We Were Liars

Title: We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Release Date: May 2014

Along with this book came the instructions to lie — lie about the ending, be spartan with descriptions, reveal as little as possible. Yet E. Lockhart’s uniquely beautiful and undeniably stunning book both deserves and demands to be read, and somehow, I don’t think a review completely devoid of explanation is going to be very convincing. So I’ve decided to stick with lies of omission and hopefully that still counts.

We Were Liars pulls back the curtain on the world of the fabulously wealthy and utterly mysterious Sinclair family.  Split and divided into generations of children and grandchildren, every summer the Sinclairs are pulled together to their private island of Beechwood, home to years of memories and sentiment and an abundance of golden retrievers. Beechwood is also the birthplace of the Liars — four friends connected by bonds of both blood and love, united in their penchant for curiosity and mischief, defined by a steadfast faith in one another and the summers at Beechwood that shaped and determined their relationship.

Narrated by the oldest Sinclair grandchild, Cadence, the plot primarily revolves around the enigmatic and hazy summer fifteen,  the vast, unknowable pieces of memory that Cadence has lost from that year, and, of course, the Liars. There is little from summer fifteen that Cadence knows with certainty, and what she does remember is mostly due to the constant reminders and stories from her mother. Everything else is gone, kept hidden from Cadence until she remembers on her own. And she does — often slowly, sometimes blindingly — piece together the shattered fragments of summer fifteen.

From the start, it’s made clear that Cadence is an unreliable narrator — her statements drenched in hyperbole and colored by shades of shock and confusion. She stumbles blindly through unpredictable turns and agonizing, unanswered questions — and as she’s our guide, so do we. We Were Liars is not just unexpected and compelling at every turn, but brilliantly and beautifully written, propelled by the gorgeous and enticing mystery of Beechwood and the Sinclairs, and the undeniable pull of the Liars. It’s something different and something fantastic, full of rich and complex and varying characters that are each fascinating and powerful in turn.

We Were Liars is something new, something startling — a hauntingly memorable and wonderfully gorgeous read.

Review by Kayla

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