Book Review: We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Posted April 14, 2014 by Kara in book review / 5 Comments

Book Review: We Were Liars by E LockhartWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press on May 13th, 2014
Genres: mystery-thriller, young adult
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.

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.


 This book covers the Spring Release square on my bingo card.we were liars bingo

5 responses to “Book Review: We Were Liars by E Lockhart

  1. I blamed my dislike on reading a lot of psychological thrillers as well. The ending wasn’t nearly as shocking as I had anticipated based on everyones early reactions. Plus, I had the problem with the emotional disconnect and didn’t really feel bad for any of the characters so the end wasn’t as devastating as I think most people were. Great review. 🙂

    • Yup, I think a lot of this had to do with 1) the hype, and 2) just being seasoned in the genre. People who don’t read thrillers a whole lot, though, will probably be shocked by it.

  2. Oh Bekka finally someone else who didn’t like this book all that much. Through the first 70% or so I was bored out of my mind.The last 30% of it was so much better but still not enough to make a major difference in my overall feelings about the book. I could not connect to the characters at all & I disliked the writing style big time. Despite having read a lot of psychological thrillers, I didn’t see the ending coming. I didn’t even catch on to the clues.

    I ended up going with a neutral rating myself. Excellent review Bekka.

  3. Amy

    I have this one and have been trying to get to it. I haven’t really read many reviews for it. If it’s hard to really connect with the characters I may not enjoy it very much. I am a very character driven reader. Also, I prefer when I can’t guess what is going to happen, but I tend to pretty easily. As long as the journey there is enjoyable to read it doesn’t really bother me though. Great review!!

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