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We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

This is the first book in a long time that made me cry. I have really liked the other books I have read by Lockhart, but none of them were quite as shocking as “We Were Liars”. I stayed up late and went to work tired to finish this book, and the ending has haunted me ever since. This is one of those books that sticks with you long after the last page is turned.

I loved the relationships between the characters. The Liars perfectly showcase young love, the power of friendship, and what summer vacation really means. The family issues addressed in the novel were also wonderfully done. Coming from a small family, the Sinclairs were everything I expect being part of a big, affluent family must feel like: the pressure, the petty arguments, always having someone to turn to, always fighting with someone.

More impressive than the relationships between the characters is the connection Lockhart is able to build between the characters and the reader. I was able to see a little bit of myself and my past in Cady every step of her journey. I have loved and lost. I’ve had friends that were like family. I’ve had family that felt like strangers. I’ve failed to meet expectations. I’ve been let down a hundred thousand times by people I loved. I’ve misjudged myself and others. I’ve made horribly stupid mistakes I’ll remember for the rest of my life.  For this reason, as I read the book, her pain was my pain, and her happiness was my happiness.

I only have two real complaints with this book. The first is the title. I am not sure it really fits the group very well. Maybe I missed something, but they didn’t seem to do anything in the novel to merit the label “The Liars”, nor do I remember anyone referring to them as such. The second complaint I have is with the “big twist” at the end (no spoilers, promise). While it was very shocking and I didn’t see it coming, I think the main reason for that is because it didn’t make a whole lot of sense and previous events were not explained more thoroughly to make the twist at all believable.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. The characters were wonderful, the story was well-paced, and the setting makes it an absolutely perfect summer read. I just wish the twist at the end, while shocking, didn’t feel like such a cop out. If you enjoy contemporary, mystery-like reads with strong characters and beautiful prose you need to go pick this up right now.