We Were Liars

2015-07-13 11.48.04

I didn’t even realize We Were Liars was a YA novel until I went looking for it in the book store. I was scouring the fiction and literature section for E. Lockhart, and I was annoyed I couldn’t find it. I was going to ask at the desk, but I wanted to check out the YA section first to see what I might nab to read that I could add to my classroom library. And there it was.

(This should tell you how much I need to know about a book before I will read it. Hint: not much.)

It seemed like every time I posted a new “review” people would follow by asking “Have you read We Were Liars yet? So I caved and read it.

The book is told from the point of view of Cadence, a seventeen year old who is part of an East Coast family of “Old Money” Democrats. Her mother is one of three sisters in the family and Cadence is the oldest grandchild, so she stands to inherit much of the Sinclair legacy which includes a private island complete with houses for her grandparents, her family, and each of her mother’s sisters’ families. Cadence is very close with her cousins, Mirren and Johnny and Johnny’s mom’s boyfriend’s nephew, Gat (yes, it’s that complicated and weird). The family has nicknamed them The Liars. Every summer, the entire Sinclair family lives on the island. The family is very rich and very entitled and very snotty.

Anyway, Cadence has some sort of accident on the island when she is fifteen. Because of it, she suffers migraines and complete amnesia about the summer it happened. When she is sixteen, her dad takes her to Europe rather than go to the island, something that bothers her. When she is seventeen, she goes back to the island and is determined to figure out what happened two year previous.

I will say none of the characters were particularly likeable, however the plot was very fast-paced and I read the entire book in about 48 hours. Even though I found the teenagers entitled and full of themselves, I still wanted to know what the heck happened, so I was drawn into the story. I think my students will definitely love it.

The ending is…well…the ending is why you read the book. Everyone who asked me if I read it said, “I won’t say anything, but when you finish? Let me know. I want to know what you thought of the ending.”

I am of the “I liked it” camp with the ending. Rumor has it, Lockhart wrote the book after reading Gone Girl because she loved the plot twists. Since I can’t give my students Gone Girl, I like We Were Liars as an example of a fast-pasted novel full of twists.

I also sort of like that it’s hard to relate to any of the characters. I think a book can still be good and the writing done well even if you don’t like the characters. The Great Gatsby is a wonderful example of that. However, I think Fitzgerald and even Flynn purposefully wrote unlikable characters. I’m not convinced that Lockhart wanted her readers to dislike the teens in her novel, given the ending. But maybe.

Either way, I liked the book. It was a great quick read for the summer and I know my students will love it, so I look forward to adding it to my pile of Book Talks this fall!


Want to contribute to my classroom library? Check out my students’ Wish List!

Links are affiliate with Amazon. Anything purchased via those links will give me Amazon credit toward books for my classroom.


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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I loved “We Were Liars”. It is the book I talk about in grocery lines or suggest to people at the pool.
    I read it in two days and enjoyed the pace, mystery and open ending.

    It’s one of my favorites of 2015 for sure. I’m sure your students will love it.
    Kir recently posted…Pour Your Heart Out: 10My Profile

  2. I liked it, but feel like since so many people had told me “you’ll never guess the twist!” that I was constantly trying to figure it out the whole time instead of just sitting back and enjoying it- and I did figure it out at some point, which ruined some of the enjoyment for me.

    I still liked it, but think I would have loved it had I known nothing at all about it before reading.
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  3. Oh and my recent amazing YA reads I’d suggest: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider and 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith. (and if you haven’t read 13 Reasons Why, you NEED to- so powerful)
    Shell recently posted…What I’ve Realized As My Boys Have Gotten OlderMy Profile

  4. I loved this book, too. It wasn’t one of my *most favorite* YA novels I’ve read recently, but it was a quick read, and I liked the ending!

  5. I bought this book after reading your review (yesterday), and finished it by the next day (today). I really really really liked it. I usually don’t like YA books, but this one sort of caught in my throat a little.
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  6. Occasionally, I do love a quick and easy read, and this sounds perfect.
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