We Were Liars is one of those books I had wanted to read for a long time. The reviews were overall great and the blurb seemed interesting to me. Still I never bought it. I wasn’t sure why, as on paper it had everything I thought would make an interesting story. Now I got the chance to read it when my colleague ordered it for the third-years to read. Naturally, as I am testing these kids on their knowledge of the book, I had to read it myself first. So I brought a copy home and read it. For research, you know. And naturally I wanted to let you know what I think of the book.
We Were Liars Summary
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.
The book is about a rich American family called the Sinclairs. They are beautiful and perfect. The oldest grandchild is Cadence. Every year she visits her grandfather’s private island to spend the summer. She enjoys these holidays with her family, especially with her cousins Johnny and Mirren and her love interest Gat. The four of them call themselves the Liars. Before the forbidden love of Cadence and Gat can bloom, something terrible happens. Cadence doesn’t remember much of what happened and suffers from heavy migraine attacks. Two years after the event, Cadence returns to the island to put the pieces back together.
Unusual writing style
The story is told by an unreliable narrator, which is why the characters in the book are not well-rounded. Truth be told, none of them have any depth and I don’t have the feeling that I got to know any of these characters. Furthermore, the sentences were all very short. Sometimes a sentence
and continue like this,
for no reason which is annoying.
Of course I do realise that the story is told by a girl who is broken, however, I found the writing style to be very tedious. If it was supported by a plot that was actually good, it wouldn’t have mattered as much. Now there wasn’t much of a plot to begin with, and a lot of purple prose. While I do like beautiful sentences, it has to work with the plot. Now it just felt like the pretty sentences were there just because they could be. It made the whole book feel a little bit pretentious.
I do understand that a lot of people liked this book, however, it was not a novel I enjoyed. It did not make me feel anything. I had zero sympathy for the characters. Besides, a seventeen-year-old teenager who still calls their mother mummy is a bit annoying. I only felt for the dogs in this novel, which is understandable because dogs are great, but nothing something you should aim for as an author.
When the big plot twist happened, I wasn’t really shocked. I was actually just surprised that something interested happened. But those were just the last 30 pages or so. I struggled to get through the rest of the novel, which was only about 220 pages long to begin with.
We Were Liars: Conclusion
I had hoped We Were Liars was as compelling and thrilling as people said it was. Honestly, I had hoped it would have had me on the edge of my seat. Instead, I was just hoping it was over quick enough so that I could read something I did enjoy. I guess this book is like marmite. You either love it or you don’t.