Wednesday, May 14, 2014

We Were Liars

Title:  We Were Liars
Author:  E. Lockhart
Publication Information:  Delacorte Press. 2014. 225pages.
ISBN:  038574126X / 978-0385741262

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "Silence is a protective coating over pain."

The Sinclairs are a wealthy family who summer every year on their own private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Harris Sinclair developed the retreat for his family - one house for himself and his wife and one each for their three daughters.

Cadence and her cousins Johnny and Mirren are Sinclair grandchildren. They have been coming to the island all their lives. When they are eight or in "summer eight" as they call it Gat joins them. He is a nephew by marriage. Together, the four of them become inseparable during the summers. They become the Liars. Year after year, they return to the island and their summers together.

As the book begins, Cadence is seventeen and returning to the island after two years. Two years ago, in "summer fifteen," something happened. Cadence has no memory of what happened except that she was found injured. Her injuries were severe, and she is still in the recovery process.

For Cadence, "summer seventeen" begins with everyone returning to the island. The Liars are back together, but seemingly declaring their independence from the adults. Everyone is mindful and careful around Cadence, conscious of her injuries and her inability to remember. Slowly, though, bits and pieces of memory start to return. What truth lies beyond what Cadence can remember?

The back cover of this book recommends, "Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE." The implication is that the mystery of what happened is revealed at the end. The issue is that the mystery was no longer a mystery well before the end. I did not know exactly how the events happened, but I did correctly guess what happened.

Reading the book then became a matter of determining how such a thing could happen and of anticipating and feeling Cadence's emotions as she slowly figures out what happened. The story or the characters or the relationships do not develop. This could be because Cadence is the narrator, and  her memory and interpretations are not reliable. No matter what the reason, the book is about the final plot twist and just that.

My other issue with this book is that the characters are not particularly likable. Many of them come across like "spoiled brats." The arguments and some of the concerns seems petty, and discipline seems to be non-existent. Control exists, but not discipline.

The book is a fast read but not as engaging as it could have been.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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