Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Review: "We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart

This was one crazy roller coaster ride of a book. And I mean that in a good way.

Cadence Sinclair Easton is the oldest grandchild of a wealthy family that owns an island off Martha's Vineyard. Each summer she and her mother, along with her two aunts and their families, join Cadence's grandparents on the island. But while the Sinclair family endeavors to project the image that life is perfect and everyone is happy, that is far from the case—Cadence's grandfather, the patriarch of the family, manipulates her mother and her two aunts into a King Lear-esque war over who should own which house on the island, and who should inherit much of the Sinclair family fortune.

Although family tension causes some strife, Cadence is happily ensconced in her own world on the island with her two cousins, Johnny and Mirren, and Johnny's best friend, Gat, who is the son of Johnny's mother's boyfriend. Gat is Indian, and although he wouldn't trade his summers on the island for anything, he strongly feels that the elder Sinclairs don't believe he is worthy of being a part of the family. But that doesn't stop Cadence from falling madly in love with Gat, the summer both are 15 years old.

One day Cadence wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a traumatic brain injury. No one really knows what happened to her, what caused her to be found shivering on the beach. Plagued by debilitating migraines, unable to remember much of what happened that summer, Cadence is tremendously depressed and longs for the companionship of Gat and her cousins, who appear to have abandoned her in the wake of the incident. It is not until she returns to the island two summers later than she can begin to confront them and try to understand what really happened that night—and what has caused everyone to refuse to talk to her about it.

The less said about the plot of We Were Liars, the better. This is a book with a lot of twists and turns you'll want to savor. It reads a bit like a movie or a cross between Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and perhaps One Tree Hill. While the characters are perhaps a little familiar, as are the emotions of young love, betrayal, and family turmoil, E. Lockhart imbues the story with a freshness, an emotion, that will keep you hooked.

I wanted to read the entire book in one sitting, and read it in a little more than a day. Don't read a lot of reviews before reading We Were Liars—give yourself the chance to experience it not knowing much about it. It's definitely a book that will keep you thinking.

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