Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

16143347Title: We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Format/Length: Paperback/225 pages

Publisher/Date Published: Allen & Unwin/August 2014

Category/Genre: Young Adult/Mystery-Thriller

Source: Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer and Allen & Unwin

Description: 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 that will leave you reeling.

Read it.

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

3/5 stars –

★★★☆☆

First off, despite the negative things I’m probably going to say, I really did enjoy this book. I’m only going to be judgement because of all the insane hype around this novel — when you read quotes from authors (John Green, mainly…) proclaiming how awesome something is, then you’re going to have high expectations. I enjoyed We Were Liars, but it was not what I was expecting. And not in a good way.

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I flew through this novel. In like, an hour.

I’m a pretty quick reader, I’ll admit that, but this novel was short. I think, though, if We Were Liars had been any longer I probably would have found it quite boring. Yes, parts of it were thrilling; yes, there was intrigue and mystery surrounding the storyline and characters. (Guys, it’s really hard to be vague. I’m trying not to spoil it for anyone!) But there was also quite a bit of rehashing the past, which was understandable as the author needed to set up the plot, tone, and characters . . . but there were a few times where I wished something would happen. I’m not sure I’m explaining this right. Stuff happened. I wanted to know more about the present, rather than the past.

Oh, wow. Aren’t I eloquent?

I think because of the hype surrounding the end I just wanted to get to it.

If you know me, then you’ll probably know I like all things fairytales.

This story is no fairytale, don’t get me wrong — but spread across the story were fairytales, and in some way, that related back to Cadence’s situation. I thought that was awesome.

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The wonderful, lyrical prose was . . . Well, wonderful.

I adore writing like this. I thought the way that Lockhart wrote the novel was brilliant, and I will most likely see what else she has published, because I am a massive fan of her writing style. Or at least, her writing style in this novel. It helped to set the tone of the story, as well, which was dark and curious and mysterious. She achieved that well.

To be perfectly honest? I didn’t care much for the characters.

I must be a horrible person or something, but urgh, I did not like the lead characters — or the “Liars”. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why they did what they did, but I didn’t connect with them. Any of them. Especially the main character; in fact, she was a little dull at times.

I did not see the ending coming — but I was not surprised.

Let me try to explain something here. I think it’s pretty much impossible to guess that ending, though I did have a faint suspicion that the story would be along the lines of what it turned out to be. There are clues scattered neatly around here and there, but you can’t really put them together until you’ve finished the novel. That’s great. And here is where I’m going to blame the hype. I knew something big was coming, so I was prepared for it. And in all honestly, it wasn’t that shocking. It did not blow me away. I think part of my reaction to the ending was because I didn’t particularly care much for the characters. You need to be strongly invested into the characters to appreciate the impact of the ending, I think.

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So like I said in the beginning: I liked this. But it was not mind-blowing like I expected, nor did it amaze me.

Have you read We Were Liars? If so — Tell me what you thought of it? If you haven’t read it, do you plan to be reading it?

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14 thoughts on “Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

  1. Pretty much EXACTLY WHAT I THOUGHT. I couldn’t connect to the characters at all, and because of that, though the ending wasn’t what I expected, I didn’t…care that much (although…poor dogs). I read another book by her earlier this year and didn’t enjoy that either, but I would still give her other books a go, because I did really like the writing in this one :)

  2. Oh, man. I guess I really do need to finish this book… Damn. I just…don’t know if I want to. Even you admitted yourself that it was not what you expected and you were slightly disappointed since your expectations were so high. Literally this book was the #1 book on my TBR April/May/June. Then I finally start it and it’s like, what the hell am I reading? I just stopped reading it, lost interest, and never picked it back up. I suppose I should.

    I get what you mean about the main character. She was so unreliable, and all the chapters were about past. Ugh. I don’t know. Let me know if I should finish it…?

    Tori @ Bookish Affairs

  3. I’m glad that you enjoyed this one as a whole even though the ending and characters didn’t do much for you! Personally, I really loved it because of the short and tense sentences and the writing itself. IT WAS JUST SO PRETTY AND EDIBLE. Okay, now I’m just being weird…

    Lovely review! <33

  4. I know I’m supposed to comment on your review but come on! I saw Dumbledore and…

    Yup! Liked it but didn’t love it either.

  5. I agree- this is definitely a book you need to go into without any hype or knowledge of the plot/story. I did enjoy reading it, but I don’t think it’s something I would read again. Great review!

  6. YES YES!! I definitely agree with the hype thing: I enjoyed it, but I was expecting to absolutely fall in love with it.

    Regarding the ending, at one stage I guessed correctly, but then dismissed my notion because I thought it had to be something BIGGER and just more surprising, I guess. As you said, I was almost on the lookout for something to happen and when it did, I was like ‘oh’. Surprised, but not shocked.

  7. Even though I rated this book higher than you did, I agree with most of the things you said. The prose was very beautiful; it was so beautiful that it just grabbed me right in. I also agree that I couldn’t really connect with the characters either. I was so sick of reading predictable endings, though, that the ending of this book balanced out me not connecting with the characters. And yes, if it weren’t for the hype, I think I would have appreciated the ending even more. You also mentioned the present and past. For me, the present and past kind of merged in my mind until I read the ending. Until I knew what was going to happen, I couldn’t really tell what was the present and what was the past. It was very confusing.

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