Review Blog

Oct 02 2014

We were liars by E. Lockhart

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781760111069.
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Wealth and power. Greed. Psychological injury. Truth and lies. Poignantly powerful and full of suspense, this book takes the reader through the distress of a major psychological incident to uncover the truth and lies at its heart. The central characters are born to wealth and privilege in USA, living in wealthy Boston and spending indolent summers on the family island near Martha's Vineyard. The greed and self-focus that hides underneath the impeccable outer veneer of lies, gives a view to the world of aspirational perfection which is, in fact, far from perfect. The reader is introduced to this world through the eyes of the psychologically damaged teenager, Cadence, who is struggling to remember her past. Her story and the unveiling of her 15th summer lost in the fog of amnesia, is woven with fairy-tale and literature stories of comparison. This weaving creates a beautiful association, leaving the reader aware of the dark and light of the narrative in the completed tapestry of We were liars. As is the case with all good suspense stories, the ending should only be known by those who are prepared to get to know the whole story and read the book. This would make an excellent film script.
I can highly recommend this book for mature readers. It is beautifully written, with a coming of age undertone, and also a moral tale with an unstated but implicit criticism of the consequences of great wealth within a family. I especially enjoyed the simplicity of sentence structure at the end of many chapters. This writing style choice is intelligent and perfect in revealing inside the mind of the central character.
[There is a small section within the book with swearing that may make this difficult for more conservative school libraries, but for readers 15+, this language choice is not surprising in context.]
Carolyn Hull

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