Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars* * *

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE


There is a lot of hype around this book.  I was kind of curious but didn’t pick it up.  Then the great John Green promoted it.  And if John Green recommends a book to me, who am I to say no?  So I went back and requested it from NetGalley.   We were lucky enough to get approval and I immediately downloaded the book to my Nook.  And it sat and sat and sat.  Patiently waiting for me to catch up on other books and to be in the mood for what promised to be an emotional mystery.

Then, one day, I started reading.  I was impressed.  The writing was enigmatic and engaging.  I was caught up in the crazy dysfunctional and privileged world The Liars lived in.  I was held by the ebb and flow of a writing style that was almost poetic.  And then…half way through the book… I was done. 

I know, I know.  People are gushing over this book.  It’s been called “shocking” and “twisty.”  Sometimes both in the same sentence like this one from the Chicago Tribune:

"No one should be talking about the shocking twist ending. What we can talk about is...[Lockhart's] razor-sharp portrayal of a family for whom keeping up appearances is paramount and, ultimately, tragic."—The Chicago Tribune

Well, The Trib was right.  We shouldn’t be talking about the ending.  Because it isn’t shocking.  That half-way point I talked about?  When I was done with the book?  I was done because I had already figured out the big “shocking” mystery.  What’s the point of finishing if I already know what happens and I feel that my emotional investment in these characters is pointless?  But I finished it anyway in case my opinion changed.  Maybe I would love it anyway. 

My opinion didn’t change.  The plot/mystery was weak and very reminiscent of a horror/suspense movie that was popular a number of years ago.  That being said, the writing continued to be stellar (which is why I ended up giving this three *’s instead of two).  It wasn’t nearly as difficult to finish as it would have been if the writing hadn’t been so great. 

Would I recommend this to anyone?  Maybe.  Like I said, it is great writing.  It’s also a quick read.  So if you want to see what all the fuss is about, give it a try.  Also, if you enjoy critical thinking, you might have fun reading it as nothing is an accident in this book.  Even the names of the books the characters read or talk about directly relate to the story.  But if you are just looking for a great mystery that leaves you guessing, I can’t recommend it all.


*If you want to know what the big fuss is, check out this site.  

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