Thursday, January 8, 2015

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Summary (from 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.
I love looking at Best Of Lists, and this book not only was pretty much on every YA list of 2014, but in many cases was the number one book for many of these lists. I figured I had no excuse not to read it. I also love the idea of a surprise twist ending.
My only problem with a surprise twist ending is that I knew something big was approaching. I kept waiting for it to happen. And I guess because of this, I kept coming up with different ideas for what it would be, as I went. And I so guessed it wrong. However, I wish I didn’t know how twisty the end was, so I could just get into the narrative more without so much outside guessing.
On the other hand, I did read it crazy fast, needing to know what the ending would bring. Did I mention that I had about 4 guesses for how it would end, and that none of my guesses were right? I was genuinely surprised by the twist, and I can see why so many others were too.
But, besides all that is the wonderful writing. There’s summer 15 (the summer when the big bad happens). A major event happens that the main character can’t remember. Her doctors say its post-traumatic stress and that eventually she’ll get her memories all back. It’s also the summer Cady falls in love. And the first summer without her father (who left her and her mother). And the summer Cady really realizes things about the world, about her family, and about how lucky she and her family have it.
After the big event, Cady has painful migraines that last for days and require her to stay in bed. She’s stopped going to regular school. She’s died her hair black. And while she doesn’t remember what happened, part of her feels the need to give away all her belongings. As a reader, you just have to know what made the girl from summer 15 the girl Cady becomes in summer 17. What was the major event? Why does she feel the need to give away all the things that are important to her? And why was everyone she cares about warned not talk to her about any of it?
Interwoven between summer 17 are memories Cady slowly recovers, and fairytales she creates to cope with everything. I loved connecting the fairytales to her life. And these stories definitely added in my whole “what could this twist be?” game I was playing. The fairy tales made everything slightly more askew than they already were. And I was always questioning how much I could rely on my main character.
The writing was beautiful. I loved the fairy tales, but I also loved the almost poetic way the words were laid out. The setting came to life for me. It probably helped that I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard (and live on the Cape), but I felt like I was there. I felt like I could see and understand the beach houses, the summer vibes, and the isolation of it all.
I never super connected to the main character. I felt bad for her. And I guess it’s always been hard for me to like characters who are so na├»ve and ignorant of the world. She did learn about things and even try to change things. But, Cady just never seemed too concerned about anything outside of what happened that one summer and her close family/friends. She was lacking almost too much knowledge for me. And I never felt that pull towards her that I wanted to.
All in all, this book was beautiful. The writing makes you think you are on the beach on a private island. A lot of the family drama is super intense. The love story was adorable. The twist was huge. And it’s a remarkably fast read. I never really connected to the main character, and maybe there could have been a little more character development for the rest of the liars too. But, I loved it. I give it a 9/10.

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