NOTE: This blog post contains spoilers. If you want to keep this book a surprise (and I highly recommend that you do the first time you read it), please return to this post after you finish reading it for yourself. Thank you!
"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 New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE."
Please note that even though the description for the book says "Just Lie" about the ending, this will be an honest review that will contain spoilers. You have been warned.
I finished this book on my flight home from New York. I was shocked by how the book ends and I was drawn in the entire time I was reading. At first, I didn't get what was going on. Cadence suffers a traumatic brain injury of some kind, but the doctors can't really figure out where the trauma originated. There really aren't any marks or anything to indicate that she hit her head. She doesn't seem to remember what happened and no one is telling her what happened. She can just tell that everything is different somehow.
After some time away from the family property where she spends her summers, she returns after hitting her head. She sees her friends and cousins once again but feels this pull between the people her age in the family and the older people in her family (grandfather, mother, aunts). Cadence spends a lot of time in the house furthest away from the main house with her cousins and friends, but everyone wants to keep her away from the house.
This is a story about a huge mistake. Not a story like, "Oops, I screwed up, but it's okay, I can fix it." No, instead, this mistake is one you make that changes the lives of everyone you know (and then some) and there's no taking it back.
Towards the end of the story, we find out that Cadence and her cousins and friends were caught in the middle of family drama over money that was really putting the grandfather in power, his daughters in a flurry of desperation, and their kids were being used as pawns in this whole game. And they were sick of it. So they decided to do something about it. It's amazing how even in a situation that doesn't entirely involve them, these kids can have such a strong and visceral reaction.
Reading the ending where Cadence and her cousins go and burn down one of the houses was both exhilarating to read and then it quickly turned horrifying. It was like I was watching what was happening in the house as a movie, right before my eyes. I think that's a sign of a really great read.
I don't want to go into too much detail because a big part of this book is that you get that initial reaction and you try and piece together the story. So I'll leave this here.
Overall, I give We Were Liars: