#7: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Well, this is going to be an obnoxious review. I feel like I can’t say much about Lockhart’s hotly anticipated latest because it doesn’t come out until May. MAY!! We got a foot of snow this weekend – May is not a thing. I can’t even say for sure that May will happen. It is so far away, I feel squicky talking about this book now…. but the other option was waiting until 2014 to read it, and, well, that was just not going to happen. I couldn’t even wait a day. I actually couldn’t even wait until I got off the treadmill. Apparently, I can read an ebook off of my phone whilst running 5.6 mph!
The other reason I can’t say much about We Were Liars is because spoilers. This is a classic mystery plot – clues are revealed, interpreted, misinterpreted. Character aren’t what they seem. The plot is so carefully constructed, it’s difficult to decide what to say about the book that won’t dismantle the enjoyment of watching the characters and events fall into place. Also, We Were Liars absolutely begs a re-read, which I haven’t had time to do. I’m not even sure I really understand how the plot comes together, then, without this second read. I feel unqualified to talk about it.
I told you this review was going to be obnoxious.
Alright, here’s an attempt to tell you what this book is about. Cadence’s parents are divorced, and she lives with her mom in New England. Every year, Cadence and her mother and her aunts and grandparents all summer together on their family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts. There are four homes on the island – one for each sister, one for the grandparents. On the island, the grown-ups sometimes squabble, sometimes backbite, and always drink… but for Cadence, summer means cousins. Mirren and Johnny and Cadence are inseparable. One summer, Gat comes to the island as a guest, and from then on the foursome become The Liars. The best part about summer, or maybe the best part about everything.
One summer, something happens on the island – something violent – and Cadence has to leave. Cadence can’t remember what happened to her – can’t remember much of anything from that summer – and now she has migraines so bad she has to repeat a year of high school. The next summer, her parents insist she go to Europe instead of the island. The summer after that, Cadence returns, but something’s different. Something’s changed. If only she could remember what happened, then maybe Cadence could figure out how to fix it.
The language and the story construction and the gasping surprises. These are reasons to read this book. Family secrets. Amnesia. Addiction. What you can get away with – what you can’t. Not-so-rich kids from rich families, learning about the dirty undersides of living as part of “the ruling class.” These are other reasons to read this book. I’m pretty confident that in May, y’all will find a good reason to pick this one up. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you.