Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Hot Key Books (15th May 2014)
We are liars
We are beautiful and privileged
We are cracked and broken
A tale of love and romance
A tale of tragedy
Which are lies?
Which is truth?
Rating: ** (2 stars)
WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart is a contemporary novel that there was a lot of buzz about around its release date. It tells the story of Cadence Sinclair Eastman and the mysterious summer fifteen which she cannot remember anything about.
I have mixed feelings about WE WERE LIARS. On the one hand, I think it’s a really beautiful and poignant book; that Lockhart does a brilliant job capturing a lost summer and its halcyon days. On the other, I found its an irritating read and wish I hadn’t avoided any spoilers (I assume there are some somewhere, I haven’t actually checked). I think the best thing I can say about this book is that it makes you feel something.
One of the things that most bugged me about this book – and it’s only just over 200 pages long – was the chapter structure. Chapters range from half a page, to anything up to eight or so pages. The narrative is also pretty repetitive, with Cadence repeating things several times at some points. It is also pretty jumbled, and everything seems to almost meld together. I understand why Lockhart framed the narrative like this – it is, I believe, a reflection of the narrator – but at the same time I didn’t find it an easy read.
Having said that, the story itself was a pretty compelling read. Following Cadence as she struggles to piece together what happened that summer was captivating, and I found myself turning the pages desperate to know what was going to happen next. The story itself is also pretty short, which I think really worked. Lockhart also did a really good job with the secondary characters, and Cadence’s reactions to them.
WE WERE LIARS is a compelling piece of contemporary fiction that opens a window on what it’s like to be from and “old” American family. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who is thinking of reading it, but I at the same time I feel compelled to offer a warning: this is not a story for the faint of heart.