Review: We Were Liars by Emily Lockhart

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

I finished reading We Were Liars an hour ago. Usually I wait a while to gather my thoughts before writing my reviews, but when a book renders you this speechless I feel compelled to record my initial reactions. I've noticed that a lot of reviews for this are quite short, because spoilers, and I really don't want to give anything away. All I will say is that I cried at the end, and I never cry at books, ever! So it's clear that this one really packs an emotional punch. More than a punch - it floored me.

We Were Liars is narrated by Cadence Sinclair. Every summer she and all of her family gather at Beechwood Island, the family seat governed by her grandfather. There she spends her days with the Liars - her cousins Johnny who is 'bounce, intelligence and snark' and Mirren who is 'sugar, curiosity and rain'. Then there's Gat, son of Johnny's mum's boyfriend. He is 'comtemplation and enthusiasm.. ambition and strong coffee', and Cady is smitten. When Cady is fifteen years old she has a mysterious accident on the island, which leaves her prone to horrendous migraines and dependent on pain medication. She has no recollection of what happened. When Cady is seventeen she returns to the island and slowly begins to piece together what happened to her that summer two years ago.

There's a quote on the back of my edition with a review from Publishers Weekly: 'Lockhart has created a mystery with an ending most readers won't see coming... it will prompt some to return immediately to page one to figure out how they missed it'. So true. As soon as the twist came I was thinking back to all the plot points, and how it's actually quite obvious, and yet not obvious at all. Lockhart's writing style for this novel is very unusual and very poetic as you can see from the character descriptions above. I personally think it works really well. I know some other reviewers found it irritating, but it is truly beautiful in places, and makes the whole novel very quotable.

5/5 stars - We Were Liars may well be listed as a Young Adult book, but it is one that I would very much recommend to adult readers too. Beautifully written and very cleverly plotted, We Were Liars is a book that you won't forget in a hurry. I just can't believe that it's taken me this long to read it!


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