Just a quick note before the actual blog post: Dr. Welch, I don’t know if you’re finished grading the blog, but if you’re not, this blog post is not part of the posts I did for class. This one and any after are for my personal use. All the ones before this are for the class.
Okay, now for the real blog post.
We Were Liars is the story of Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the eldest granddaughter of a prominent, wealthy family that appears to have it all, including a private island where she and her cousins reunite every summer. The Liars—Cadence, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat—spend every summer together. Gat, the outsider Indian boy in an all white family, is the son of Cadence’s Aunt Carrie’s boyfriend. Summer Fifteen (the fifteenth summer they’ve spent on the island) is when everything changes. It’s when Cadence falls in love with Cat, and it’s the summer of Cadence’s traumatic accident. The book opens with the introduction of the accident and readers quickly learn that the accident has left Cady with memory loss and debilitating migraines. For Cady, Summer Seventeen is the summer to discover what really happened two years ago—how she got hurt, why no one talked to her ever, and if she and Gat can have a future.
It’s no secret that We Were Liars is about a secret. That cat’s been out of the bag for a while now, and I kinda wish it wasn’t. Since I knew there was some big twist at the end, I was looking for clues and expecting everything. Ultimately I didn’t correctly guess the whole twist, but it was a little disappointing. However, knowing there was a secret, some sort of payoff kept my reading until the end. I read the majority of the book in a single day while ignoring all of my schoolwork.
This is drastically different from E. Lockhart’s other books. I’m a huge fan of hers and love the comedy typically found in her books. This book is not humorous. Not that there weren’t some funny moments, but this is certainly a drama. Cadence is abusing her prescription pain killers, and Lockhart does an amazing job of portraying Cady’s fuzziness in all aspects of her life as they drugs affect her. I did enjoy the cousins’ interactions, their closeness, because that is often how cousins are in life, which is something I feel that gets overlooked in books. So many characters are only children, and not being an only child, I’m always excited to see siblings and other family members in books.
There was also an undertone of prejudice and acceptance anytime Gat was mentioned. As the only person of color in the entire book (the Sinclairs are stereotypical rich white folks with blonde hair and blue eyes) and despite coming to the island for almost as long as the others, he was always an outsider. Cady’s grandfather was never accepting of Gat and Cady’s burgeoning romance because Gat was Indian. And only the tallest, whitest, blondest, and richest boys will do for Cady.
But something was lacking from this book for me. I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I didn’t really like Cady either, but I needed to know the secret, so I kept reading. This book just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t love it.
Overall, I would give this a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I received a digital advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.