Monday, July 6, 2015

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

A Dark Psychological Drama

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.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Rating: 4 Stars

I recently picked up We Were Liars as an audiobook from my local library and I am very glad I did. This book had a lot of hype surrounding it when it was released and I must say it didn’t disappoint. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a very unique read with a great protagonist that will have you guessing until the very end.

The protagonist, Cadence Sinclair Eastman, belongs to a very wealthy, dysfunctional family. I found it very hard to relate any of the characters; there is a lot of fighting between Cady’s mother and her aunts over inheritance, a grandfather that seems somewhat racist and controlling, and the “liars” who although appear to be pretty close, end up avoiding Cady in her moment of need. But even though I couldn’t relate to the characters, Lockhart managed to get me very invested in them and I couldn’t wait to find out where their story would take me.

We first meet the “liars” in summer 15: Cadence, Mirren, Johnny, and Gat are a group of teenagers trying to break away from all the family drama. Although he is not the main character or the narrator of this story, my favorite character was Gat. He is of Indian heritage and is the “adopted” cousin of the group. He seemed to be the one character that spoke his mind and challenged the family’s actions as well as their prejudices against him and his remaining family. During summer 15 we start to get a glimpse into all of the “liars” lives, when all of a sudden something tragic happens to Cady; she washes up on shore with hypothermia and brain damage. The Sinclairs find that the best way to deal with this is to just ignore the problems.

During the following school year we realize just how bad Cady’s condition is. She appears to be healthy, as the doctors can’t find anything medically wrong with her, but she can’t eat, she can’t really sleep, she has major headaches, and worse she can’t remember what happened during summer 15 that has caused her amnesia. During summer 16, Cady’s mother decides that she shouldn’t return to the island, but instead go on a European trip with her father. During this trip Cady desperately tries to reach out to the liars, not only to try and understand what happened to her, but to see how their summer is going. However, all of her e-mails are left unanswered.

Fast forward to summer 17, and Cady returns to her family’s island, where everything seems to be different. Nobody wants to tell her what happened during summer 15 when her life seems to have been turned upside down. The doctors advised her mother that it is best for Cady to remember in her own time, so the Liars, her aunts, her other cousins, and her grandfather, all avoid her questions. Cady becomes a somewhat unreliable narrator as she is only able to provide snippets of information. This approach was genius; it allowed the reader to join Cady on a journey unlike any other.

I am somewhat of a psychology fanatic, but I must say that besides knowing that Cady must have experienced a traumatic event that made her brain shut down, I had no additional theories or guesses as to what that could be. I was lost through most of the book, as Cady was our narrator, but everything was revealed by the end.  I cannot tell you what it is because that would ruin the entire journey.

This was a very short read, under 300 pages, but it was a very beautifully written story filled with joy, sadness, love, deceit, and so much more. It appears that the feelings associated with this book are either “loved it” or “hated it” and nothing in the middle. I fall into the first category and I urge you to give it a try. With it being such a short read, there is not much to lose, but there is so much to gain.  What the Liars did and what truly happened during summer 15 caught me completely off-guard and I loved it. An absolutely brilliant, dark, and tragic drama that will leave you flabbergasted!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you finally got to read it. I myself enjoyed the book my only complaint was that it was a bit overhyped when I read it. Good but I went in expecting as huge as Harry Potter which while good was not of that magnitude on my scale. aside from that I agree it was best to go into the book and just read and follow along with Cady. II had different theories through the short read but I liked learning as she did.