We Were Liars
E. Lockhart, 2014
Cadence Sinclair Eastman is the oldest grandchild in the Sinclair family – a wealthy, upper-class family that summers on a private island and fights over the inheritance. Then, the summer when Cadence is fifteen, something bad happens. Something that leaves Cadence with crippling migraines and no memories of the event. She knows that her family is keeping secrets from her, but is unable to figure out what is going on. So now, at seventeen, Cadence returns to the island to see if she can uncover the secrets of summer fifteen.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I did not see this book coming. I had put off reading it for a year, despite (or maybe because of) all of the hype. I had actually received an advanced copy from the publisher a year ago, but never got around to reading it before the download expired. But now, finally, after seeing it on so many “Best of 2014″ lists, I picked it up again. And I was surprised, in a good way, in every way possible.
The characters, at times, could be lacking in dimension, but I believe that this was intentional. They’re portrayed as a snobby rich family, better than those around them, and this is who they are. They’re not always likable. But that’s okay. Even “The Liars” – Cadence, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat – our main characters, aren’t always likable. But I did find them interesting.
I liked the mystery aspect. I liked that our narrator, Cadence, had no idea what was going on. As she tries to figure out what happened that summer, we try to figure it out with her. I liked the style of prose that Lockhart used. I liked the fact that the characters were unlikable and often unreliable. These are all aspects that I know some people had problems with, but that I found enjoyable.
Most importantly, I loved the ending. [No spoilers, I promise] I didn’t see it coming. I’m not one of those people who sits there and analyzes every statement and possible clue to try and figure out a mystery, but I do consider myself to be somewhat clever. But I love it when an ending surprises me, especially if I’m able to look back on the rest of the book and find that the conclusion makes sense based on what I’ve previous read. This book did this perfectly. A very well-executed story.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery and doesn’t mind reading about characters that aren’t entirely likable. It’s geared slightly toward young adults, but I think adults can still find this book enjoyable. I know I did.