Sunday, 14 September 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - Review + Discussion

We Were Liars
My Poor Heart

My Thoughts...

Where do I even start?

First of all, I think this book is best off going into without knowing much about it, so the review section of this post isn't going to go into detail.

After letting my thoughts on this novel sit for a while, I have decided that my rating is more of a 4.5, but I wouldn't reread it.

The story follows Cadence, a member of the rich Sinclair family, and her struggle to recover her memories after an accident on the family's summer island.

Yup, that's my summary.  It's all you need to know.

I've heard mixed things about the writing style, but I honestly really liked it.  The metaphorical descriptions of emotions worked for me and easily got the message across, giving you a sense for the strength of the things Cadence was feeling.  I also appreciated that though the novel is relatively short (around 220 pages, depending on your edition), the story didn't feel compressed to be shorter.  I thought the pacing was great, building up the suspense and giving time to get to know the characters.

Speaking (uh, writing?) of characters, I didn't hate any of them, but I didn't particularly like any of them either.  The author did a good job of explaining their actions and the reasons why they are like they are.  Though Cadence made stupid choices, I understood them.  Admittedly, the Aunties got on my nerves a fair bit, and the Granddad could be infuriating, but I didn't hate them because I grew to understand them.

As the mystery unfolded, I found myself more captivated, and I couldn't draw my eyes away from the words.  Except for one point when I did have to pause for a little because I was worried about my heart rate.  Seriously, it was that good.

Did I mention there's a map and a family tree at the beginning of the book?  If you needed another reason to pick this up, there it is.

I highly recommend this book for any fans of suspense or non-fluffy contemporaries.  Even if you're not the biggest fan of those genres, you might like this book.

I'm now going to go into a spoilery this-will-ruin-the-entire-book-for-you discussion of We Were Liars, so if you haven't read it... get out of here!

* There may also end up being spoilers in the comments, so read at your own risk *


I'm going to get straight to the point.

The plan to burn down the house was seriously flawed.  I understand why they did it - it seemed like a perfect solution to their problems, and after all, they were 15 and drunk.  But did they really have to be so careless about it?  There were much better ways to go about destroying the entire house and everything in it.  You know, it would have been especially better if the plan had included a time to set the place alight and perhaps a meet up point before the actual flames...

And Merlin's pants, Cadence, how on Earth did you forget about those poor dogs?  This was one of the many punch-in-the-gut moments that this book gave me.  Why do the pets always have to die?

Throughout the novel, I'd suspected that the Liars were truly dead, but I started moving away from that theory when Cadence started thinking she was the victim of a crime of some sort.  This was clearly deliberate by the author, and it was very smart, and I am an example of how well it worked in throwing the reader off the trail (grrr).  My new theory was that Gat had raped Cadence, or had pushed her off that rock that he talked about, and that it was one of the reasons that he insisted it wasn't right for them to be together and that Cadence didn't really know him at all.

Which brings me to another question:  Were the Liars hallucinations or ghosts?

I'd originally thought that they were hallucinations that Cadence had conjured up as a coping mechanism, and never really considered the possibility that they were ghosts until I read a few reviews after reading.  The more I think about it though, the more I am convinced that they were ghosts.  Although I don't think a supernatural aspect would really have suited the novel, I think that if they were ghosts, it would explain how they had independent thoughts and how Cady and Gat argued and Mirren's illness, as well as a few other things.  What did you think?

As mentioned previously, the aunties really annoyed me.  But then again, I understood where they were coming from.  I'm sure we've all wanted to impress someone at some stage in our lives, to the point where we would be willing to do almost anything to get their approval and favour.  They definitely crossed the line a few times though.

Another thing I wanted to comment on was The Liars.  I've seen a lot of people say that it didn't really make sense but I think it did.  The group were all lying to themselves, and the time they spent on the island was almost like a lie in itself - nothing from the island left the island, and the group never communicated outside of that summer atmosphere.  When it wasn't summer, it was like those times didn't exist.  It also connects to how Mirren and Johnny (and occasionally Cadence) were purposefully ignorant of the world around them and other people's suffering.  They wanted no part of it and hated when Gat brought it up and tried to encourage them to do something about it.  Lying was definitely a huge theme throughout the novel.

That's pretty much everything I wanted to mention!  Let me know your thoughts on We Were Liars in the comments! :) 


  1. I'm not sure about the ghost thing, because the liars interacted with the other family members as well as cadence, so if they were ghosts them being back would have had to be something they all knew about. I never considered that Gat may have raped or pushed Cadence, but it's certainly an intersting theory.

    1. That's true. I don't think it's what actually happened, it was just something that crossed my mind before finding out about the fire. I'm glad to hear you liked this book too.

  2. I think that the Liars were hallucinations. I've had some pretty intense migraines, and have hallucinated because of them.

    As for the whole Liars interacting with the other family members... I think it was just Cady's way of coping. Obviously she was pretty traumatized and shut out the whole incident from her memory, so it would make sense that her family went along with it so they wouldn't upset her.

    Here's my review for We Were Liars in case anyone is interested.

    1. Oh wow, that must be strange (and painful - sorry).

      That's true.

      I really want to believe they were hallucinations!


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