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Book Review – We Were Liars

We looked at the sky. So many stars, it seemed like a celebration, a grand, illicit party the galaxy was holding after the humans had been put to bed.

“Can I hold your hand?” he asked.

I put mine in his.

“The universe is seeming really huge right now,” he told me. “I need something to hold on to.”

“I’m here.”

This is one of the most thrilling and poetic books in existence in this seemingly huge universe of ours. God. This is the type of book I was hoping for, praying for, and didn’t even realize it. 

We Were Liars follows Cadence Sinclair as she connects together a tragedy and remembers bit by bit, just how tragic the tragedy truly was, and how much to blame her world is for it. 

I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did. But I finished it in two days because I couldn’t put it down. Everything about it worked. I loved how it was told is small chapters, how the main character, riddled with migraines, strained herself to remember her tragedy, to not be so in need of the world’s pity. And you were just as strained. You were just as desperate. You were the main character for a bit there. It was so real. So separated from reality but still so real. 

I mean, cause we don’t all live on a private island off Martha’s Vineyard, and we don’t all vacation for the summer somewhere so exquisite and glamourous, like the kids in this book.

But even so, I felt like the main character and the rest of the young main characters were ridiculously down to earth. 

Everything about this book was perfect, right down to the tiny details our author, E. Lockhart, made sure to mention. Like the smell of cleaning supplies. You don’t realize you need that bit of information until she so generously gives it to you.

It’s not a generous read because the entire time you’re yearning to understand the mystery, but it still seemed generous somehow because she gave you everything. She gave you all the senses. All the inner dialogue. All the romance. 

And the romance, how odd and corrupted it seemed, was so beautiful. I loved how it came about, how they yearned for each other, how they came from opposite sides of the world but still came together like two perfectly matched puzzle pieces. She did such a good job making sure it was both lovely and creepy. 

God was this book eerie. It was so eerie. And the eeriest parts were the stories she wrote. A small portion of this book is made up of retold fairytales but with new story lines that involved her family, and they were so eerie, but so perfect. 

Everything else was lovely. The prose and the setting and the dialogue, but those stories made it so creepy, it gave you that element, that foreshadowed feeling that you are swimming deeper and deeper into a mystery that promises to blow your head to smithereens.

I am blown to smithereens by everything, and not just the ending. Trust me, the ending is going to seem unsatisfying, but in a way, you’re gonna realize you knew it was coming all along. You’re gonna feel like a fool for not connected it sooner because the woman is a master of dropping hints. The type of hints that aren’t enough, but are at the same time. 

Don’t fight against the ending, let it settle over you like a wave. Let it land. Let if be what it is: the cold, hard truth. 

This island is ours. Here, in some way, we are young forever.

The prose was the best part of this book for me. E. Lockhart has such an interesting style. She writes poetically, often repeats small, momentous lines, and breaks her scenes up so quickly. You’ll never feel fully immersed in one scene, but trust me, you don’t want to be. 

It’s so heavy. Even the romance is heavy. Because you KNOW in your heart something is going to go wrong. And with the choppy chapters, she did such an incredible job making sure you never got too comfortable because if you did, you would be so devastated by the ending. 

He is shivering slightly and he kisses my neck with cold lips. We stay like that, enfolded in each other’s arms, for a minute or two,

and it feels like the universe is reorganizing itself,

and I know any anger we felt has disappeared.

Do you see? So odd but so delicate but so beautiful. 

And I am so impressed. I wish I could master something as moving as this prose. It really served its purpose. Everything about the book felt fleeting, just as it should, just as it would if you were really there, and I can’t stand how perfect it all was. 

For a moment, the two of us were alone on the planet,

with all the vastness of the sky and the future and the past spreading out around us.

There were some really magical moments. I loved how the main character over dramatized everything. Her pain, the people around her, and I love her observations, how often she made them, and how much you could feel her disdain. 

I looked at her. My lovely, tall mother with her pretty coil of hair and her hard, bitter mouth. Her veins were never open. Her heart never leapt out to flop helplessly on the lawn. She never melted into puddles. She was normal. Always. At any cost.

THE FAMILY DYNAMIC!!! GOD GOD GOD. This woman, this amazing author, so understands a corrupt family. And she made it faintly obvious in the beginning, but so excruciating by the end, just as it would be if you had grown up thinking not much of it, thinking it was normal, and then realized how incredibly not normal it was. How disgusting everything around you had become under the tip of your nose. 

He refused to be serious, he was infuriatingly unserious, but he was committed to the things that mattered to him as anyone could possibly be.

They made a beautiful family. Still.

And they knew it. In fact, the mark of tragedy became, with time, a mark of glamour. A mark of mystery, and a source of fascination for those who viewed the family from afar.

I don’t know what else to say. The plot was amazing and thrilling, built on this mystery you knew, page-by-page, was going to RIP YOUR HEART TO SHREDS. And you were excited and scared at the same time to find out what it was and when you did you weren’t disappointed. 

I was not disappointed.

One of the best reads, one that could easily be described as The Girl on the Train, but with teenagers.



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