Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 13th 2014
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 honouree E. Lockhart.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.