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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Ajayi

We Were Liars (Book Review)

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

We Were Liars is a young-adult novel written by E.Lockhart and published by the Bonnier imprint Hot Key Books in 2014. I was actually asked to review this book by friend Ashleigh, she read it quite a while ago and was wondering my opinion on it. Now that I FINALLY have the time, (furlough life) I sat down and managed to finish this book in 2 days!


The story centres around the Sinclair family, seemingly perfect and unbelievably wealthy, they spend every summer on their privately owned island.

Narrated by Cadence, the eldest granddaughter, whose mind is completely fragmented, together we try to piece together what actually happened to her family during Summer 15, and why none of them want to talk about it.

'I suppose I was raped or attacked or some godforsaken something. That's the kind of thing that makes people have amnesia, isn't it?'

Cadence and her cousins form a tight knit group, which they dub 'Liars', made up of Johnny, Mirren, Candace and Gat who is an outsider to the family, brought in after his father passes. Cadence falls deepening in love with Gat at the age of 15, he is charming, smart, dark-skinned as well as very political aware - the complete opposite of the Sinclair family.

'Not everyone has private islands. Some people work on them. Some people work in factories. Some don't have work. Some don't have food.'

But at the end of that summer a terrible accident happens, which causes Cadence to suffer from intense migraines alongside her PTSD.

That was 2 summers ago, and the majority of this book follows her return back to the island, to uncover the truth.

'Welcome home, they are saying. Welcome home'.

I will admit, the first couple chapters in, I was adamant that I knew what the twist was. If anything I was annoyed by how blatantly obvious it was, but I was definitely off. The twist was more shocking than I imagined but of course I won't disclose what that was.

The novel gave me Wes Anderson vibes in the beginning with Lockhart using short snappy sentences. The links to Brothers Grimm and King Lear by Shakespeare were an absolute plus, a beautiful and smart way to join all the characters together, and discreetly showcase their flaws without being overly obvious.

All characters are unlikeable, they all have deep-rooted issues in their own ways, if anything the only character you feel sorry for are the dogs.

But regardless, the overall novel is an absolute page-turner with such a unique writing style that has turned a heartbreaking story into something strangely beautiful. It shows how flawed even the 'perfect' families are, a story of greed, jealousy, discrimination and privilege. I think this is a book that everyone should read at least once, but definitely twice.

Rating: 4/5

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