Monday, November 10, 2014

We Were Liars

Lockhart, E. 2013. WE WERE LIARS. New York: Delacorte.

Have you ever finished a book and then been dying to discuss it with someone else? That's how I feel after finishing We Were Liars. I just really want to see what someone else thought of it. It was different from all of the other books I've read so far this school year. And it was one that left me not knowing how I should feel or what I should think about it.

The Sinclair family is "old money." Harris and Tipper Sinclair have three daughters: Carrie, Bess and Penny. The oldest grandchild is Penny's daughter, Cadence. She is the main character and narrator. The Sinclairs own their own private island off the coast of Massachusetts, where they spend every summer with their children and grandchildren. Cadence's Aunt Carrie is divorced, but brings her boyfriend Ed to the island every summer. Ed, in turn, brings along his nephew Gat. Cadence, Gat, along with Cadence's cousins Johnny and Mirren are the "Liars." The four are inseparable during their summers together on the island. But then, during the summer when they are 15, something mysterious happens. Cadence is found in the water, wearing only half her clothes. She ends up in the hospital and two years later she still has debilitating migraines. Now she is 17, and returning to the island after two years, and trying to figure out what happened to her that summer she was 15.

The first thing you notice when you open the book is that there is a map of an island, with houses labeled with the residents. Then, when you flip to begin the book, there is a family tree. I did turn back to these from time to time to keep all the names straight and remember who was who. Usually, if an author puts something like this in the front of the book, they want you to refer to it as you read. 

The second thing I noticed was the writing style. It is much more poetic than any of the other middle grade / young adult novels I've read so far this year. The author has a habit of using nouns as adjectives, which was interesting the first few times, but then becomes tiresome. Also, the story switches around from the past to the present quite often, and sometimes it's hard to tell what time period you are in. I think that was done on purpose, to make the reader feel confused like Cadence.

I don't really feel like I can tell you too much else about this book without giving anything away. Indeed, the inside of the dust jacket says, "If anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE." It was an interesting premise and story, but I can't say that I really liked any of the characters - they were all a little bit stuck up and pretentious. If anything, the takeaway lesson is that no family is perfect, and that money never ever buys happiness.

If you read this book, and read this entry, come see me and let's talk about this book!

Mrs. Cox

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