We Were Liars by E. Lockhart Book Review

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Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Release Date: May 13th, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
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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.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.


My Review: 

I was excited to read We Were Liars and the hype and marketing campaign probably got you excited to read the novel too. I'm a big fan of psychological thrillers and from the spoiler free reviews I've read, it seemed like it was going in that direction. 

My biggest problem with this novel and how I can sum it up is that I was in love with the concept but hated the execution. This is one of those novels that definitely works a lot better the second time around and becomes much more sure of itself but it's really weak the first time reading it. 

I can deal with unlikable characters. In my opinion, sometimes that makes novels much more interesting to read, but the biggest problem I had with We Were Liars was the writing. 

The book is structured in almost free verse perspective and the writing had a hazy quality to it which worked in the story's favor, but it's so flat and strange, that it takes you out of what you're reading. The whole book is full of purple prose descriptions that are supposed to be Deep, Poetic and Beautiful but come off amateurish. For example: 

"His nose was dramatic, his mouth sweet. Skin deep brown, hair black and waving. Body wired with energy. Gat seemed spring-loaded. Like he was searching for something. He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever." 

They have baby oil spread on their bodies. Two bottles of it lie on the grass. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get burned?” I ask.
“I don’t believe in sunblock anymore,” says Johnny.
“He’s decided the scientists are corrupt and the whole sunblock industry is a moneymaking fraud,” says Mirren.
“Have you ever seen sun poisoning?” I ask. “The skin literally bubbles.”
“It’s a dumb idea,” says Mirren. “We’re just bored out of our minds, that’s all.”

I get where Lockhart was going with the writing and setting up the atmosphere and feel of the novel but what is all that? It seemed like the author wanted to make what the characters were saying to each other stand out in a meaningful way but the dialogue is so pointless and contrived. 

It's presented as this deep, tragic story, but it's nothing but a shallow, boring mess and the worst part is that it raises questions about privilege and race that it never answers.

I've read E. Lockhart before and the writing in this novel was a conscious decision on her part and not how she usually writes. You should check out The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which another book by her and one of my favorites. 

Do I recommend We Were Liars? If you read the above excerpts above and liked it, then go for it, I guess. The whole book is like that and you might enjoy it more that I did. 

Adding a star because the concept really is interesting, although not groundbreaking and the story did stick with me for awhile, which deserves some merit. 


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