We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Length: 6.5 hours
Narrator: Ariadne Meyers
Publisher: Listening Library
Original Publication Date: 2014
Genre(s): Young adult, Contemporary
“Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family. No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure.“
Cadence spends every summer on her family’s island. She’s the oldest of her cousins, though Johnny is only a few weeks younger. Mirren is also close in age, and the three of them become inseparable. When the cousins are eight, Johnny’s mom starts dating a man whose nephew, Gat, starts coming to the island. These four make up the Liars, and they are inseparable every summer. But the summer the Liars are fifteen, everything changes. Cadence wakes up in the hospital with no memory of her accident. Her memories of the entire summer are faded and fuzzy. And now she has horrible migraines that disrupt her entire life. What happened that summer?
We Were Liars came out waaaaay back in 2014. That’s seven years ago. That’s the year I graduated high school! I remember my second roommate freshman year of college was reading this book when we moved in together. I can’t believe it’s taken me seven years to read it, but here I am. I absolutely think I would have enjoyed this novel more had I read it back in 2014. Not that I didn’t like it now, but I definitely didn’t love it. Many of the reviews I’ve read are either full-on hate or love, so I guess I’m just the unique in-between.
The novel is told in first person POV from Cady’s perspective. Much of the novel features Cady looking back on previous summers, plus telling us all the background info about her family and their history. There are also quite a few really weird chapters of Cady creating fairytales, which are based on her and her family. I don’t know if it’s because I listened to the book rather than reading it, but the timeline felt super jumbled to me. I know a lot of the back-and-forth has to do with keeping the suspense/mystery of Cady’s accident, but I couldn’t always discern what was a memory and what was present day. I also hated the fairytale chapters. They didn’t do anything for me except take away from the story and make the book unnecessarily longer. I’d have to say the writing style was my least favorite part of this reading experience.
The story itself was enjoyable (minus the fairy tales). Though I didn’t really like any of the characters, it was interesting to learn about their lives and personalities. I kept getting The Cousins vibes, though obviously this was written first. I liked the mystery of Cady’s accident and enjoyed trying to guess the outcome. I guessed the twist pretty early on, but that didn’t cause me to dislike the story because I didn’t even know if I was right. Plus, I was just excited to see how it ended regardless.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. Like I said in the beginning of this review, a very middle-of-the-road reaction from me. I wish I would have liked Cady a little more, and I wish the pacing would have been handled better, but it was still an enjoyable read and gave me the satisfaction of reading a book that’s been on my TBR for quite a while. I’m happy to have finally read it, I just don’t think it’s as amazing as everyone says it is. Maybe it was back in 2014, but if you’re going to jump into this today, don’t set those expectations so high.