Today is another catch-up review of the book I was able to read in one day at the Canada Water Library in London on a day off… and I definitely have some strong opinions on it. Check out the full review below and let me know what you think!
We Were Liars
“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”
Author: E. Lockhart
Genre: YA Contemporary
Themes: Mystery, death, friendship, romance, coming-of-age
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Days I took to Read: 1
ABOUT THE BOOK
One family, one destructive group of friends, and one island. Every summer becomes the summer of the Liars.
Gat, Johnny, Mirren, and Cadence have all grown up together, and share one lie that bonds them tighter than they every thought possible. Every summer, the Liars join together, and it’s as if not a day has passed — that island is theirs.
We Were Liars is a thrilling YA mystery about class, race, and the relationship between young friends and lovers that will keep you guessing on what is the real truth, because with each page turn, that truth shifts just a little bit more.
I mainly picked up this book because when I went to the library, I didn’t have an English library card, and I wanted something that I would be able to read in one afternoon as I wouldn’t be able to take it home with me like I normally would.
Unfortunately, that left me groaning on the library couch, determined to just get through it, no matter what it took. Of course, this fact might have influenced my impatience with it, but really, my problem lies deeper.
For one, most people who love YA thrillers like the ones listed below also talked about how this was one of the best books they’ve read. Plus, it’s won a few awards, so I thought it would be a winner. However, when I was reading through the beginning, I became really frustrated with first, how little I understood of what was happening. I got that the book was supposed to be about this big “thing” that happened during summer 15 (the plot twist) but it became annoying that it was all solely based around it. Even though I knew it was part of the story, part of me kind of wished the plot twist was included near the opening, and then maybe we could have gotten a flash-forward or something. This would work for me based on my thoughts on the twist, which I’ll get into now (without spoiling anything!)
Now, at around 50 or 60 pages in, that all changed, because I saw the plot twist happen from a mile away. That particular trope is hugely popular, especially in thrillers and mysteries like this one. When it comes to plot twists, writers have to be careful not to make it visible from the first moment their reader opens the book.
Once I discovered the secret to summer 15, I hoped that the story and characters would be strong enough to make the rest of the book enjoyable (like watching The Sixth Sense knowing the secret there), but it sadly fell short. They just weren’t interesting enough for me to care, as much as it pains me to say. One of the biggest shortcomings a book can have is having characters that the reader doesn’t strive to see succeed, or even just care enough about to see where their story goes.
One thing I did love about this book was the language. People might call it “purple prose” and be turned off from it, but I thought it was absolutely beautiful. It also really carried into the dream-like vibe for the book, and kept everything airy and almost vague. It worked very well with the themes, and with the ending plot twist.
All in all, I thought the hype was overrated, and even though I love E. Lockhart’s writing style as well as her other books, I was unimpressed with this one.