Book Review: We Were Liars

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The family stayed at their grandfather’s private island every summer.

The book We Were Liars, a candidly suspenseful novel written by E. Lockhart, is shockingly twisted and almost impossible to put down. The story entices readers by allowing them to view the perspectives of all the characters and their true intentions. Throughout the book, readers mainly follow the viewpoint of seventeen-year-old Cady as she struggles with possible amnesia, trying to piece together what occurred during the summer when she was fifteen. The story gives us insight into the flaws, lies, and enigmas of her conceivably perfect family, all while Cady finds out about the truth of what must have happened to her.

Every summer, Cady spends time with her cousins and family friend on their grandfather’s private island, straying away from their school lives to relax and enjoy their break. However, when Cady was fifteen, she suffered a terrible accident and now endures the memory loss she gained. As time passes, she recalls moments from that summer and finally remembers what crazy event caused her amnesia. At the end of this book, the plot twist will leave readers both speechless and stunned, as everything clicks into place and finally makes sense.

However, some elements of the story don’t necessarily line up with the time period and the author’s description of characters in the book. For example, the time setting is in the present, and as this book was published in 2014, there is one missing element that would create a huge difference in the storytelling of this book, which is technology. In 2014, many kids had already been greatly impacted by electronic devices, so the fact that the characters don’t use them certainly changes the overall feeling of the story. In addition to this, the author doesn’t accurately represent one of the characters in the story. She mentions their heritage only once in the book, and stereotypes the way they act based on how they are perceived in society.  

Throughout a great portion of the book, there wasn’t one singular subject being discussed at a time, and the book was all over the place. It may be somewhat confusing while reading to figure out what was going on, making it harder for potential readers to enjoy the book. However, the author did a decent job in portraying the true emotions of the characters and presenting the storyline to allow readers to relate to the characters.