We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | Book Review

Sunday, 3 November 2019

If you read my favorite fiction books of 2018 blog (which you can read here) you may already know that this was a title I never would have picked up if it wasn’t for a few key things happening. First, Anne recommended it to me and had been recommending it for a while. Second, the year was coming to the end and I had one more prompt left for the Popsugar Reading Challenge and it just happened to fit. It was also a short(ish) book, so I could get back to something I really wanted to read. Little did I know this book that I was hoping to rush through, was going to become one of my favorites of the year. Here’s my review.
Let us begin, as we always do, with the premise. This one I had to come up with myself because the back of the book doesn’t really say anything, which I found only a bit annoying. So here we go: Cadence is part of the super wealthy Sinclair family. A family that owns it’s own island. An island that they go to every summer. The money doesn’t mean much to Cadence. In fact, she comes to hate the gratuitous and lavish spending. The only thing she loves about the island are her cousins and friends that she only sees during their ritualistic summer trips. But one year something happens on the island and all Cadence knows is that she’s somehow in the middle of it all. Why can’t she remember? Why won’t anyone, not ever her best friends, tell her what’s going on? And what does it have to do with the Sinclair fortune and the eventual inheritance?
Let’s be honest. There are many people out there would have trouble sympathizing with anyone in the top 1%. But what E. Lockhart is able to do is show that everyone has their problems and that being one of the haves, instead of the have nots, doesn’t make you an unsympathetic person. Cadence is your typical idealistic teenager who wants to fix the world but, just so happens, to be a member of a family that she sees as part of the problem. In fact, all of her little group of friends have a similar view.
What I really liked about the book was juxtaposition of Cadence and her group of friends versus the adults on the island. It seems that all the adults care about is the money and making their kid the apple of the grandfather’s eye so he’d favor them in the inheritance. And that’s really the subplot of We Were Liars, the foreshadowing of the changing of the guard. The various ways that E. Lockhart shows that old money is on it’s way out, but for now still holds tremendous power.
But this really is a mystery and I haven’t really covered that yet. So how was it? It was pretty good. I have to say that at one point I partially guessed the ending but so many hints were dropped at so many possible endings that I eventually changed my guess and was wrong in the end. When the big reveal happened it was an “oh sh*t” moment for me that I believe I actually voiced aloud. Sometimes mystery books pull an ending out of nowhere that was impossible to guess in what I consider a total dick move. I’m happy to say that We Were Liars avoided that and did manage to drop subtle hints to the ending but threw enough red herrings into the mix that it was understandable that I both guessed the ending and then changed my mind.
The only downside to this book is that if you want a full-on mystery, that part doesn’t start right away. We spend half of the book getting to know the characters, their family, the island, and the family history. While that’s all enjoyable and added to my liking of the book, I forgot I was reading a mystery. Then, halfway through the book, something happens and on yeah, this is a mystery, isn’t it?
I’ve said before that I think slice-of-life should be it’s own genre, just like it is for anime and manga, because I think there’s something special about books that could fit into that category. Something that sets them apart from General Fiction or Literary Fiction. Books like LessThe Moment of Everything, and now We Were Liars can fit into this category.
So whether you’re a fan of mysteries or slice of life books, this is one you should check out. It has relateable and likable characters and a story that kept me guessing until the very end.
We Were Liars gets a 9 out of 11
Quick rant about books
Here’s what We Were Liars has on the back in lieu of a synopsis.
“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken. A tale of love and romance. A tale of tragedy. Which are lies? Which is truth? You decide.”
What in the holy hell is that supposed to tell us about the book? This book cost ten bucks unless you buy it second hand or from Amazon, and even then it’s still about seven to eight dollars. Would you really spend that much on a book without knowing anything about it?
YouTuber Books & Lala talked about a book that mentioned the death of a character’s spouse but the death didn’t happen until the second half of the book! So her book had the opposite problem and told too much. 
I don’t get why some books do that. Either say nothing about what the book is about OR spoil something significant. 
Okay, that’s it. Rant over. 

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