We Were Liars by E. Lockhart Book Review
Publication Date: May 13th 2014 by Delacorte Press
Rating: – Poor
Book Summary: 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.
Book Review Overview:
- Found the characters to be really unlikeable
- Surprise ending the lives up to the hype
- As much as I wanted to like this book, I just couldn’t
When I started reading WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart, I literally had to stop myself from constantly rolling my eyes. The novel is full of rich people problems. The character’s mother and aunts are fighting over the millions in properties that her grandfather owns. They bicker over who is going to inherit once he dies. None of their mothers work real jobs and they rely on the patriarch of the family to support them. Of course, Cadence and her cousins (they dub themselves as the Liars) think that the constant fighting is ridiculous and they just shake their heads while they lounge at the beach of their private island.
But Something happens on the summer of their Fifteenth Year. Something big. Cadence has a head injury and the memory of what happens that summer gets all fuzzy. Two years later, Cadence is back at the island. Everyone tiptoes around her and refuses to talk about what happens.
I had a hard time getting into the story because I found the characters so unlikable. I had a hard time relating to their constant whining. Gat, the love interest, doesn’t come from the super wealthy family like the other characters. He talks about poverty and real world problems and how he wants to change the world, but all the other characters kind of just shrug him off for being high and mighty. Cadence and the other characters do admit that they are privileged and lucky, but that’s about it.
Cadence does grow as a character but only when she finds out the Truth. It’s really unfortunate that it took an accident for her to realize how deplorable she’s acting. But I guess that’s just real life. She’s a very flawed character, but she is unlikeable. Unfortunately I couldn’t empathize with her.
What kept me hooked throughout the novel was uncovering the Truth of what happened during that Fifteenth Year. I admit, that despite disliking the characters, I still read on just to see what the big deal was (and why there is so much hype over this book). The book does live up to its hype of being a jaw-dropper, and I can see why many readers love this book so much.
I have to admit that the craft of the novel was very well done. If not, the book would have been a lot more predictable and the big Truth would not have been effective. I have half a heart just to like the book more because of the novel’s climax. I started to justify the different characters’ actions and even start to look at them from a different perspective. But it shouldn’t have that effect on me… The ending doesn’t change the way they acted in the beginning of the story. In the end, they were still privileged rich kids who were quite reckless.
As a reader, I should not have a struggle as to whether or not I should feel bad about what happened. I should have felt just as the main character had. The lack of an emotional connection with the characters really impacts the ending, and this would have had potential to be a five-star book had I loved the characters. If the characters had been more likeable, the climax of the story would have been more powerful.
I did listen to this one on audiobook as opposed to reading this. While I can talk about the craft of the novel, it’s really hard for me to say about the actual writing. I’ve read a few reviews that note that the writing is super choppy. (Had I read this on print, I probably would find that super annoying. Not my style.) The audiobook is narrated very well, but the narrative is non-linear. Whenever Cadence goes through a flashback, it takes me a while to realize. Sometimes, it becomes difficult for me to differentiate past and present and the timeline gets a little muddled. There were definitely a few times where I rewinded to hear a scene again.
The crafting of WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart was superb. It had a jaw-dropping ending that I didn’t see coming. Unfortunately, the book didn’t have a strong impact on me because of the unlikeable characters. I wish that I was able to empathize more with Cadence and the Liars. As much as I wanted to love this book, I just couldn’t.
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