Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Review: We Were Liars

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: 3

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A beautiful and distinguished family.  A private island.  A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.  A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.  A revolution.  An accident.  A secret.  Lies upon lies.  True love.  The truth.  We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.  Read it.  And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE. 

Review: HOLY.  BALLS.  There are literally no words to describe how I felt after finishing this book.  It made me sick to my stomach; it made me want to chuck the book across the room, and I remembered that I screamed.  The reviews that claim this story is "haunting" are 100% correct.  

We Were Liars is a heartbreaking tragedy that reminds readers how toxic greed can be, and how easily it can tear people apart.  The story is told through the eyes of Cadence Sinclair Eastman, a teenage girl who suffers from a traumatic brain injury after an accident during, what she calls, summer fifteen.  You see, the Sinclair family is so stinkin' rich that their grandfather owns an island.  Each of his three daughters, Cadence's aunts, have a family summer home on that island.  Every summer, the aunts bring their children - Cadence's cousins - to the island and they all have a mini family reunion.  (With all this family being introduced at once, it was easy to get confused, but fortunately, there's a family tree on one of the first pages of the book!)  To be honest, I was jealous of the relationship Cadence had with her cousins.  Although they only got together once a year, they were inseparable on that island each summer.  That's just another reason why the ending is so depressing. 

Cadence is the oldest of seven grandchildren, with Johnny and Mirren only a couple of months younger.  The three of them, along with Johnny's best friend Gat, call themselves the Liars.  Why?  I don't really know.  Sure the Sinclair family, in general, acted like they were "perfect" and Mirren lied about having a boyfriend; but other than that, they weren't really liars if everyone knew the truth about what happened during summer fifteen besides Cadence, who, after the accident, has a distorted memory.  Together, Cadence and the reader try to find the missing puzzle pieces of what exactly went down during the fifteenth summer.

I loved E. Lockhart's writing for several reasons.  
1. Cadence's struggle with her brain injury was written beautifully.  You could feel her pain, and sympathize with her, but not for her.  She was a strong, determined girl who could take care of herself.
2. Every once in awhile, there would be a storybook chapter - a mini fairy tale story that inferred the next big obstacle involving her family.  They were like a magic mirror to the future.
3. Each of the Liars' description was summarized in a couple of words.  Johnny was "bounce, effort, and snark," Mirren was "sugar, curiosity, and rain," and Gat, Cadence's Gat, was "contemplation and enthusiasm, ambition and strong coffee."  That's all the reader gets to know about those three, which makes sense in the end.
4. I felt like I was watching a Nicholas Sparks movie, or Charlie St. Cloud, while I was reading it.  Both the movies and We Were Liars had an identical sense of mystery to it.

The only thing I didn't like: the random poetry.  And the ending.  THE STUPID, STUPID, ENDING.

At this point in the review you might be wondering: What does this mean, Alexis?  Did you like the book or not?  Yes... and no.  I loved this easy, breathtaking read.  I hate how it is bound to give me nightmares...

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