Rummanah Aasi
  I was very much looking forward to reading E. Lockart's latest novel, We Were Liars, this year. I've heard nothing but great things about the book yet stayed away from reviews in fear of spoiling the surprise ending. I started this book with no preconceived notions and I think that really helped my enjoyment of it. My only qualm about the book is that is too short and I wanted more in the end. Many thanks to Delacorte Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.

Description: 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.

Review: We Were Liars is a quick yet nuanced read that will equally appeal to adults as well as teens. Cloaked in secrets, greed, and deception, it is best to read We Were Liars without knowing anything about the book. On her fifteenth summer at her family summer cottage, Cady's life is torn apart. Cady Sinclair's family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Those who fall outside of these three categories are not recognized nor deemed worthy individuals by the family patriarch. Cady's cousins and aunts are reunited each summer by her mother's father on his private island. Everyone leads a charmed, fairy-tale lives which is a clever idea that is reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady's reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story; however, these fairy tales aren't the Disney-happily-ever types but rather much more cut throat and dark like the original Grimm tales.
  After a nice setup, we begin to examine all the skeletons in the Sinclair's palace closets and the various personal sacrifices that are made to keep the pristine image upright. What I loved most about this book is the author's refusal to simply make her characters pure evil or pure good, each of the characters have their own motive, which might make the family's foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved.  
   Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible--if they have the courage to act thus creating the suspense about how the four teens acted and which version of their actions is the real truth. Their sincere hopes and foolish naivete make the teens' desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic. You can argue as to who are the winners or losers in this book, which for me makes this book a great choice for a book discussion. Riveting, brutal and beautifully told, We Were Liars is hard to put down and much harder to forget.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drinking, and mature themes. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
5 Responses
  1. Oh gosh. I really need to drop everything and read this one. I have read countless glowing reviews for this one, and I am happy to see you amongst them.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I agree I wish this had been longer! I really enjoyed it and even though I guessed the secret I still quite enjoyed the atmosphere and the characters. Lovely review!

  3. Jenny Says:

    This sounds like a truly fascinating read Rummanah, one of those books that makes you think and ask questions and try and guess as to what's going to happen, and I absolutely love those kinds of books. Books that inspire discussion are always winners:) Thanks so much for your thoughts on this one!

  4. Candace Says:

    I've been seeing so many book things about this one! I'll definitely have to see about getting my hands on a copy.
    I like going in not really being sure what a book is about and I like that you say that, that it's better to not really know.
    Hopefully I can get a copy soon!

  5. This seems to have a creepy edge to it. It also bodes well for a book that you wish was longer. I also love that you don't have things set for you, but you sort of think for yourself. Arguing about who is the winner or loser? Oh you have me curious about this book!

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