The Compulsive Reader: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Every summer, Cady and her privileged family retreat to their private island. During her fifteenth summer, an accident leaves Cady with holes in her memory and crippling migraines. When she finally returns to the island her seventeenth summer, the island has changed, the adults are keeping secrets, her cousins won’t answer her questions, and Cady must finally confront the truth.

We Were Liars is an intelligent, twisty novel. The structure is fascinating; at a line level, Lockhart breaks up sentences with indentation and repetition, creating the effect that the reader is trying to remember with Cady just what happened two summers ago. The book is divided into five parts, and Lockhart begins with backstory, taking her time to get to the present and build a very tangible world. Lockhart also uses Italian fairy tales, and Cady’s retelling of those fairy tales, to parallel her family story and get closer and closer to the truth. As a mystery, this book is fascinating, fast-paced, and impossible to put down. However, once the reader becomes wiser to the magical realism elements and the truth of what has happened to Cady and how she copes, questions about character motivations to pop up in retrospect. Nonetheless, We Were Liars presents a unique and well-written take on a tricky trope and it will be one to talk about for a long while.

Cover Comments: I love how everything about this cover is blurred around the edges. It captures the summertime feel of the book, but also its murkier aspects. Very nice.

Book purchased at my indie.

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