Book Review: We Were Liars


Bekah Redinger

Spoiler warning: The plot of the book may be spoiled for readers in this article.

Called, “Haunting, sophisticated . . . a novel so twisty and well-told that it will appeal to older readers as well as to adolescents.” by the Wall Street Journal and “Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, We Were Liars is utterly unforgettable.” by John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is the new most popular young adult novel and it was the Amazon Best Young Adult Book of the Month in May of 2014.

The story follows Cadence Sinclair, a girl from a very rich family of high status. The Sinclairs own an island with mansions, tennis courts and servants. Every summer, the family gets together. The liars in the title are cousins Johnny, Mirren and Cadence, along with a boy named Gat. Caught in the midst of a fight between their mothers for their grandfather’s money, the liars use lazy summer fun to escape from family drama, but sometimes lazy summertime fun can go too far.

Cadence is an unreliable narrator throughout the story, as she has mental disorders and illnesses such as selective amnesia that prevent her from knowing or telling the full story. As she starts to remember what happened years ago to make the feud between her family worse, she utilizes fairy tales and poetry to help her cope with her realizations. This can make the story harder to read and understand, but overall enhances the story’s metaphorical meaning.

The story is a lesson about friendship, family and first love, as well as the importance and risks of standing up for what a person believes. Although it is difficult to read at times the narrator, the book’s ending is a good lesson and pulls the heartstrings of the reader.