By Robert Drinkwater
We Were Liars is a young adult novel by E. Lockhart that follows an unreliable narrator as she returns to her family’s island two years after a horrific accident. We don’t know what happened to her, but she got a head injury from night, one that resulted in her not remembering most of what happened during that summer.
Cadence Sinclair comes from a wealthy family where they spend every summer on an island off of the coast of Cape Cod. She and her cousins call themselves The Liars. They are all around the same age and once they are on that island, they are inseparable. As a Cape Cod resident I was drawn to this book because of its location, but it was the mystery part that really made me want to read it. Throughout the novel we see Cady try to remember what happened on that island. This accident happened when she was fifteen and two years later she decides to go back to that island with her mom. She wants to remember what happened to her and she believes that going to back to the island will help her recollect her memories.
This book was a fairly quick read. The suspense is what kept me turning the pages. Towards the beginning of the book, I initially thought that the big mystery would be that someone tried to murder her, but it became apparent that there was much more to it. As the story progresses we get little tidbits of her memory, all of which connect to that night.
I thought that it was confusing at times because it would often jump between summer fifteen and seventeen. I do enjoy reading nonlinear timelines, but I would often mistake the past timeline with the present and certain plot points were mixed up. I also thought that the narrator was kind of boring. Every time Gat was mentioned, she would say My Gat, which was kind of irritating. The characters in this novel such as Gat, Mirren, and Johnny were interesting. There wasn’t a whole lot of time in this book to flesh out these characters more due to its short length. Even though they weren’t in it as much, the other characters in that family were interesting as well.
I thought that the author did a good job a portraying a dysfunctional family. The patriarch of the family, Granddad, constantly has his family members competing for his approval in hope of getting his inheritance. The moms of The Liars would try to get their kids to win granddad’s favor. However, I felt like many of the characters were underdeveloped and they lacked three dimensional personalities at times.
Overall, E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars explores a complicated family dynamic and centers around a girl trying to recover her memory from a tragic accident. I thought that the stories pacing was good, and it had a good twist at the end. Something that makes sense if you reread certain parts of the story. Cady trying to put the recollect her fragmented memories of summer fifteen made this a compelling novel full of mystery and suspense with a poignant twist that you won’t forget.