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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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island and involved (not overly) in all the relationships unfolding between family members. The narrator, though, has lost her memory due to an accident and we are taken along to try to understand just what happened to her. That is the question building to the end of the book. I will not spoil it for anyone. But I think I felt the same sense of OMG that the narrator felt as the truth unfolded. It is different from the complicated plots I usually read, but as such it was simple and gentle yet had the mystery carrying me through to the end to find out what happened to this girl. I think you will like the book.
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/.
But…no. When will I learn that the Next Big Thing isn’t usually my thing? When will I remember that I like John Green infinitely more as a YouTube personality than as a writer? (Note: I still find him very readable, but he’s not in my list of favorites.) Maybe I set myself up for failure with this one. The characters weren’t all that likable or interesting, the romance fell flat, and the “huge plot twist,” although a little surprising, wasn’t mind-blowing. I think this might be one of those YAs that lacks cross-generational appeal.
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.
I won't buy the new one