Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart ♥ @elockhart
May 13, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press/ Random House
Genre(s): Young Adult ♥ Contemporary ♥ Mystery
Summary from Goodreads: 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.
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.
Average Goodreads Rating (as of 05/02/2014): 4.07
- Christina thought this title was disappointing. It goes on her bottom shelf.
**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.
♥ Initial Thoughts and Rating:
1.5 stars! Admittedly, I probably allowed all the other five and four star reviews to get my hopes up and when my expectations weren’t met, it’s now possible that I’m a little bitter. I shouldn’t have drunk the Kool-Aid. However, you can obviously see from the average Goodreads rating above of 4.07, that clearly I’m in the minority.
♥ The Lowdown: Every summer the Sinclair family- the three mothers, the cousins AKA the Liars; Cady, Mirren, and Johnny, along with the outsider, Gat, and the littles, gather at their grandfather’s island and it’s family and fun and sun. But after the grandma dies, it becomes less about family and more about greed and manipulation and drinking. Year fifteen, the Liars devise a plan to return it to the days of old, when it wasn’t about the Sinclair family and its wealth and how the sisters would destruct because of their selfishness over their inability to gather the grandfather’s favor and secure the fortunes. Only, something went wrong. There was an accident. Now, Cady suffers from terrible migraines and can’t remember anything of that summer. But an event, something, occurred and no one will tell her anything. Not even her beloved Liars.
Grandad continued: “We Sinclairs are a grand, old family. That is something to be proud of. Our traditions and values form the bedrock on which future generations stand. This island is our home, as it was my father’s and my grandfather’s before him. And yet the three of you women, with these divorces, broken homes, this disrespect for tradition, this lack of a work ethic, you have done nothing but disappoint an old man who thought he raised you right.
~quote taken from the eARC of We Were Liars at 78%
And so the kingdom fell all around the king and his three princesses.
My name is Cadence Sinclair Eastman, and contrary to the expectations of the beautiful family in which I was raised, I am an arsonist.
A visionary, a heroine, a rebel.
The kind of person who changes history.
But if I am a criminal, am I, then an addict? Am I, then, a failure?
My mind is playing with twists of meaning as it always does. Here with the Liars, I can the truth at last. “We made it happen,” I say.
“Depends on what you think it is,” says Mirren.
~quote taken from the eARC of We Were Liars at 80%
♥ My Thoughts: Back a while ago, before this book grew into this mega-hyped, must-read novel, I read the summary and thought, Yeah, probably not my type of book. I’ll pass. But then, then, all these starred reviews started arriving boasting about the beautiful prose and thoughtful characters and the gut-wrenching outcome due to the Holy! Unexpected! Twist, Batman! And so, I reconsidered because we all know that I’m a sucker for pretty words, plot twists, and good characterizations. Also? Yeah, there’s a case of the pretty cover syndrome. If only I had trusted my instincts. I don’t know, perhaps this is simply a case of a book being so overly hyped in my head that the disappointment- which under normal circumstances would have only been marginal- seem to be all the more crushing because this book was supposed to blow my mind. And, yet, it honestly didn’t.
Simply stated, I don’t believe this is my type of book. I like the instant gratification of having most of my answers at the ready, and they weren’t in this case, which is pretty understandable considering how the author chose to end it. However, I think it’s because of the way the story was structured and told that had me struggling to make it to the big “wow” moment. Tucked between the thick blanketing of Cady’s stream of consciousness and vague, lyrical prose, mystery upon added layer of mystery cloaked the truths of this book until the very end. It’s true, you can’t trust Cady to be a reliable narrator and you shouldn’t believe anything about the book because it ‘s probably all some of form of elaborate deception, which I found more irritating than enigmatic.
So, I made it to the halfway point, still waiting to be impressed, but I could tell that it wasn’t going to happen for me. However, I asked a friend to spoil the end for me, and once she did, that was the only reason for me to finish because my interest had been piqued once more. I had to know how the author would pull it off. So, I would definitely like to note here that “the twist” really is quite superb, if only the novel had held my attention in some other way until everything was revealed. Alas, it felt like I was wading through mud because of its denseness. It also probably didn’t help that I loathed the family, who are very much the elitist, self-important assholes that Gat believed them to be.
♥ Rec it? Man, I want to say no so badly, but, undoubtedly, that’d be unfair to author and the many other people who already loved it before me. So I’ll just recommend it on a case by case basis. Read other reviews, see if it appeals to you then, but I would absolutely caution you to go in with lower expectations than I did to spare yourself some disappointment.
Or, you know, my entire review could be a lie. /snark (