We Were Liars review

16143347We are liars.

We are beautiful and privileged.

We are cracked and broken.

A tale of romance.

A tale of tragedy.

Which are lies?

Which is truth?

You decide.

Yesterday I took part in the We Were Liars live read, and I can honestly say it was one of the most memorable reading experiences of my life. At 1 p.m. lots of bloggers and YA readers started reading the book and tweeting reactions at key points along the way. Reading a book in one sitting is always pretty intense, but I can’t imagine reading this book in any other way as it really was unputdownable. Being able to share reactions with so many other readers made it all the more enjoyable – it was fun to connect with others, not just about our admiration of Lockhart’s fine writing, but also how we felt about those shocking revelations, and those heart-tugging, lump-in-the-throat moments (there were a lot of those!). Although, I do now feel that I will need to go back and read the book at a more leisurely pace, to appreciate the carefully crafted, almost lyrical writing and to look out for those little hints that I missed about what was really going on.

Because what really is going on in this tale of lies and deceit? There is a pretty huge twist at the end, which I am certainly not going to spoil for you. As clichéd as it might sound, you will just have to find out for yourself – and then you will want to recommend it to everyone you know, so that when they’ve read it, you have someone to talk to about it! The less you know about this book before you read it, the more you will enjoy it. But I will say this:

It’s about the privileged Sinclair family, who spend the summer holidays every year on their private island, Beechwood. It is a pretty messed up family, in which no one talks about their feelings (Be normal. Because you are. Because you can be.), and there is constant tension between the three Sinclair daughters about who will get what when the estate is passed on. The liars are four of the grandchildren, including our narrator Cadence, teenaged cousins who spend their summers together at Beechwood. One summer Cadence has an accident that leaves her with crippling migraines and amnesia. During the book she tries to uncover the truth about what really happened to her.

The idea at the centre of this book is a clever one, and I did get totally sucked in by it. But that alone wouldn’t have been enough to make me rate it as one of my top memorable reads. What I really loved about it was how, through the layering of many little nuances, Lockhart built a picture of a family that is crumbling from within. There are some vividly emotive pieces of writing along the way, yet not one word in the book felt redundant or overplayed. Most of all, however vulnerable and flawed the characters are, she somehow makes you care about each of them on some level. And I feel like I’ve said too much already, so I’m going to stop there! Just read it!

Thank you to Hot Key Books for the ARC and for organising the live read event – it was a whole lot of fun!

 

 

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