Tuesday 29 July 2014

Book Review - We Were Liars

We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockart
Genres: Mystery, Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 13th May 2014
Publishers: Delacorte Press
No. Pages: 240
Source: Purchased
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
We are the Liars. We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury. We are cracked and broken.
A story of love and romance.
A tale of tragedy.
Which are lies?
Which is truth?
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just lie.

Books like We Were Liars don't come around very often. Some books will touch the heart of contemporary lovers but won't sway those in love with Dystopians. Some will have people hanging over a mystery, while other's are looking for the gore to fuel their horror loving selves, but We Were Liars has the ability to spread across all demographics, seeping it's way through the community, capturing the hearts of contemporary and mystery lovers alike, and taking hold of people who enjoy a twisted version of reality. How does it do this, I cannot possibly say, but however it does it, it does it perfectly.

People have struggled reviewing We Were Liars, I've seen both a few sentence reviews and raving reviews about the readers feelings and they both get across the message that whatever it is that happens in the end is big, it's important and mustn't be told beforehand and I could not agree more. If I told you outright what the reveal is, you'd find it both saddening and clever, but it wouldn't affect you anywhere near as much as it had myself and so many others if you didn't experience the rest of the book previous. There is a required need to read through the first 85% knowing that there's something waiting at the end - there's something quite alluring and exciting about waiting for the moment other's have blubbed themselves into a soggy mess, but me personally, watching the percentage bar moving steadily towards that make or break point wasn't what kept me reading We Were Liars, the actual story, writing and characters did that all by themselves.

The story you've heard about We Were Liars is one of four privileged children holidaying on island owned by three of the childrens grandfather. They can and do have anything they could possibly want but constantly want what they can't have. That is the story you've been told, and you've been told to expect something along the lines of 'first world problems of the rich', but We Were Liars is about so much more than just privilege and ownership, otherwise believe me, I wouldn't have fallen as much as I did; it covers sensitive subjects such as self-harm and post-traumatic disorders, it explores the feeling of money and power in communities and in this case, families - how people will compete and vie for it or abuse it entirely, it delves into the difference between frittering away money you've earned and money you believe you're entitled to, but it also covers the delicacy of family ties, the stress and strain that pulls on them all, that can bring them together and tear them apart. When you couple these features with some of the strangest, yet most beautiful writing prose I've seen and an element of mystery and darkness, you find yourself immersed in this world on the island. These children, Johnny, Mirren, Gat and Candace, they begin as children I would never myself be in close circles with, but develop, through the memories Candace has, into people I believe in, both morally and emotionally.

The writing style itself can appear at first quite disjointed and immature, but slowly, you find and realise that Candace's voice is like that for a reason, and the way the story of the Liars was told in past tense through the eyes of her was just brilliant. I have a soft spot for narrators with the ability to recite a story in past tense, but with the power to make me feel it in the present, it's a tough job and is executed, for me, perfectly in We Were Liars., especially in the romance. I cannot put into words just how that romance affected me and how the dynamics of Gat and Candace altered so many of my theories, and just how much regret from them both was involved because of Summer Fifteen on the island, throughout We Were Liars. Confiding and appreciating a relationship we see develop through the eyes of a character is difficult, but somehow, along with everything else in this novel, Lockhart managed it. How We Were Liars is written is just, magical, but some of my most favourites areas of the novel were the fairytale stories/memories that Candace write throughout - they were a beautiful edition to the novel and played such vital, pivotal roles to the plot and explanation behind the reveal, but they were also stories within and about a story of a story and it's that twist, that little segment of cleverness that Lockhart created that made those areas even better.

The stories you've heard about We Were Liars are right. It is a story involving four privileged children holidaying on an island. It is a story about finding answers to lost questions and the emotions involved in your first love. It is a story that you cannot explain nor describe without both wanting to tell all and tell nothing. It is a story that kept me involved and immersed, but still felt like a glazed sway across my eyes, and it is a story with an ending that brings everything, and I mean, everything, together. We Were Liars is without a doubt, one of my favourite reads of the year and I make a vow to promise to re-read this book soon knowing, much like Candace, that none of it will ever be the same again.


  1. *embarks on crazy dance* I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT TOO!! I've noticed it's a pretty hit-or-miss book, with like all 5-stars or 2-stars. hehe. I just couldn't have been more shocked at the end. I mean, I missed all the signs too (I'm one of those people who just swallow books, though, without trying to solve the mystery...I should actually think about it more but I read too fast) and when I got to the end I just thought, "Omg, she set that up from the beginning didn't she? I MISSED IT." XD It was epically written and I'm truly converted to E.Lockhart's writing. I want to find another book by her just to compare now. x)

    1. I missed all the signs, but afterwards they were so clear, it was amazing! I want to try more of her work too Cait, it'd be amazing to have more of her writing in my world. Here's to more from Lockart! :)

  2. Wonderful review Amanda, I am so glad that you enjoyed it as well and you reviewed it wonderfully! The little fairy tales were my favourite as well, they really showed a lot about Cadence and her frame of mind at the time. I totally agree, the writing was totally beautiful and yes! the dynamics between Gat and Cadence were super emotional and heart breaking.

    1. Thank you Jeann! It was just a beautiful book as a whole I think! :)

  3. I tried this on audio but got in 3 hours before I gave up. I was just bored. I know there's this big twist so I might go back to finish it to find out what it is.

    1. I think the first 80% of the book really splits a crowd, you either like it or you don't and I totally understand that.

  4. This book...THIS BOOK. I read it in one day because it was so addictive. It was so a powerful and so painful.

    1. I couldn't agree more Lyn, this was definitely a read in one night book, so so good.


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