Several months ago I was on Twitter reading through people's tweets and I found a tweet from Julie Plec (the mastermind behind The Vampire Diaries, among other things). She tweeted that she had just read We Were Liars and it was so awesome and everyone needed to read it. Well, if Julie Plec says so then that's enough for me! Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I see that my library has finally ordered this book. I quickly put a hold on it to be the first to check it out when it came in. Well, that day was yesterday and holy crap! it was as good as everyone (and sooooo many people on Twitter and elsewhere) said it was. I started it at 11pm and stayed up 'til 2am to finish. Yup. It was that good.
We Were Liars is told from the first person perspective of one of four "Liars," Cadence Sinclair Eastman. Cadence starts by telling us she is, first and foremost, a Sinclair. This means she has money and is expected to act the way a Sinclair would act. She then tells us how that is, and basically, it's how you would imagine a old-money, rich family on the East coast would be expected to act.
Every summer Cadence and her mother go to the family's private island near Martha's Vineyard. Cadence's two aunts and cousins also go, as do her grandparents, the Heads of the Sinclair family. The aunts spend their time fighting over money and belongings and real estate and Grandfather eggs them on, picking favorites and pitting them against one another. The cousins are constantly thrown into these fights, forced to plead to Grandfather to give THEIR family more than the others. Each family has their own house on the island and every summer Cadence's cousin Johnny brings his best friend, Gat, along with him to the island. As you would expect, Cadence falls in love with Gat and at some point before their fifteenth summer, Cadence, her other cousin Mirren, Gat, and Johnny all become the Liars. They don't keep in touch during the school year but every summer the magic of the island brings them all together and they are the best of friends.
Early on in the book we learn that at some point during their fifteenth summer, Cadence had an accident on the island. She was found half submerged on the beach and it was deduced that she had taken a late night swim and hit her head on the rocks. She suffered a brain injury and spent some time in the hospital. Cadence doesn't remember everything from that summer, like the days leading up to or immediately following the accident. She suffers severe and excruciating headaches and fails the following school year. For her sixteenth summer, her dad takes her on a trip through Europe rather than letting her go back to the island.
All Cadence wants is just to remember what happened to her. So, come seventeenth summer, that is what she is determined to find out. None of the Liars have ever responded to her emails or letters or mailed gifts and so she begs her mom to let her go to the island for the summer. Her mom finally relents, hoping Cadence will remember things on her own and start to heal. By the books end, Cadence has remembered everything that happened to her and the Liars that fifteenth summer--and what she learns will break your heart.
**I so, so loved this book! Cadence is such a likeable and relatable character. She loves deeply and feels strongly about everything. Her story is at times happy but also incredibly tragic. The Sinclair family is THAT family; that one we imagine every East-coast-rich, beautiful, mysterious family to be. The setting of the story was almost a character in itself and Lockhart did a beautiful job making it so with minimal description. This book has that great summer feel to it when you read it. I highly recommend it!
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