“A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.” – Goodreads.com
Here is my first review of 2016’s Abraham Lincoln Award Nominees. We Were Liars is a contemporary fiction YA novel where the main character is trying to solve the mystery of what happened to her the previous summer, and is set on a small island in the Northeast. This, for me, should have already been an indication, as the last novel I read in this setting, Bittersweet (you can find the link to the review on my The Founding Fields Page under About), was a big disappointment. We Were Liars followed, unfortunately, in the same vein.
All I was seeing were rave reviews for this novel, and it is obviously very popular as it has made the Lincoln Award Nominee list, so I was quite excited when we were reading it for my book club. What I got was less riveting and more confusing.
The writing. Was. Choppy.
The main character. Was terrible.
Okay, I’ll stop now, but you get the idea. There was not a single likable character in this novel. Not liking the characters isn’t to say a novel isn’t good. I recently read The Girl on the Train and did not like any of the characters, but enjoyed the book. I was hoping that We Were Liars‘s storyline would save the horrid characters, but alas that was not to be.
The novel takes place in present day from the main character, Cady’s, point of view. Cady is very unreliable. Do not trust her. She is annoying and self absorbed and made me constantly want to close the book. Her fellow characters are cardboard cutouts (there is an argument that can be made for this, but I still can’t accept it) and did nothing for me. Even the twist could not get an inch of sympathy for her out of me. Her family was not likable and I did not want to be them, let alone be stuck on an island with them (which I was for this whole novel).
This novel felt, to me, like a waste of time. I only finished it so we could discuss it at book club, where most of my fellow readers felt the same. If you are looking for a good YA thriller, try Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. I read that in a day and still can’t get it out of my head.
Sadly We Were Liars didn’t do it for me, but here’s hoping the next nominee is better!