We Were Liars doesn’t live up to the hype

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Though lacking in extravagant, mainstream attention like many YA book-turned-franchises, I had certainly heard many good things about E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars. Despite the hype several of my friends bestowed on the novel, I found myself bewildered upon reading the book– I couldn’t figure out what was so great about it.

We Were Liars is narrated by Cadence Sinclair, a teenage girl born into a family that proudly flaunts their affluence and self-proclaimed superiority. Cadence and her parents spend every summer on her grandparents’ lavish island, along with the rest of their extended family. Through this tradition, Cadence develops strong bonds with her cousins and family and a deep attachment to the island. The summer Cadence turned fifteen, she has a serious accident on the island. Though she narrowly misses death, she now suffers debilitating migraines and significant memory loss. But besides the physical ramifications of the accident, Cadence finds much of her cherished relationships with her family/friends crumbling. We Were Liars takes place two years following the accident as Cadence attempts to piece together just how everything in her life collapsed so suddenly.

Firstly, to clarify, I didn’t hate the book. I just didn’t find it to be amazing. Lockhart frequently utilized extended, very literal-sounding metaphors– which is a wonderful writing tool, but sometimes she took the metaphors too far, making it difficult ascertain what was and wasn’t a metaphor. Nonetheless, I still found the quality of the writing to be decent. Another issue I had as a reader was there were way too many characters. Many books have a vast amount of characters without confusing the reader. Lockhart, however, did a very poor job of clearly differentiating the varying families and characters. As for the characters themselves, they undoubtedly could have been developed better. Despite the fact that I very easily fall in love with book characters, I formed extremely weak connections with the characters. Furthermore, the manner in which the Sinclair family vainly spoke of their wealth and apparent supremacy made it difficult to sympathize with any of the characters. Lastly-though this might just be me- I thought that the entire premise of a family whisking themselves away to their own personal island every summer was too outrageous to be plausible for an otherwise run-of-the-mill wealthy family. 

All in all, I personally found We Were Liars spectacularly average in every aspect– characters, setting, writing, etc. But considering I still read the novel cover to cover, I suppose can’t complain too much.

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