Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Genre: young adult, mystery, contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 240
Published: expected May 13 2014
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

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.

We Were Liars is a way better story than it should be -- with a different author, this would just be a staid novel of bratty kids and their first world problems. Under E. Lockhart's talented pen, these characters and their lives feel real from the get-go. Though I missed the humor and easy warmth of Lockhart's Ruby Oliver books, I cannot deny that We Were Liars is a gripping (mostly) contemporary with a hint of a mystery. 

There are times it's okay to spoil yourself for a book before actually finishing/reading. This is NOT one of those times. We Were Liars is such a complete, involving experience -- it deserves to gone into blind. But this is also a hard novel to review for just those reasons. Through two different timelines and summers, it's impossible not to get caught up in the drama of the affluent but fractious Sinclair family. 

But here's the 411 on what you should know about E. Lockhart's newest story.

  • It's clever, though the plot takes some time to get any traction
  • It's full of complicated, messed-up, not-always-or-even-usually-nice people
  • It boasts the distinctive Lockhart writing, but in a new style
  • It's surprising and gripping
  • It's emotional and heartfelt -- you will feel things, even against your will

Though the focus is on the story and characters, the prose is strong and often lovely. Lockhart is such a capable, clever author -- able to evoke a myriad of reactions from readers. We Were Liars is hard to put down; if you're not into the romance or the fly-on-the-wall perspective of the Sinclair troubles, the mystery of summer fifteen will get to you. It's a different sort of novel than what I have read from Lockhart before, but I was thoroughly impressed and pleasantly surprised by We Were Liars.

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