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.
Tell Me More: When The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was first published, E. Lockhart was praised for the delightful cleverness of her protagonist. Frankie tore up expectations and all sense of propriety & predictability, and did it all while being a girl. Lockhart returns to those same themes in the gut-punching We Were Liars, and it changes the landscape of YA literature.
Perception is everything to the Sinclairs, Cadence notes so astutely, so the reader receives a lilting description of the family right off the bat. The details are carefully chose, the points at which they are revealed perfectly time for greatest impact. This is a porcelain family, sitting quietly on the shelf to be admired. They are reminiscent of the Wingfield family, those fragile, selfish souls that inhabit Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” in their inability to face unpleasantness head-on. Instead, they skirt around it, veil it with jokes and passive-aggressive barbs and careful manipulation. Picking a side is not important to the reader–understanding each side, however, is key.
Cadence is a Liar, she states quite matter-of-factly, one of the group of four formed by her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and their friend Gat. But she also asks the reader: is she just a plain liar too? Nothing is safe and secure in Cadence’s world–likewise, the reader is never sure if what she’s saying is the truth. It’s an amazing and daring leap that Lockhart asks her readers to make, since it would be all too easy to simply side with the protagonist. Not being able to trust Cadence challenges the reader to consider everything carefully, and this is a book that rewards those who take the time to reread.
The Final Say: Few readers will be able to resist the delicious test that We Were Liars presents in its tale of a family perfect in every way that doesn’t count. E. Lockhart is a lightning bolt of an author, rare and commanding in her prose.
E. Lockhart is the author of We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The Boyfriend List and several other novels.