“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.” ~ Goodreads
Well I guess I have to lie in this post, right?
No spoilers I promise, but I can say that I could not put this book down. Finally my number came up at the library and I was eager to see what all the buzz was about.
In We Were Liars (May 13, 2014), Cadence (Cady) is definitely different than she was from that summer when she was fifteen spent on the private family island off the coast of Massachusetts. She just can’t figure out what happened to her, why she has terrible migraines, why she can’t remember and why no one will explain what happened. Knowing that as a reader kept the tension high and the pages turning but many authors can promise a twist is coming but not deliver. Lockhart delivered.
It might have been the way she wrote the novel with stunted prose and clipped text.
It might have been the build up of figuring out what happened (I had many theories but not exactly how it played out).
Maybe the edginess of Cady’s mother and aunts vying for their father’s inheritance added to the tension.
It might have been the brilliantly added fairy tales Cady made up that paralleled her dysfunctional family while giving just a hint of something to come.
The short chapters didn’t feel choppy but instead made the story flow.
The angst of a forbidden teen romance between an all-American rich girl and Indian boy also added to the “what’s going to happen to them” premise. Will she choose Gat over her racist grandfather and his money?
Flashbacks, foreshadowing, pain, suffering, all the elements of a mystery were present.
Whatever it was that sunk it’s teeth into me as a reader I’m not sure. It all just worked.
It’s the type of book that once the secret is revealed, a reread is expected to see what was missed. A clue, a play on words, the certain behavior of a character. Something. (This is how most of the text was written in the story. No flowing, literary paragraphs. Just simple, succinct writing)
As for the genre of young adult, Lockhart knows her audience. She captured the teen voice beautifully and the romance between Cady and Gat was written with such strength capturing all that turmoil, innocence and anticipation of a first love. Once again it goes to show that Ruth Graham was way off with her article in Slade (I will not link it anymore) about how adults should be embarrassed to read YA, “But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.”
Not missing anything here Ms. Graham, it was great literature. YA or not. Complex and unforgettable.