Publishing Info: May 13, 2014 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller, Psych/Mental Health, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 2, 2013
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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.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
My review for WE WERE LIARS is a complicated thing to write. Obviously we know from all of the chatter so far that there’s an interesting twist to this book and unfortunately, the chatter somehow spoiled the book for me without even talking about specific spoilers. Before I get into that, let me explain a bit more first.
The narration of WE WERE LIARS is interesting but at times a bit confusing to me. The main character, Cady, suffers from unbearable migraines after an accident she suffered two years ago at her family’s beach house and she can’t remember the details of the accident. To make matters more complicated, no one will tell her what happened either. Cady’s approach to filling the reader in is obviously limited. She has selective amnesia from the accident so the reader is very much attempting to discover what exactly happened with Cady’s accident right along side her. I didn’t find the lack of information confusing but one thing I did wish is that we had just a few more clues earlier on in the story. I didn’t really pick up on anything to sort of help push me along to really wrap me up in the mystery. I understand being in the dark so the reveal to Cady is just as much of a shock to the reader, but with all of the hype around the surprising ending (that’s no spoiler — the buzz around the blogosphere is that the ending is one to die for!), the reveal was a bit TOO much information all at once. I really think the book could have benefitted from just tiny clues here and there because honestly? If I hadn’t already known there was a twist coming, I may not have continued reading or it would have taken me a lot longer to finish.
I’m a sucker for a twist. I absolutely love being surprised and when I heard this book had a killer ending, I was so excited to read it, especially with all of the amazing feedback out there but… the hype monster totally got me on this one. It’s a tricky situation when you hear a book has a fantastic twist. That’s not a spoiler, right? You can’t fault anyone for saying a book has a twist because naturally people are wanting to discuss it and without saying what that twist is, no one is really spoiling the book. For me, hearing that WE WERE LIARS had a twisty ending inadvertently spoiled the book just a little bit for me. I never read any specifics but when I hear a book has a twist, what do I do? I go looking for it and guess what. I found it. About a quarter of the way through. (I actually had a second guess later on the book which was the wrong one but that kept me on my toes trying to guess if it was one of the two possible outcomes I had surmised.) I was actually kind of hoping I was wrong so I would be totally surprised but I did enjoy it… It just didn’t knock me off my feet since I was able to see it coming. As much as I REALLY want to discuss the reasons how I spotted it, obviously I can’t do that so I don’t spoil it for you guys! 🙂
I did enjoy the ending. It didn’t knock my socks off, as previously stated, but it’s a concept I really love and enjoy and totally commend authors for pulling off. That being said, I was also a bit disappointed with it at the same time. Again, for spoiler reasons, I won’t delve into why I was disappointed, but if you’ve already read the book, I’d love to discuss! If you haven’t read, no, I will not tell you how this ends!
The other pro and con of this book for me was the length. I really appreciated being able to be swept away by this book in one sitting on a Sunday morning with the book at just under 250 pages (Goodreads currently locks it in at 240) and with all of the hefty books on my TBR, I always appreciate reading a shorter one! At the same time, I feel like this book could have benefitted a little from a few more pages. I appreciated the characters but felt they could have been a little bit more developed. I don’t think I ever understood exactly how the group of teens had come to be called the “Liars”. I could have used even a few sentences to a paragraph of tiny, tiny clues in the beginning or middle to keep me invested in the story. I would have liked to see the romance between Cady and Gat developed a little bit more. I really liked being able to finish this book so quickly but there were still quite a few things that I felt the book could have benefitted from in those extra pages.
So what can I possibly say for this book at the end of this review? READ IT. I hope you’re one of the people who is truly blown away and just entangled in the mystery of this book. I had a few qualms about it and probably my biggest issues was that I sort of ended up spoiling it for myself, but it really was interesting and jarring.
“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Cadance // Character Obsessions: Filling in the blanks, the Liars.
Cadance was very “meh” for me. I felt like I could have gotten to know her so much better, even without giving away any of the twisty details. I’m still on the fence whether I liked her inner monologue and wild thoughts or if it was just weird to me. I think it was maybe a bit too dramatic/flowery for my tastes.
Kept Me Hooked On: Twists. I LOVE twists. I really loved how this book played out but it was my own guesses that spoiled it for me! I love that it was something interesting though and it really kept me racing through to see how it would end.
Left Me Wanting More: Development. I felt like the character development came only from what Cadance told us about each person and I didn’t really get to know anyone, including Cadance herself. Everything just felt so distant to me and I couldn’t really get sucked into the book.
This book either seems to be a love it or leave it book. A lot of five star ratings and a lot of two and three. It’s absolutely worth the read because you never know how the book may affect you!
BOOKS LIKE WE WERE LIARS
(Click the cover to see my review!)
