Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: We Were Liars

Release Date: May 13, 2014
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Length: 240 pages

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 honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.



Protagonist: Cadence Sinclair Eastman lives a charmed life. She comes from a long line of Old Money Blue-blood Democrats. She spends every summer on her family's private island with her cousins who, along with herself, have been deemed "The Liars." Now though, now she is broken. After an accident that leaves her with splitting migraines and amnesia about most of her summer Cadence goes back to her family's isalnd two years later to try and figure out what happened. While I was reading the book Cady never really felt privileged. She never fit into rich girls stereotypes or felt that anything was owed her just because her family had money. This made her a very likable character in the face of her mother and aunts who flaunt their privilege like it's something they built instead of something built for them. Cady is very well meaning and intelligent, but she's flawed in more ways than just her amnesia and migraines. She sometimes makes reckless and foolish choices and feels that she did the right thing in the end.

Romance: So very early on in this story it's established that Cady and Gat, the nephew of her aunt's long time live in boyfriend and also one of her fellow "Liars," are in love. Sure we see a bit of them falling in love here and there, but really this book almost starts out with an established love between the two. Normally I detest this sort of romance as it robs the reader from seeing the love grow, another reason why I hate insta-love besides it being unrealistic. However this books overcame this in two ways. First off there are flashbacks that illustrate their romance and how it grows throughout the book in tandem with moments in the present, and the romance is such a small facet of the book that it feels so much more meaningful in the moments that it's there.

World-Building: So going into this book all I ever heard about it was that it was best to go in blind, to not know anything about the book going in, and I'm calling BS on that right now. Look, I get wanting to keep an air of mystery to this book, but there isn't anything that happens in even the first half of the book that I would consider shocking or well deserving of a blind dive into the book. In fact, I had so many expectations for this book going in that when it started I was so confused about what I was reading exactly that it took me a while to really get into it. Do you want to know what this book is about? It's about a girl from a seemingly perfect family who after a terrible accident and being away for a summer comes back to find out that things have changed and she needs to put together what happened two years before to make sense of the present.

Predictability: On the whole this book didn't seem too unpredictable in the beginning, though there were a few moments where I misread something and thought something crazy had happened, such as when Cady's father leaves their family and she compares it to being shot in the chest and I thought for a minute that her father actually pulled out a gun and shot her in the chest. However as the story really hit it's stride things became much more mysterious and when the ending came about I do have to say that it was something I don't ever think I would have seen coming.

Ending: So the synopsis for the book says that if anyone asks me about the ending that I should lie. Well, I'm not going to do that. I won't tell you what happens of course, but I will give my general and vague feelings towards the end of this novel. So in the end there's a huge game changing twist as I said above and it's something that I will admit I cried over, not an ugly cry or weeping, but I did tear up quite a bit. I won't say whether it was a happy cry or a sad one, but I would caution tissues if you're prone to be emotional when reading books. The very end left nothing up in the air, of course part of me still wonders how everyone's lives ended up, but there's only so much that I could ask from a stand alone novel.


So I honestly debated about this rating when I finally finished the book. When I was only about 1/3-1/2 of the way through I was only going to give it a 4-4.5 star rating, and I've never given a book a higher rating than my initial feelings (at least I don't think I have), but if there's any book that deserves it, it would be this one. How everything comes together in the end is absolutely amazing and made me go back to see all of the little things I hadn't given much thought to before.


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