We Were Liars - Emily Lockhart; Review.
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Hot Key Books (15 May 2014)
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.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
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The hype surrounding this book has been absolutely overwhelming. Every book blogger I know has been raving about this book - and as per principle, I stayed away from reading this until the hype had somewhat died down. I will admit though, after glancing through spoiler-free reviews on GoodReads to get a grasp of what exactly is so enthralling about this book - I ended up trying to spoil it for myself by finding out what the huge twist was. Shameful, I know. But the intrigue of this whole gasp-worthy ending was getting to me.
Fast forward a few weeks after release date, I finally decided to give it a go. Now, enough rambling, and on to the review.
Let me just start by saying, that if you spent a copious amount of time hearing people rave about this book and an ending that left them stunned - then naturally when you start reading the book, you’ll already be prepared for something huge - and could almost guess at the ending.
Having said that, I knew something was coming, yet I banished these ideas from my mind and started reading. Lockhart’s writing style is very distinct - and sadly one I’m not particularly fond of. Personally, I felt like she was trying too hard to make the writing come across as poetic, mysterious and clever - yet the end result for me whilst reading it was that it was too choppy, fragmented and lacked a good flow to bring everything together. At certain points in the book, I found myself stopping to try and piece together what exactly was going on.
I wouldn’t necessarily call it bad writing - as I know many people found it engaging and haunting - however for me, it just didn’t flow. I know that sounds a little wishy washy but I couldn’t connect with the writing in the way others have.
Moving on to the characters, I like the combination of characters, 4 Liars joined by the thread of family, who spend summers together on their Grandparent’s island. But I felt as individual as the characters were made out to be - they lacked true depth. That could be due to the fact the story in itself wasn’t too long, spanning only 240 or so pages, yet there wasn’t enough build up of character for me to connect with them. Mirroring other reviews, I have to ask why exactly they were called the “4 liars”.
You’d think by this point, given my distaste at the writing and characters, that I’d give up. But nope, despite my misgivings I continued on, hoping that the ending would make up for what the rest of the story was lacking. The suspense was built throughout the book, following the journey of Candence who is trying to piece together parts of the summer when she was 15 - the summer everything changed. I was hooked as she unravelled bit by bit, pieces of information that eventually came together to bring us a rather shocking discovery. If you are one of those people who haven’t read or heard a single thing about this book - you will be truly surprised by the ending - but I kind of already knew what was coming - yet the twist was enough to make me gasp.
I wish I had enjoyed the whole book as much I had enjoyed the ending, really, I do - ‘cause I feel like the whole book had a lot of promise, from the characters to the plot - yet the execution wasn’t great. I made it to the end within 3 hours - so I’d say it had enough of an intriguing factor to make me go through the book - but the 3 stars reflect how I felt about it overall. By no means not a terrible book - but more just one not suited to my taste.
Nonetheless, I think it’s worth a read and if you’re not as sceptical and hard to please as I am - you may ending up loving the book.