We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | Book Review

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An affluent family. A private island. Secrets abound.

And if that doesn’t lure your attention, then read the blurb on the back: “We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense that will leave you reeling. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just lie.”

This book has been on my library’s hold list for several months. When my hold was ready, I eagerly downloaded it and started reading immediately – all other books tossed aside.

Published in 2014, We Were Liars centers around three Sinclair cousins and their friend (respectively): Cadence, John, Mirren and Gat. They’ve dubbed themselves The Liars and have spent every summer together on the Sinclair’s private island in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

This is a coming of age story told from the point-of-view of Cadence, who is unreliable at best. Cadence, aka Cady, has no memory of her 15th summer, the summer where her family found her in seriously injured in the water. Two years later, she wants to return to the island with her family for the summer. She suffers from migraines and has amnesia of anything that happened that summer.

Cadence describes her family as perfectly wealthy, but they are unable to support themselves without their inheritances. Her grandfather, Harris Sinclair, has made many threats to cut off the inheritance of his children. In turn, his children use their children to “butter up” Harris into keeping them in his favor.

As Cadence is working through trying to regain her memories, she is constantly around feuding family. Harris’ wife, Tipper, passed away and Harris is struggling with dementia. The Aunties are constantly bickering about who gets what from Harris’ estate. But the Liars want nothing to do with possessions and consider their bond and love for one another more important. Cadence gives many of her possessions away for donations throughout the story.

The twist is very unexpected and I did not predict it at all. The story unfolds in a similar way as The Girl on the Train (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22557272-the-girl-on-the-train) as Cadence (and the reader) find out bits and pieces of her memories.

The story contains many parallels between select fairy tales that Cadence recites within the story. Cadence compares the family to a King and his princesses and relays the moral message.

We Were Liars falls into the Young Adult genre, but I enjoyed the story as a mystery/thriller genre as an adult. The printed version contains maps of the island and a genealogy of the family.

Family of Liars is the prequel to this novel. I listened to the audiobook (read by Kimberly Farr) first. We learn more about the parents of the three Liars during the summer of 1985. The story follows Johnny’s mother, Caroline, who is visited by her 10 year old sister’s ghost on the island. Family secrets unfold.

From Goodreads: E. Lockhart is the author of Again Again, Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars and Family of Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and several other books. Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero is a graphic novel.

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