We Were Liars: A book full of lies


Elyssa Abbott

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart provides an eventful read as many can relate to the nostalgic summer memories spent with cousins and friends. The shocking twist at the end, although it may break your heart, it satisfies readers with all of the loose ends tied up. Looking for a summer read as the weather warms up? This New York Times bestseller would read perfectly on the beach bathing in the sun, just like the Liars did.

Elyssa Abbott, Editor-in-Chief

A family gifted with traditions and a well-respected reputation makes their annual journey to their private island to bask in their money for the entire summer in the book We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. The Sinclairs appear to possess the finest qualities in all of New England with their beauty, wisdom, athleticism, and most importantly, wealth. The center of the family, Harris Sinclair, with his wife Tipper gave birth to three daughters, who each fostered their own families. The summertime represents unity as a family full of memories and drama.

We Were Liars presents a complex story with several characters, as each of the three daughters’ and grandchildren’s characters consist of their individual traits and storyline. This can make the story extremely difficult to follow, but to aid the readers’ experience Lockhart included a family tree and map at the beginning of the story. The book follows the “liars” of the family, cousins Johnny, Mirrien, Cadence, and family friend Gat. The narrator, Cadence, highlights the main source of conflict for the family, the will of Harris in regards to the private island’s many estates. 

The three daughters, despite a slight alcohol abuse issue, hold up the family values well by quarrelling about their desire for the largest chunk of inheritance. On the other hand, the next generation of Sinclairs advocate for change within the family by resisting their mother’s wishes to fight for the inheritance. Harris plays into the drama by holding the money over Cadence’s head unless she breaks off the developing romance with Gat. The greed, love, drama, and addiction issues create the perfect recipe for a chilling accident. 

Besides the entertainment purposes of the book, Lockhart provides learning experiences and highlights the generational difference with issues, such as racism towards Gat, a poor Indian friend of the Sinclairs.  Year after year passes with the same premise of summer memories and violent disagreements until the liars head to the island for the 15th summer, which passes normally until Cadence suffers a terrible accident. Cadence’s mother tells her that her family found her on the beach passed out, but Cadence can not remember what actually occurred that night. She spends the next two years bedridden with chronic migraines and amnesia, all while losing touch with her cousins and Gat.

Lockhart does a brilliant job of conveying the memory loss without telling the audience. Throughout the story, she implements little twists, such as Cadence’s dad whisking her away to Europe and her grandmother’s death to build up to the twist of all twists at the very end. 

As the liars turn 17, they return to the island and reunite, although Cadence still feels ill at times. Her primary reason for returning consists of Gat, of course, and to piece together the mystery of her accident. Day by day she learns the chilling truth and realizes her life will never look the same. Lockhart saves the truth for the very end and allows for readers’ minds to create their own version of the accident. 

“The book was captivating from start to finish with a twist I most definitely was not expecting. The characters were likeable and more relatable than I thought they would be when I first read the book’s description,” said senior Ginette Samu.

The innocent summer memories, heartbreaking romantic flings, and the shocking ending keeps readers hooked until the last sentence. Somehow, Lockhart tied the story up perfectly and left fans completely satisfied without expecting another edition of the novel. Although not the ending most wished for, the trail of clues left throughout built up to the resolution brilliantly allowing for the minds of readers to not stop thinking about it.