Shit Got Real, Really Fast: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart Book Review

A private island. A group of rich teenagers. Summers. That’s what I’d use to describe this book in some words. Of course, I’ve heard of this book all over the internet. It’s hyped for being too overhyped. But why did I choose to actually read it? I didn’t hear any kind of review or recommendation from anyone, but the title of this book kept popping up everywhere that I just thought, why the hell not.

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date Published: 2014
Num of Pages: 242
Date Read: 2nd March, 2016
Goodreads Link

We Were Liars is a novel about a group of four teenagers, Cadence being the main character, who always spend their summers in a private island that their granddad owns. Then something mysterious happens and shit got real, really fast from then. I don’t know what else to tell you other than that. A lot of people kept saying that it’s better that you come into the book knowing nothing about it – I came in reading the book not knowing anything and not expecting anything, and look, I’m making a review about it. But if you’re the kind of person who has heard a lot of other people mention this book and wanna come into the book not knowing anything, you can stop reading this review right now.

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First of all, let me just say that this is only the second book in 2016 that I rated 5 stars on Goodreads. But after further thought, I have decided that I would rate the book 4.5 stars in this blog instead. It wasn’t a perfect book. It had some problems. But it has some aspects that just make me love the book so much.

Let’s talk about the characters. I’ve read a lot of reviews that said that the characters were too one-dimensional, that the main character was moody and annoying. I personally didn’t mind Cady, though I did find her a little bit whiny. I liked her relationship with the Liars. Sure, none of the characters really did stick to me that much. And at first I did get all mixed up with all the cousins and who’s related to whom. If the gang had consisted of such well-written characters like those from The Raven Boys or The Secret History, I’d probably love the book even more. But I liked them quite a lot. I liked how broken the aunties are, how messed up the whole family was. I liked Cadence’s relationship with Johnny, and with her mother.

quote2“Do you still miss Gran?” I ask him as we head toward New Clairmont. “Because I miss her. We never talk about her.”
“A part of me died,” he says. “And it was the best part.”
“You think so?” I ask.
“That’s all there is to say about it,” says Granddad.

Now, moving on to the writing style. I loved it. Some people complained about how it’s so weird, but I enjoyed it. It makes people read it faster. And I do have to admit, you don’t think about time at all when you’re reading this book. You just can’t get your eyes off the pages. And it has this sort of poetic sense but also still raw, it’s wonderful to read. I can really feel the summer vibes, and on scenes where Cadence was cold with depression, you could really feel it with her as well. It makes me wanna read more books by E. Lockhart.

Finally, let’s get on with the plot, which is basically the reason why people either hate or love this book so much. The plot is why I made the title I wrote for this book review. Because by the third quarter of the book, shit really did get real, and that happened really fast. Spoilers galore below.

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I did not see the fire and all those deaths coming. It was such a huge shock to me. And I did cry while finishing the book – the first tear came when I read about the dead golden retrievers. That broke my heart the most to be honest, and I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but the dogs’ death hit me more than the Liars’. But then the whole hallucinations part really took me aback. After thinking about it again since finishing the book, I do feel like maybe the whole thing was a little too cliched. If I were an expert in plot twists and such I’d probably see the whole climax coming. But from my own reading experience, I totally did not see it coming.

I actually expected a lot after the whole revelation. I wanted to see how Cadence felt, when she was so filled with guilt. What she did with her granddad, and maybe even a scene with her mother about talking about the fire. It would’ve given the story a little more closure.

quote2Life feels beautiful that day.
The four of us Liars, we have always been.
We always will be.
No matter what happens as we go to college, grow old, build lives for ourselves, no matter if Gat and I are together or not. No matter where we go, we will always be able to line up on the roof of Cuddledown and gaze at the sea.
This island is ours. Here, in some way, we are young forever.

But overall I loved the whole plot twist thing. It was totally unexpected for me and I think the writer really delivered it well, in terms of how I reacted while reading it. I cried. I felt for the characters. I was shocked. So overall, great job, E Lockhart.

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So yeah, in general, sure, this book does have several problems. It’s not perfect. But it’s pretty darn close to it. I understand people who didn’t like the writing style of the book, or had predicted the whole plot twist from the very start. But I am one of those people who were dumbfounded by the book itself, by the beauty of the places, who were swept away by the beauty and the horror of the Liars. Who felt like they knew Cadence, and want to be in love with someone like Gat as well. Who could feel the sun on their backs while reading the book, or had the sudden urge to drink some ginger ale on the rooftop, or the want to talk to their cousins once again.

We Were Liars is not a book for everyone. But it’s definitely a book for me. I’m very looking forward to reading more from E. Lockhart.

4.5 stars

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