We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
“No one is a criminal.
No one is an addict.
No one is a failure.”
story went it came out was marketed as the biggest twist in YA
literature of 2014. I remember everyone was losing their shit over it. I
was, too. I squealed my heart when I was approved on Netgalley to read
this book. Me? A small blogger with not a very big fan base who never
reviews the books she requests. Case in point I read We Were Liars from
September 2014 to August 2015. That’s a long time to read a book (more
on that soon). It’s also January 2017!!! I’m a horrible reviewer. I give
really in depth reviews, but I hardly review books on time. That’s just
the way I am. I can’t help it and I say I’m going to change it, but I
read books so quickly and after giving myself so much time to process
this novel, I can give a completely unbiased review. Are all book
reviews bias if they are written right after being read? Mine are. They
used to be heavily biased. They are not anymore. I know a lot of readers
who read a book and love it so much, but days, weeks, or months later
they look back and say, MEH, it wasn’t as good as I wrote. Not all books
are like this; in fact, a lot of the books I give 5 stars to will
always be 5 star books. I am glad I waited so long upon reading this
book to write a review. I was thrown into the hype parade. Did I like We
Were Liars? Sure. Did I think it was too predictable and contrived?
YEP. Did I like the writing? Yes.
“Suffer. You could say it means endure, but that’s not exactly right.”
probably wondering why I haven’t told you anything about what this book
is about and I won’t. Not because I’m trying to preserve the illusion
of this great mystery, but because I honestly think if you want to read
this novel then you won’t want to read a review that goes into the plot.
You’ll want the surprise like I did.
This book starts out
in a very confusing fashion and then it slowly begins to show how
unreliable the narrator and the flowery prose is. Seriously, the prose
is so set on being mysterious and evasive that at times it makes no
sense with the illusions, metaphors, and imagery thrown about for the
sake of creating an unreliable character. I LOVE unreliable narrators;
they are my bread and butter. Books with unreliable narrators are going
to get brownie points. I like We Were Liars a lot more because of the
unreliable narrator, but it’s one of the only BIG factors that favor
this novel. The see-saw of badassery is collapsing on the negatives this
novel has to offer.
The writing is beautiful and lyrical. Once you
get past the flowery crap, it really shines through in certain scenes,
but this isn’t the best writing I’ve read. Lockhart is a strong writer
and that’s obvious from her prose construction. One of the strongest
things about this novel is the incorporation of fairy tales that mirror
King Lear. I hadn’t read King Lear until a year after reading We Were
Liars and immediately after reading King Lear, I thought to myself, “We
Were Liars has a lot of similar concepts and themes.” That’s because
it’s a King Lear retelling. Bravo, Lockhart. It was executed
brilliantly. I loved that portion of the novel the most. It was the best
part to read and I think that everyone should read King Lear before
this or after because you’ll have a deeper appreciation for We Were
Whimsical Writing Scale: 4.25
“Life feels beautiful that day.
The four of us Liars, we have always been.
We always will be.”
main heroine, Cady, is a very unreliable narrator. It’s obvious from
the very beginning of the story that she isn’t able to dissociate
fictional metaphors that exaggerate events from real life events. She’s
really interesting, but I didn’t particularly like her. I couldn’t form
an attachment to her and I think that’s because she felt disconnected
from the real world. It’s as if she’s floating on another planet away
from reality and she’s looking down into reality. I really like that
aspect, but it also makes it hard to connect and empathize with this
Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 3.25
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.”
relationship depicted in this novel is… ridiculous. Her love interest,
Gat, is a complete douchecanoe. I have absolutely no clue why she is
pawing after him. He doesn’t have any real interest in him and it seems
like they are only having a relationship because it’s forbidden due to
his foreign background and not being a real Sinclair. I just didn’t buy
it. I wasn’t swooning. I was gagging.
Swoon Worthy Scale: 2
Let’s talk about the twist. This book was so heavily endorsed as having
a big shocker. PLEASE, I predicted the twist in the first ten chapters.
I almost quit reading this book because it was boring, but I wanted and
NEEDED to know the twist. It was the only reason I kept reading this
book. The suspense was there, but it was written to be suspenseful. I
was forcing myself to keep flipping pages only to feel uninspired and
completely let down. How is a twist supposed to inspire me? For
starters, twists make you think. They enhance your ability to analyze
situations, characters, and it makes you appreciate a good twist.
Gillian Flynn for instance, has the best freaking twists. Sharp Objects-
I was disturbed and shocked. Dark Places- one of the best
incorporations of information briefly touched upon to make the whole
story come around full circle. Gone Girl- my favorite suspense novel of
all time because of how unreliable the narrators are. These are great
twists because they force you to look from different angles. (Can you
tell I watch a lot of the Investigative Discovery Network and SVU?)
Again, while the plot twist was predictable, Lockhart moved me to tears.
It was beautifully done. Lockhart is a strong writer, but she is not a
suspense writer and when you stop thinking about the twists and just
about the story alone there is a lot to be gained from it.
Plot Twist Scale: 3
Sinclairs are a very enigmatic family. I was easily drawn into their
web of power. It’s an interesting power struggle between each generation
for approval. I really enjoyed the relationship between the Liars. It
was incredibly well written and definitely felt like a real familial
Character Scale: 4
Should you read
this novel? I say yes. I think there’s a lot to be gained from this
novel. It has good themes and if you are interested in reading more
unreliable narrators then I recommend this. If you are a fan of
unreliable narrators, you may enjoy this novel. There were parts I
really enjoyed and parts I really didn’t. I do recommend this novel for
the way the ending was written. It was so beautiful. If you have read
this story then click on the spoiler below, but if you haven’t then this
quote may ruin things for you. I would normally leave a quote like this
out of my review, but I absolutely adore the passage.
“The eldest boy was strong and fast, capable, and handsome. Though it’s true, he was exceptionally short.
The next boy was studious and open-hearted. Though, it’s true he was an outsider.
And the girl was witty, generous, and ethical. Though it’s true, she felt powerless.
The witch, she was none of these things, for her parents had angered the fairies. No gifts were ever bestowed upon her.”
Plotastic Scale: 4
Thoughts: I don’t really like the cover. If this book wasn’t so hyped
up I wouldn’t have picked it up based on the cover. It’s just not
something I really care for.
Thank you, Netgalley and Delacorte Press, for allowing me to read this novel for free in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read We Were Liars? Did you love it, hate it, or was it a meh read for you? Let me know down below in the comments! I'm really interested to see everyone's thoughts on this book!