Saturday, September 6, 2014

Book Review: "We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart

"We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart
First published in 2014
240 pages
My rating: 2 out of 5

(image source)

"We Were Liars" was yet another in a line of pretty popular YA books that just didn't do it for me. It was fine, it was alright, but I just cannot see what all the fuss is about.

The few reviews I've read referenced the mind-blowing twist at the end... but I found the twist to be neither huge nor unexpected. I was hoping the big reveal would give some meaning to an otherwise frail plot, but no such luck. In the end, I wasn't quite sure what the point of the book was.

A quick sum-up: Every summer teenager Cadence joins the rest of her blue-blooded family on a private island near Martha's Vineyard. She, two cousins and a friend make up "the liars" (it's never really explained how they earned that nickname) and they spend their days together. But something horrible happens during the summer they're 15; as a coping mechanism, Cadence has developed amnesia and can hardly remember anything about "summer 15" -- and no one will fill her in. Flash forward to summer 17 -- Cadence is back on the island and determined to find answers, and they're even more horrific than she was expecting. (But they were more tame than I was expecting.)

I didn't really like Cadence, with all her whining and naivete. I didn't really like the snobbish, over-dramatic and petty nature of the old-money Sinclair family. I didn't really like the annoying made-up names like Mirren and Taft. I didn't even like Gat, the only down-to-earth character. And I didn't really like the writing when it tried too much to be like Tahereh Mafi, but not as successfully.
it went
All choppy and
Trying too hard to be

On a positive note, though I was mildly disappointed by the ending, Lockhart kept me turning pages to get there. And overall, the writing was decent for a young adult book. But I didn't like it enough to recommend it; you can find far better reading material in the sea of novels out there. For a far more enthralling twist, try "Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn, or even the somewhat similar to "We Were Liars" novel "Bittersweet" by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. It's got all the rich snobs, private island summers and dark secrets you could want.


  1. I wasn't sure if I'd like this but tried it mainly to see what all the buzz was about- and I kinda liked the cover for some reason, seemed summery. I think I liked it more than you did, but I agree with you the writing style did sometimes irritate me, like she was trying a little too hard. And there were very few likeable characters, I have to agree.

    Interesting that you mention Bittersweet, I remember it looking somewhat similar and I've seen a few good things about that one. May give it a try.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Greg! I liked the cover too -- and it was indeed a good summery read, just like the cover implies.

      "Bittersweet" was a better read, but I didn't love that main character either. I think I wrote quite a long rant about her in my review! If you decided to check it out, I hope you like it. I was definitely a page-turner!

  2. I kind of liked this one, but I didn't love it, and I definitely understand criticism for the writing style, which like Greg, I found sometimes irritating.


    I guessed that they might be dead, but the fact that they were (at least I think this was the point?) ghosts really dampened the end impact for me. I really wanted it to be something much better than that, something that I couldn't have thought of.

    1. I agree -- I was hoping to be much more shocked and blown away by whatever big twist was coming. Interesting that you thought they were ghosts -- I actually assumed they were figments of her imagination. I always love hearing other readers' perspectives!


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