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A Review of Sorts: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Part of my goals for 2017 was to read a new book each month. Twelve months, twelve books that I haven't even cracked the spine of before. It's a goal that I'm finally ready to keep, no matter what. I made a reading resolutions post shortly thereafter where I listed off a dozen or so titles that I would like to read during the year. High on that list was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, a young adult book that I've been recommended quite a few times by friends with impeccable tastes in books. Normally, I only buy paperback books, but I decided to splurge and finally bite the bullet and buy the hardcover version of this book because I spent too long trying to put it off.

We Were Liars is a fairly short book. It's about 225 pages with a decent sized font, but my god, if those weren't the most thrilling 200 odd pages I've read in a long time. Thrilling? A young adult book? I could go on a rant about the negativity that seems to be associated with YA literature and the bad rep it gets for being geared, generally, towards younger audiences. My favorite books are, and will be for a long time, YA novels. But, that's another rant for another time.

The book follows, in brief memories through the narrator's eyes, the Sinclair family. They're wealthy beyond belief, spending their summers off the coast of Martha's Vineyard on their own private island. They live lavishly in their own homes on the island, cared for by a staff of housekeepers and cooks (whose names Cadence–the narrator–doesn't even know). There are three daughters who have children of their own, Cadence, Mirren and Johnny being three-fourths of the "Liars." The fourth is Gat Patil, the son of one of the sister's partner. It's clear that Gat feels as though he's an outsider in the Sinclair family. He's treated differently, especially by the grandfather, and his thoughts never quite align with the rest of the groups'. His perspective is fresh and against everything they've known growing up, and it hooks Cadence.

We know that Cadence suffers an accident in "summer fifteen" (the summer she was fifteen, easy enough) and that becomes the main purpose of the book. What happened on that night? Why couldn't she remember what happened? Why was she discovered alone? Because of this mysterious accident, Cadence suffers memory loss and intense migraines. She can't go back to the island for "summer sixteen," her schoolwork is affected and she still can't piece anything together. She begs her mom to let her go back to the island for summer seventeen and, reluctantly, she agrees to allowing her four weeks on the island. Except, when Cadence arrives, it's clear that her mother warned them not to talk to her about her accident because the doctors told her to remember naturally.

The rest of the book follows Cadence and the liars as she tries to remember what happened that summer. And let me just tell you, it's wild.

I was completely and entirely engrossed in this book. I loved the language that was used. The sentences weren't winding and complicated with multiple parts making it difficult to follow. There was almost an element of shorthand to some of them which seemed to suit Cadence's narration and character.

I read this book entirely on Saturday, starting it during a lull at work and finishing it while the kids I was babysitting were sleeping. Yet again, I complete a book without being able to wait until the next day to finish. I highly highly recommend checking this book out if you're looking for something new to read. It'll keep you on your toes, for sure.


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