We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

Review published on May 30, 2014.Reviewed by Verity Butler

Nudge Reviewer Rating:

We Were Liars is one of those books that is made to be gulped down in one sitting. From the moment I sat down to read to the moment I reached the last page I was completely enthralled by E. Lockhart’s beautiful writing.

The novel is centred on a well off family who holiday every year on their private island in Massachusetts and is narrated by a young teenage girl, Cadence Sinclair, one fourth of the group of cousins who make up the holiday club “The Liars”.

Cadence (Cady) takes the reader through a history of the family and of their summers, every now and then mentioning “an accident” that took place on the island not long ago but which she cannot remember much about.

Much of the plot of the story is hard to explain from here on out, so inherently entwined is the mystery and twist of this novel. The marketing campaign for We Were Liars has succeeded in building a complete frenzy around the ending of this book and keeping it secret and unspoiled for readers worldwide, even going so far as to set up a dedicated hot line for people who finish the book and need someone to discuss it with.

I would advise you to take this hype with a pinch of salt. I loved the book, I loved the writing and I believe that We Were Liars does deserve the acclaim it has been receiving; however, I guessed the twist half way through. It was abundantly obvious to me. Ordinarily this wouldn’t spoil my enjoyment of a book, but considering the great hype placed around this particular twist, I was more than a little disappointed in that regard.

Twist ending aside, We Were Liars is one of the most cleverly written Young Adult novels I have ever read. E. Lockhart beautifully achieves a realistic tone when depicting the realities of family life set against the fantasies that most families project to the outside world. Her teenage characters are wonderfully vivid and haunting in their teenage angst, which will be familiar to everyone reading this book.

I highly recommend this book, but again urge you not to get hung up on the excitement of the ending and concentrate instead on E. Lockhart’s wonderful words.


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