Saturday, August 7, 2021

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

 

So this is actually a reread. I got an ARC of this book when it first came out and I remember really loving it. But that was many, many years ago and I realized I'd forgotten basically everything that happened except the twist, so I decided to revisit WE WERE LIARS.

This is such a confusing book. The heroine has headaches and selective amnesia, which makes her an unreliable narrator in her own story. She comes from New England money. Her grandfather is a racist, classist patriarch who owns several estates on an island off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. Cadence, the heroine, and her cousins, Mirren and Johnny, and her step-cousin, Gat, have the run of the place every summer, awash in privilege and family squabbles.

On the surface, it seems like they have everything. But each family has its own problems, and their grandfather isn't above holding their inheritances above their heads as leverage to get their way. Who doesn't love a bunch of rich people who are at each other's throats? That's why Knives Out was such a raging success.

In WE WERE LIARS, we start to get a feel for Cadence's gloom, the way she turns to her friends for solace, and the secrets that lie buried deep in her subconscious. There really isn't much in the way of plot and the dreamy narrative is a-- well, it's a choice, and it's a choice that you're going to either love or hate, depending on how indulgent you're feeling. I loved the delicious beachy gothic atmosphere but I hated the teen melodrama and angst. The twist, in my opinion, makes it worth reading, gives the story an almost V.C. Andrews vibe, but I wouldn't recommend sticking with the book for the twist alone if you hate it because 90% of this book is the writing and the atmosphere.

I didn't like WE WERE LIARS quite as much as I did as the first time I read it, but it was still a really good story and I found myself sickened and horrified anew by this family's dark secrets, once again.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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