10 thoughts on “We Were Liars – E. Lockhart”
I wasn’t overly impressed: way too much hype. The ending wasn’t a huge shock, because what else could it be, if it was so shocking? The ending, plus mental illness were too similar to Pete Hautman’s Invisible, which I read a few years ago. Now, that book was shocking and really sad.
I’ll probably end up reading this book but I think I’ll wait awhile because if I wait I may forget that this book has a jaw-dropping ending. I’ve read a few recent reviews that were similar to yours. If you expect some great twist, it’s just not as shocking no matter what (and too bad that you guessed it). I really like unreliable narrators if it’s done right because you are kept guessing about what reality actually is. Love The View From Goodreads, by the way!
I just finished it and I liked it. A lot. But I didn’t love it like everyone else. I definitely agree about the character development. Part of the problem for me was that I was pretty confused the whole time about what was real and what wasn’t. I guess that was probably the point, but it didn’t really work for me. The characters themselves were also super weird weren’t they? Just seemed kind of awkward and way younger than they were. I mean what 15 year old says “sexual intercourse”? So that didn’t jive well with me either. I did not see the big reveal coming at all and I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor. So that was good. I love when a book can surprise me. And I also love that it was short. I flew through this book. It definitely held my attention because I was dying for answers. But I mean overall, not as good as what I was expecting. Hype monster got me even though I made it a point to read no reviews before reading. Damn.
I think almost everyone I know in the blog world and everyone I know in real life who’s read this has had the same reaction you did, which is the same reaction I did. I just think it’s such a commonly used twist that it’s not really that crazy and most people I’ve talked to have guessed it. I actually had a friend who read it and after she finished she asked me what the twist was and I told and she was so surprised because she thought it was so obviously and ordinary. I think it’s a beautifully written book, but it didn’t really make me feel anything.
Hmm so I read this and I don’t know how I feel. I LOVED the writing and the twist left me reeling but then again HOW COULD THEY BE SO DUMB? Also, this book was NOTHING like what I expected but not in a bad way.I liked that it was a quick powerful read. And I would recommend it. But at the same time, maybe it is a little too hyped? I don’t know.
You read my blog so you know I rarely rarely ever hype something up and this was one that I totally did because I read it way early…like nobody had really read it yet outside of publishing so I was completely unaware of ANYTHING about this book other than a publicist was like IT IS AWESOME and so I read in this magnificent bubble and obviously it blew me away. I’m feeling partly bad because I contributed to the hype of this one for sure BUT I’m also frustrated because I was sososososo vague and didn’t mention there was a twist because I wanted everyone to go in blindly like I did. I think mentioning a twist is something that starts making people read more carefully..something I definitely didn’t do when I read and now I’m seeing all these people that I think would have probably loved this one…NOT love it..because they figured it out which the revelation was a huge part of my reading experiment and being WOWed at this is what made me love this book. SIGH such a hard part of being immersed in a book community? The hype & the hearing potential things that make up go into the book knowing things. I have a discussion that is similar to what I just word vomited all over your comments section so I will stop now haha. Glad you still enjoyed it though even though hype came in and affected your reading experience. Looking back at it now, while reading your review, I totally agree with your assessment on development and it could have benefited from MORE in some areas. Obviously I was high on the book so I didn’t even notice that but having quite a bit of distance….yep! Totally agree!
Awww, Jamie, you know I love your word vomit (and AWESOMELY long comment! <3) and I do not blame anyone one bit, especially not you! I actually might not have picked it up without your praise and I'm so glad that I read it, even if it didn't totally blow me away. My problem, I think, really was that I used to read SO many mysteries so when I heard that there was a twist, I went looking for it and found it early on. People who read it early or avoided any talk about the book? Totally got taken by surprise, I'm sure, because they didn't even know it was COMING.
I totally agree that it's VERY hard to talk about books with twists because you can't NOT talk about the twist because it's such a big part of the book but then again, I almost feel spoilery even mentioning that there is one, you know? Totally agree that it's one of the more difficult parts of being a part of such a large and awesome book community! We all end up talking about things, and totally without spoilers, but the more things that we talk about, the more little things come up and feelings start to influence readers whether they realize it or not.
Thank you for the wonderfully long comment! It's actually made me start thinking about how hype and even just general discussion of books on Twitter and with bookish friends really has affected my reading lately! Not always in a bad way (because Open Road Summer <33333), but it does have an impact!!
I’m with you– it was a tad ruined by the buzz but I enjoyed it overall. You really nailed my feelings as well. And this book is the hardest to write a review for. Mine was the shortest I’ve ever written, haha
Haha same! Mine felt SO short because I really didn’t want to give anything away! Definitely hard to write. I wish I had been able to read this one before I heard ANYTHING about it but then again, I wouldn’t have picked it up without the buzz! Double edged sword!