I remember as a child being totally pulled in to the stories I read. I would stay awake for hours reading until I had come to the end of a book. Things are different now. With so much time being spent on work and life in general, books can fall to the wayside in favour of sleep or socialising. Therefore it has been a long time since I stayed awake to read a book from start to finish. This changed when I picked up “We were liars” by E.Lockhart. I can’t remember how I found this book. I go a bit crazy in bookshops at times but this one just seemed to appear in a pile by my bed. Maybe it was a drunken Amazon purchase. I’d like to say that that doesn’t happen often but there’s been quite a few random books that have appeared after a night of Jagerbombs and drinking games. I started to read this while dinner was cooking and after enjoying a quick meal with my housemate I poured a glass of wine and continued to read. Three and a half hours later I closed the book and went to bed. I’d finished the story and had discovered something very special.
“We were Liars” is the story of Cadence. Her family are hugely wealthy and own a private island where they all go for the summer each year, except that is for last year when Cadence wasn’t allowed to go. She doesn’t understand why but she understands that it is to do with the year before. Cadence suffers from Amnesia about that trip as well as severe migraines ever since. This year Cadence has insisted on returning. She wants to know what happened on the island that has caused her amnesia, or why her mother has been so sad and most importantly, why her cousins and friends haven’t spoken to her since. When she arrives at the island everything seems different and no one will tell her what happened. Slowly Cadence starts to remember herself. Through a series of flashbacks the truth of that summer is revealed; Three Sisters at each other’s throats, a manipulative old man pitting his family against themselves and a forbidden romance that comes to light and shows the true nature of a white, upper class group that should know better.
The synopsis of this story does reads like a young adult plot and I suppose that in essence that’s what this is, a young adult novel. But I truly feel that this book could be enjoyed by anyone. The story is brilliant and streams along even with the flashbacks. There’s never a sense that things are disjointed and the two timelines run in parallel perfectly. The characters are especially engaging, although that may have more to do with my love of an unreliable narrator.
There’s something in the book that I wasn’t going to mention but it’s written in the blurb so I might as well. There’s a twist in this tale. Towards the end of the book there is a fairly awesome twist. Obviously I’m not going to tell you what it is because it would ruin the book for you and make me a horrible person. But it’s there. It’s waiting for you. The best advice I can give is to look for it. After reading the blurb I wanted to know what it would be so I searched each word for a hint or a clue. By searching for it I guaranteed that I didn’t find it. I think it’s what turns this book from a quite good story with a small mystery to solve and some engaging characters, into a really startling piece of Literature that left me quite stunned.
So, who should read this book? Part of me wants to shout “everybody” and leave it at that but I suppose it’s not massively detailed for a book review. Any YA readers out there, read this book. Any fans of Unreliable Narrators out there, read this book. Mystery fans and those fascinated by the Human mind, read this book. Anyone looking to be drawn into a world and stay there revelling in its plot and people, read this book. I came across this after a succession of books I disliked. This was my brief salvation. I’m purposely not going to read this again for a long time. I want to rediscover it again in the future. I hope that you enjoy it.