Published by Delacorte Press on May 13th, 2014
Genres: mystery-thriller, young adult
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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.
Oooooooookay. This book wasn’t on my radar until Jamie from The Perpetual Page-turner absolutely raved about it on Twitter. Then the positive reviews came flooding in, all boasting of a mind-blowing thriller with an ending the reader will never see coming.
So of course I needed to read it. I love a twist ending. But you know what? I was disappointed.
I liked the first 60% of this novel, albeit it was a little hard to care about the characters. We Were Liars centers around the influential and well-off Sinclair family. They’re your typical rich, white New England liberals so steeped in privilege it’s practically oozing from their ears. I’m not saying that people like this have invariably easy lives or that they live with no hardships – I just mean that it’s kind of hard to care about them when the adults are fighting over the family patriarch’s estate and the grandmother buys illegal ivory.
The writing was also kind of vague and distant. It was hard to get a read on any emotions from any character except for the main character, Cady, since it was a first-person narrative. I’m sure that some of this had to do with the way the Sinclairs are taught to always be “normal,” to hide their feelings, and to never cause a scene. And I get that. But a lot of this detachment was also because of the simplistic sentences and dreamlike structure of the entire thing.
Now, around the 2/3 mark, I figured out what the twist ending was. I don’t know if that’s because it was simply written or if it was because I’ve read a TON of books with this particular device. But the clues were there, sprinkled within the text the entire time and I thought it was kind of obvious. However, this is definitely worth a reread and will be interesting to see how everything pans out, knowing how it ends.
So I wasn’t all that impressed with We Were Liars. That’s somewhat because I’ve seen all this before just because of the books I like to read (i.e., psychological thrillers.) It could also be because of the hype surrounding this. Seriously, I can only think of one person who actually disliked it. I recommend giving it a read though – it’s definitely worth it, and it’s just short enough to not be a total time-waster even if you don’t like it. I’m not sure what I should rate this; my feelings about it were all over the place. So I’m just going to go with a neutral rating. I didn’t dislike it, but it wasn’t everything I hoped it would be.