenseful YA is one of those things I really need to be in a mood for before picking up, mostly because I tend to find them really heavy and my heart can’t take it (admittedly I’m really weak with these things). Glad to hear that you enjoyed this book and was surprised by the twist! I think that definitely makes for a good suspense story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I’ve seen it everywhere recently as well, only really picked it up because of some recommendations though. I hadn’t seen any reviews and yeah like you wasn’t really sure what the plot was either.
      I haven’t actually read many suspenseful YA books, not sure if I just don’t have many on my to-read list or am just never in the mood for them. Oh man the twist in this book was brilliant, and for me completely out of the blue as well (but in a good way). At first I think I started to think I knew what it was, I was completely wrong, and yeah it was a great suspenseful story. I’d highly recommend it!

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  4. I’ve had this on my wishlist for some time but I never even knew what it was about. Now I’m super excited to read it! The whole ‘liars’ aspect reminds me a lot of Pretty Little Liars, which is one of my favourite TV shows, so that’s a plus. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a really good book, I’d recommend picking it up especially if it’s been on your to-read list for ages as well! I haven’t seen Pretty Little Liars so I can really say whether this book has any similarities to the TV show but standing on its own the book is un-put-down-able, and the twist is beyond brilliant! I’m sure you’ll love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I already said so, but I am so happy you loved this book! I was shocked by the twist as well, and it was just so, so good it got me crying for a good 20 minutes, ahah. I think it’s one of those books you can either love, or hate, because you guessed/were disappointed by the twist. I’m glad that was not the case for you ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This book was amazing! And yes the twist was so unexpected for me, but I think the chapter after it, where Cadence finally seems to remember what happened that night, was heartbreaking because she finally sees what everyone else in her family does and realises what the Liars all did. It just broke my heart hearing about it all.
      I can see why some people probably didn’t like this book, I agree it’s either love or hate not much in between, but I was in no way disappointed by the twist.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yay! I’m so happy you loved this one, Beth 😃 It’s one of my favourites!! I did predict the twist, but even then it still really hit me. It was such a haunting and gripping book. I read it a couple of years ago and I just planned on reading the first few pages to see what I wanted to read next and then suddenly it was 5am and I’d finished the book 😂 It made me cry so much too 🙈 Incredible review!

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    1. God it’s a brilliant book. Really!? I thought I knew what the twist was but when it actually was revealed I was completely shocked. I wouldn’t have been able to guess it in a million years but looking back it did make sense in a way.
      I hadn’t had this one on my to-read list for long but I’d heard some good reviews for it and once I started I couldn’t put it down! I can easily see why you were up till 5am reading this one! Thanks, I’m glad you liked my review as well!

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      1. I didn’t see it coming at all. I thought I did and I was so prepared to do the ‘I KNEW IT’ thing as well but then I was completely shocked when the real twist was revealed. How did you see it coming!?
        I definitely think it was a brilliant twist!

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      2. Honestly, I’m not even sure! I just remember thinking it and then was quite surprised to see I was right, haha. I don’t know if it’s because I love the idea of solving things, my brain just seems to be able to put everything together, which is strange because I’m definitely not a very logical thinking person most times haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It literally never even crossed my mind for a second! Honestly of all the possibilities for the twist I thought up this was not one of them!
        See I like to think I’m OK at solving things, I try and guess some of the little twists that appear in books and a few times I see them coming, but there are a few where something happens and it just really shocks me, like in We Were Liars! In my opinion those are the best ones 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve had this book on my shelf for about a year now and haven’t opened it. Everyone says the plot twist is really good, but I guess I held off because of some mixed reviews. After reading your review, I think I need to give this one another look. Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much 😀 and I’m glad I could convince you to give this book a chance too. I haven’t seen many reviews for this one, I tend to avoid reviews for hyped books before I start them, but I can understand how this book received some mixed ones. I really enjoyed We Were Liars, I thought it was amazing (the twist alone was BRILLIANT) so I really hope you enjoy it as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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