We Were Liars

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

The Liars are a group of four friends who spend their summers together on the private island owned by the grandfather of three of the four friends. The main character is Cadence. The other three Liars are her two cousins, Mirren and Johnny, and the nephew of one of Cadence's aunt's boyfriend, Gat. After an accident that left Cadence without her memory, Cadence missed the last summer at the island and will only get to stay there for part of this summer. With everyone acting strange around her, Cadence knows there was something more to that accident, but no one will tell her exactly what happened. Back on the island with her beloved Liars, Cadence slowly begins to remember that summer two years ago.


I guessed the big twist of the book fairly early on (like within the first 40 pages), although there was a minor moment that made me doubt myself for a few pages before things were clarified. Knowing the twist didn't take much away from the story though. While the 'what' of the mystery may have been easy, the 'why' and 'how' still made for an interesting story. We Were Liars focuses on a very rich family with some major problems and shows us how the problems of the adults affect their children. The grandfather is incredibly rich, and he pits his three daughters against one another by using his wealth to have them compete for his affection. It reminded me of King Lear, as did many of the fairy tales told throughout the story that reflected the family situation.


The writing of the book is a style I don't typically like where sentences get broken up over multiple lines and sentence fragments are everywhere. But I actually liked it here. There is an off quality about it that conveyed Cadence's mental state really well. You know there's something wrong with Cadence, and the writing just reinforces that feeling.


The book does jump between past and present quite a bit. Most of the book switches between the summer of the accident and present day, although there are other time periods seen. In the beginning, I had a few moments where I had to make sure what time period I was reading, but after a while, I got used to the time jumps and could keep track of when something was happening.


I'm not particularly sure why the group is known as the Liars. Everyone calls them that, but we never see any reason for the name. They aren't particularly prone to lying or anything. I had hoped the title would be explained at some point, but no luck there. The big reveal did make me question their intelligence big time though, but I suppose the 'Idiots' wouldn't have been a name they liked. Although, seriously, I cannot believe they thought it would be a smart idea to

burn down a house by each one picking a floor to douse with gasoline and starting the fire while they were all still in the building on their chosen floors.

(show spoiler)


Overall, We Were Liars was enjoyable. The focus on the family drama and the effects that had on their children made for a compelling read.