We Were Liars
Author: e. lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Number of Pages: 240
May 13, 2014
Synopsis 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.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
I absolutely adore e. lockhart. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is one of my all-time favorite books, and I love the Rudy Oliver series, as well. So when I was given the chance to read an ARC of We Were Liars, I leaped at the chance. This really is one of those books that is both hard to review and one that people should be weary of reading early reviews. As such, this should be pretty brief (but you never know with me. Sometimes when I start typing...).
We Were Liars follows Cadence (Cady) Sinclair, an East Coast princess that is as blue-blooded as they come. Every summer, Cady spends the summer on her grandfather's private island alongside her mother, her two aunts, and her various cousins. Cady is the eldest Sinclair grandchild and thus heir to the family fortune. The "Liars" of the title are Cady; her cousin, Mirren; Mirren's brother, Johnny; and Johnny's friend, Gat. The four are all the same age, and so summers are called by their age: Summer eight, summer fifteen, etc. The bulk of the story takes place during summer seventeen, but the story--or the mystery--is about what happened during summer fifteen.
It is during summer fifteen that two major things happen (all of this is early in the story) 1. Cady finds herself falling in love with Gat, the boy of Indian descent that spends the summers with Johnny Sinclair, and 2. Cady is involved in an accident that has left her with a traumatic brain injury and debilitating migraines. I'll be honest, I figured out the big reveal pretty early on, but I was intrigued by the how of it all and the book easily held my attention even though I guessed what was going on from almost the beginning.
We Were Liars is very different from e. lockhart's earlier books. While the Ruby Oliver series deals with some serious issues and occasionally dips into a melancholy tone, this book was darker than her usual style. I loved the look at an old blue-blood family. I've always loved stories that focus on old money East Coast families. I don't know why, but I LOVE hearing about ivy-covered schools and powerful families. The Sinclairs are the epitome of this. Harris Sinclair, is the patriarch has three daughters: Penny, Carrie, and Bess, and is lost now that he is a widower.
The Sinclair daughters were sunburnt and blessed. Tall, merry, and rich, those girls were like
princesses in a fairy tale. They were known throughout Boston, Harvard Yard, and
Martha's Vineyard for their cashmere cardigans and grand parties. They were made
for legends. Made for princes and Ivy League schools, ivory statues and majestic houses.
Throughout the novel there are echoes of King Lear--intentional, I'm sure. King Lear is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays and I loved the different allusions. I loved the writing in general. It's flower-y, but not overly so. In many ways it reads like the fairy tale. The rhythm of it is almost hypnotic. It is very quickly-paced which I loved. I was going through a bit of a slump when I picked this up, and a fast-paced, slim mystery was exactly what the book doctor ordered.
I'm not going to say any more about this book. If you are a fan of e. lockhart, I would highly recommend, but be prepared for something quite different than her usual offerings. If you like mysteries, I would highly recommend. If you like old money, I would highly recommend. If you like words, I would highly recommend. So, yeah. Read it.
*I received an advanced reader's copy of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review. All quotes were taken from the ARC and are subject to change in the final edition.*