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We Were Liars Hardcover – May 13, 2014
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An Amazon Best Young Adult Book of the Month, May 2014: E. Lockhart’s novel, We Were Liars, is clever, alluring, and wildly addictive. Each summer the wealthy, seemingly perfect, members of the Sinclair family gather on their private island. We Were Liars is the story of those annual reunions; in particular what happened during a summer that protagonist Cadence is unable to remember. Prejudice, greed, and shifting patriarchal favoritism among the three adult sisters contrasts with the camaraderie and worldview of the teenage cousins and their dear friend Gat. Lazy days of sticky lemonades on the roof and marathon Scrabble games give way to twisty suspense, true love, and good intentions gone horribly wrong. We Were Liars is a story that begs to be read in one sitting. --Seira Wilson
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Cadence Sinclair Easton comes from an old-money family, headed by a patriarch who owns a private island off of Cape Cod. Each summer, the extended family gathers at the various houses on the island, and Cadence, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and friend Gat (the four "Liars"), have been inseparable since age eight. During their fifteenth summer however, Cadence suffers a mysterious accident. She spends the next two years—and the course of the book—in a haze of amnesia, debilitating migraines, and painkillers, trying to piece together just what happened. Lockhart writes in a somewhat sparse style filled with metaphor and jumps from past to present and back again—rather fitting for a main character struggling with a sudden and unexplainable life change. The story, while lightly touching on issues of class and race, more fully focuses on dysfunctional family drama, a heart-wrenching romance between Cadence and Gat, and, ultimately, the suspense of what happened during that fateful summer. The ending is a stunner that will haunt readers for a long time to come.—Jenny Berggren, formerly at New York Public Library
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This book fit my mood *perfectly*. It was dramatic and a little twisted, but also reminded me of the beach.
The story follows the wealthy Sinclair family who owns a private island near Martha's Vineyard where they spend summer every year. The self-named Liars are three cousins and one outsider, all around the same age, who become best friends and allies. There's romance, interesting social commentary, and CRAZY family dynamics.
I loved the lyrical, almost poetic, style of writing. It's clear from the beginning that the narrator Cadence isn't to be trusted, and it was so entertaining reading her parsed memories and piecing the full story together.
My only complaint is that I called The Big Twist early on. I wish there had been a greater air of mystery surrounding it, or that it could've been even more subtle.
But overall, this was an engrossing and enjoyable read. I recommend for fans of contemporary YA who are looking for something a little bit different to try, or for those who thoroughly enjoyed Franny Billingsley's Chime.
This was one crazy roller coaster ride of a book. And I mean that in a good way.
Cadence Sinclair Easton is the oldest grandchild of a wealthy family that owns an island off Martha's Vineyard. Each summer she and her mother, along with her two aunts and their families, join Cadence's grandparents on the island. But while the Sinclair family endeavors to project the image that life is perfect and everyone is happy, that is far from the case—Cadence's grandfather, the patriarch of the family, manipulates her mother and her two aunts into a King Lear-esque war over who should own which house on the island, and who should inherit much of the Sinclair family fortune.
Although family tension causes some strife, Cadence is happily ensconced in her own world on the island with her two cousins, Johnny and Mirren, and Johnny's best friend, Gat, who is the son of Johnny's mother's boyfriend. Gat is Indian, and although he wouldn't trade his summers on the island for anything, he strongly feels that the elder Sinclairs don't believe he is worthy of being a part of the family. But that doesn't stop Cadence from falling madly in love with Gat, the summer both are 15 years old.
One day Cadence wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a traumatic brain injury. No one really knows what happened to her, what caused her to be found shivering on the beach. Plagued by debilitating migraines, unable to remember much of what happened that summer, Cadence is tremendously depressed and longs for the companionship of Gat and her cousins, who appear to have abandoned her in the wake of the incident. It is not until she returns to the island two summers later than she can begin to confront them and try to understand what really happened that night—and what has caused everyone to refuse to talk to her about it.
The less said about the plot of We Were Liars, the better. This is a book with a lot of twists and turns you'll want to savor. It reads a bit like a movie or a cross between Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and perhaps One Tree Hill. While the characters are perhaps a little familiar, as are the emotions of young love, betrayal, and family turmoil, E. Lockhart imbues the story with a freshness, an emotion, that will keep you hooked.
I wanted to read the entire book in one sitting, and read it in a little more than a day. Don't read a lot of reviews before reading We Were Liars—give yourself the chance to experience it not knowing much about it. It's definitely a book that will keep you thinking.
The engaging story revolves around a wealthy family that reunites each summer on their private island. Readers follow Cady Sinclair’s frustrations in trying to put together the pieces of her life after a personal tragedy she doesn’t remember. Throughout the book, Lockhart weaves in short, dark fairy-tales that parallel the tragic storyline. The twists and turns along with the shocking conclusion make this perfect for a teen who enjoys escaping into the world of privilege, vacation homes, and summer romance. While many young adults will enjoy the distinct writing style, others may find it disjointed.
This thin novel contains short chapters and a quick-moving plot that will be popular with a wide range of readers. Early buzz about a movie adaptation will increase its popularity even more. Put this on your “read on the beach” summer book list.
An interesting website accompanies the book. It contains background information about the fictional family, story, and author. It also contains opportunities to extend the experience. Go to http://wewereliarsbook.tumblr.com/.
Cadence and three other teens made up The Liars. They were Mirren, Johnny, and Gat. Gat was not one of the cousins, but the nephew of Carrie's boyfriend Ed. His Indian heritage would be cause for concern for Harris. But for Cady, he is her love. She cannot imagine her life without him.
The story unfolds in the seventeenth summer on the island, as Cady tries to remember what happened during that fifteenth summer, when she was injured, and for which she still pays with migraines and other evidence of malaise.
Nobody will tell her what happened, but in the voices of the others (Mirren, Johnny, and Gat), she begins to piece it all together.
We Were Liars was a quick read with short chapters that built intensely toward the finale and a stunning reveal, changing everything we thought we knew about the characters. 5.0 stars.