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We Were Liars Paperback – 15 May 2014
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E. Lockhart is one of our most important novelists, and she has given us her best book yet. Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, WE WERE LIARS is utterly unforgettable. Source: John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
So, @elockhart's new book WE WERE LIARS showed up the other day, and I ended up NOT GOING TO BED because WAS READING and OH MY GOD. Source: Maureen Johnson
A haunting tale about how families live within their own mythologies. Sad, wonderful, and real. Source: Scott Westerfeld, author of UGLIES and LEVIATHAN
A beautifully written page-turner ... When you've finished reading you'll be desperate to pass WE WERE LIARS on Source: Cosmopolitan
Lockhart has created a mystery with an ending most readers won't see coming, one so horrific it will prompt some to return immediately to page one to figure out how they missed it. Source: Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review
This is a cunning, clever and absolutely gripping novel, full of surprises, which sent me straight back to its first page as soon as I reached the last. Source: The Guardian
This is an ambitious novel with an engaging voice, a clever plot and some terrific writing. Source: The New York Times
Stylish, compelling and heartbreaking (...) I'm in awe of E. Lockhart's control and characterisation here Author: Liz Flanagan Source: theguardian.com
We Were Liars is a story about growing up. Finding yourself and loosing yourself. It's a dark story about the destructive power held by secrets, the damaging effects of a family trauma and the tragedy that can be caused by love Author: Lauren Molyneaux Source: Live Ribble Valley, GOOD READ
We Were Liars is a literary musing on young love, memory, coming-of-age, and tragedy with a deliciously twisty ending Source: Huffingtonpost.com
1. Read this book. 2. On reaching the final page, you may experience an urgent need to read it all over again. 3. Check your friends have read it. 4. NOW YOU ARE FREE TO TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT ENDLESSLYSee all Product description
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What works : Great, unusual wrtiing techniques and a genuine twist that sheds light on what you’ve already read.
What doesn’t : As narrator, Cadence is passive to a frustrating extent. The build-up to the big reveal has a few too many dull periods, forcing the narrator’s penchant for the dramatic to compensate.
Cadence Sinclair (Cady) comes from a rich, well-to-do family. So well-to-do, in fact, that they have the luxury of vacationing on their own priavte island every summer. It is this island, Beechwood, that is the heart of Cady’s narrative; the summers she spent there with her childhood companions. The inseperable foursome; Cady, Johnny, Mirren and Gat – affectionately termed ‘the Liars’ – treasure their Beechwood idyll, but when Cady has a mysterious accident during ‘summer fifteen’, the four become divided as Cady searches for the truth.
Lockhart’s clever techniques (as Cady herself declares, ‘I like a twist of meaning’) give vivid representation to ‘the Liars’ as Cady simultaneously struggles with discovering the reality of what has happened to her, the conflicts within her family and the conflicts within herself. ‘The Liars’ – freespirited dreamers – are a contrast with the rest of the Sinclair family -ignorant and repressed. Through these relationships, Lockhart explores social commentary on class, family hierarchy and expectations, while (very) slowly building suspense, and the narrative is as much about the trials of the Sinclairs as it is about Cady’s quest.
Lockhart’s aim to enhance the narrative by making Cady herself a writer, describing her feelings in overly dramatic imagery, often feels like filler while the story takes significant time to develop. However, Cady`s creative reimaginings of fairytales reflect the narrative while dealing with her inner turmoil – the matters she (frustratingly) won’t confront in reality. Cady passivity, given the gravity of the situation, is neither believable, nor likeable.
Though Cady’s shortcomings make her hard to relate to and detract from the reality of the narrative, Lockhart’s various writing styles are strong and endearing, making the novel an overall enjoyable read. The big reveal evoked an audible response while reading – a sure sign of a shocking twist – and retrospectively strengthens the narrative as a whole. Lockart has impressively painted an evocative picture of a family portrait being ripped to pieces alongside a tale of suspense.
Although the story was at first intriguing, I found that I quickly became bored of the storyline and uninterested in what was happening due to the repetitiveness of the plot. The actual storyline in We Were Liars didn’t make a lot of sense and I found that overall it was missing the progression of a grounded and coherent plot line. While Lockhart’s writing was emotive and colourful, the story was overall underwhelming, monotonous and dull. While I did enjoy the little ‘fairytales’ about the King and Princesses that Lockhart threw in randomly throughout the book, and found that the symmetry between them and the actual story made for an interesting deduction for the audience to ‘read between the lines,’ which was where my enthusiasm for this book ended.
On a more positive note, the twist at the end of this novel was shocking, heart-breaking and absolutely unpredictable. I had no idea that Lockhart would choose to do what she did, and thought that this choice did allow for some sense of normality and understanding in the book. There were a lot of intricate character relationships portrayed, involving love, trust (or a lack of it) and a strong and resilient family bond, that would not be broken no matter how much they seemed to be falling apart. Cadence’s ‘madness’ was a point of interest in the book; Lockhart managed to subtly use moments such as the endless pills she was taking and her desire to own nothing material to successfully portray this. However I think if she wanted to make this emotive or profound she would need to emphasise the ‘madness’ even more.
One character who I found intriguing was Gat. He was the obvious choice for Cadence, but I never felt satisfied with the relationship between Cadence and Gat. I enjoyed their love for each other, and thought that Cadence’s lust for someone she could not have would be very relatable for a lot of readers. However I found that Gat’s hostility towards her was frustrating and would have preferred if Lockhart kept to a more ‘Romeo and Juliet’ storyline, keeping their forbidden love alive. In the end I think if I were to describe the book in one word it would be messy.